NORFOLK, Neb. – Versatility will be one of the main components for the Northeast women’s basketball team heading into 2021 after another appearance in the Region XI Championship last season.
The Hawks welcome back four returners from a year ago, while adding a well-rounded freshmen class. Hannah Ollendick, Breanna Stouffer, Kelly Kleffner and Lorna Maxon will be counted on to lead a dynamic group that possesses a strong-shooting ability on the floor. Stouffer started in 29 games as a freshman and averaged eight points and 4.1 rebounds per game. She was one of the main reasons the Hawks were the top three-point shooting team in the NJCAA. As a team, the Hawks shot 38 percent from beyond the arc. The Hawks also ranked in the top-10 in field goal percentage at 46 percent.
Maxon and Hannah Ollendick will provide a strong leadership presence in their second season with the Hawks. Maxon started in all 30 games as a freshman and averaged 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. She also shot 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from the three-point line. Ollendick is coming off an injury that sidelined her for most of the season in 2020. Kleffner saw action in 20 games and hopes to see her role increase as a sophomore. Ashley Hassett enters her second year of junior college basketball, but her first with the Hawks after starting in 30 games last season at North Platte Community College where she averaged 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
“Our sophomore class brings good toughness, work ethic and leadership,” head coach Matt Svehla said. “We have some experience in our sophomore class and they are a group that sets a great example of how to practice and how to prepare.”
Svehla enters his 27th season as the head coach for the Northeast Community College women’s basketball team. He expects the freshmen to step up and provide immediate depth.
“We are always expecting our freshmen class to contribute, and this year will be no different,” Svehla added. “Early on some may be more ready than others, but we expect our freshmen to be key players for us.”
Taylor Peter adds an elite scoring threat for the Hawks after a standout high school career at Chambers/Wheeler Central High School. Peter broke the career-scoring record at CWC with 1,603 points. She led her team to a third-place finish at the state basketball tournament in 2020, while averaging 21.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game as a senior. She was named a First Team All-Conference selection, First Team All-State by the Lincoln Journal Star and First Team All-State by the Omaha World-Herald. Yiesha Williams joins the Hawks from Elkhart Central High School in Elkhart, Ind. As a senior, she was selected to the IBCA Large School All-State Team after averaging 20.2 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Molly Davis, Brianna Bauer and Patricija Peric add solid depth to the Northeast lineup in her first season in a Hawks uniform. Davis was a four-time letterwinner and three-year starter and was named to the East Central Nebraska Conference First Team as a senior. Peric guided her team to four Croatian championship titles, while a member of the KK Tresnjevka traveling team. Bauer joins the basketball team after spending her freshman season on the volleyball team. As a senior at O’Neill High School, she was a four-time letterwinner and a four-year starter for the Eagles and was named to the Omaha World-Herald Honorable Mention team.
The Hawks open the season tomorrow and will play most of their games against ICCAC opponents.
“We are all experiencing uncertainty as a result of COVID-19, so getting a chance to compete and play will be something to look forward to,” Svehla said.