BEATRICE — Her size — 6-foot-3 — and athleticism give Kalynn Meyer a major advantage in what she does, which is score points and pull down a lot of rebounds for the Superior girls basketball team.
But there is a lot of skill there, too, with just one example being that on Friday the junior center made all 13 free throws she attempted. That’s a good basketball player.
Those free throws were part of a 30-point game for Meyer, who led Class C-2 sixth-ranked Superior to a 63-37 win against No. 9 Centennial in the district final round. Superior now advances to next week’s state tournament for the second straight year, and the third time in the past four years.
Centennial had actually beaten Superior this season by two points in overtime of the third-place game of the conference tournament, and the Broncos only trailed 28-24 at halftime Friday.
But Meyer scored 10 points in the third quarter as Superior extended its lead to 12 points to start the fourth quarter. And then Superior dominated the fourth quarter, not allowing the Broncos to score for the opening six minutes of the quarter, and outscoring Centennial 18-4 in the fourth quarter.
“The second half was about as good as it could be, other than some missed free throws,” said Superior coach Jim Sullivan.
Meyer, the Journal Star’s 2018 prep girls athlete of the year for her excellence in volleyball, basketball and track, also had 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. She did most of her scoring by the basket and on free throws, but also made a 10-foot jumper and a three-pointer.
Unofficially during the game Meyer set the all-class state record for rebounds in a season with about 410. She’s averaging about 21 points and 17 rebounds per game.
Meyer is the best free-throw shooter on the team, making about 77 percent of her attempts, which is another example of how good she is.
“She handles the basketball, she can dribble, she can score from the outside, she’s a great free-throw shooter,” Sullivan said. “I would hate to be the opposing coach to plan and strategize to try and stop her. At any level, but especially Class C-2, a 6-foot-3 girl with a 24-inch vertical jump who is strong and skilled, it's tough.”
Meyer likes when she gets to shoot free throws.
“Lately I’ve been kind of struggling at the free-throw line, and I’ve been working on it,” Meyer said. “So tonight I was really confident and really calm and trusted my training. After I get fouled, if I didn’t make it then I knew I had to put those two free throws in. It was a lot better. I think I was 100 percent, so that was good.”
Sophomore guard Teghan Sullivan and freshman forward Shayla Meyer added 10 points apiece for the Wildcats.
Centennial was trying to make state for the first time since 1999, but came up one win short. The Broncos were led by Kate Hirschfeld with eight points.
Superior (19-5) wasn’t as good in the regular season as they were last year when they won the state championship, but they still feel good going into state.
“We’ve had five losses by a total of nine points, so plenty of heartbreakers that we feel we probably could have won,” Sullivan said. “But this is the part of the season that matters. So we’ll go to Lincoln and see what happens. My guess is nobody really wants to play us. The defending champs coming back; we got two Meyer sisters; we got my daughter, Teghan; who is playing really well. We’ll be tough.”