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Pius X vs. Lincoln High, girls hoops, 1/12/18

Lincoln High’s Nyayongah Gony (14) blocks the shot of Pius X’s Clare Lewandowski (22) during a Jan. 12 game at Lincoln High School.

Nyayongah Gony recalls some early introductions to basketball.

The Lincoln High junior-to-be watched sister Nyagoa begin to hone her skills in the seventh grade, and the younger Gony sister would get a chance to join the games.

"Back then, I don't think anybody wanted me on their team, that's how bad I was," Nyayongah Gony said. "I was getting traded."

A lot has changed in six-plus years. Gony's game continues to develop at a rapid pace, and the 6-foot-2 wing is starting to grab attention from several Division I schools.

Cornhusker Shooting Stars program director Dan Lesoing received calls from Nebraska, Georgia, Louisville, Florida State, Miami, Purdue and South Carolina ... and that was in one day.

Gony said she doesn't have any offers that she knows of, but that is likely to change in the next 12 months.

"I think it's stressful if you let it be, but for me, it's exciting," Gony said of the recruiting process. "It's like, 'Wow, people know about me.'"

If Gony needs advice while on the recruiting trail she can turn to Nyagoa, who signed to play basketball at Purdue, and is in West Lafayette, Indiana, preparing for her freshman season.

"I think by her going through it first, I think it helped me understand how to go through it, which is really helpful," Gony said.

Last winter, Gony averaged 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds as a sophomore at Lincoln High, helping the Links to a state tournament berth.

Likely appealing to college coaches is Gony's versatility and potential. She has the height to play inside, but it's her perimeter skills that stand out. Gony shoots threes, she can handle the ball, and can grab a defensive rebound and push the ball the other way. She also averaged nearly two steals per game with the Links as a sophomore.

"I want to get better at everything because I think I really can, but mostly I think just getting stronger," Gony said of where she wants to improve.

As for finding a college home, things are really just getting started for Gony.

"I really haven't talked about that with my coach yet," Gony said. "I think I'm open to (going anywhere). I feel really blessed to have this opportunity in the first place." 

Gony's club team, CSS Bison Elite, recently played in Louisville, Kentucky; and Chicago; finishing third at the Under Armour Cup.

Maly focusing on hoops this summer: The summers fly fast for, well, everyone, but it's especially true for Morgan Maly.

The Crete junior-to-be has been known to balance softball and basketball during the summers. This year, Maly has played some softball, but the focus has been on basketball with the Nebraska Lasers.

Where is Maly focusing her improvements this summer?

"Definitely a little bit of everything," the 6-foot guard/forward said. "I want to get more consistent everywhere, going inside a little bit and still taking shots outside and knocking those down is something I want to keep going."

Maly grew up playing guard, so she's more comfortable playing on the perimeter. She said she started working on posting up a couple years ago.

Maly is a standout in softball, too. She received Super-State second-team honors after helping lead Crete to its first state softball title last fall. She'll continue to anchor the Cardinals' batting lineup in the falls, but basketball is Maly's first love.

"I just always loved basketball," the Class B second-team all-state basketball player said. "Softball is fun, it's something different. It's good being a multi-sport athlete because you experience different things, but choosing basketball (to play in college) wasn't hard."

Maly, who averaged more than 15 points and six rebounds as a sophomore, has a basketball offer from Division I Denver. She's also receiving interest from South Dakota and Omaha.

"It's huge," Maly said of the summer. "After this next round of tournaments I need to look at schools that I know are really interested and go visit and see if I have a future at that school."

Sims looking for family feel: This stretch of July viewings is especially key for 2019 recruits who are getting one more summer to impress college coaches.

Among them are Lincoln Southwest's Hannah Kelle and South Sioux City's McKenna Sims, who are All-Nebraska Attack teammates.

Sims has offers from Omaha, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Wyoming, Illinois State, Indiana State, Nebraska-Kearney, Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri State.

What will be the key factors in deciding where to go?

"Mostly the family feel of just walking on campus and knowing that you're going to be taken care of," said Sims, who received Super-State second-team honors as a freshman and sophomore. "The competition and who I'm going to be playing with and who's going to want to make each other better."

Sims, a 5-9 guard, got a chance to play in front of college coaches in Orlando, Florida, and Indianapolis to begin the month. She said she was excited to play in front of different coaches on the East Coast. ANA will be in Washington, D.C., next weekend.

Minter continues recovery process: Lincoln Northeast standout McKenna Minter took a big step forward this week in her recovery from an ACL tear she suffered in December.

"After 6 long long long months I officially got cleared to be back on the court doing what I love most," Minter tweeted last week. "I want to thank my physical therapist and all my coaches and most importantly God and my family for always pushing me!"

Minter, who plays for ANA and has offers from Nebraska and Creighton, is not playing in games this summer, but she appears to be on her way to being at full strength for her junior season at Northeast.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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