The building of trust and a scholarship offer went a long way toward landing Humphrey St. Francis point guard Allison Weidner’s commitment to the University of Nebraska women’s basketball program and coach Amy Williams.
But a dash of familiarity doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to reel in one of the nation’s top prospects.
“I’ve always liked Nebraska,” Weidner said of signing with the home state Cornhuskers. “I think it’s kind of natural that when you grow up in Nebraska, you dream of playing with the ‘N’ on your chest. The coaching staff was great to me. I could tell how much they wanted me and how much they wanted to build a personal relationship with me. That really spoke to me.”
Just in case there were any doubts about Weidner’s commitment, one more phone call may have sealed the deal.
“After I committed to them, one of the coaches called me and asked to pray,” Weidner recalled. “I thought that was pretty important. Being Catholic myself, I thought that spoke a lot to me and made me feel right at home.”
Williams discovered the two-time honorary captain of the Lincoln Journal Star’s Class D2 all-state team early in her prep career and knew she was doing big things. Once Williams laid eyes on Weidner live, she noticed how relaxed the guard looked on a basketball court.
Excited about what they saw, the Husker coaching staff continued to watch the smooth ball handler grow and progress. Weidner, who committed to Nebraska in November of 2019, validated her skill set in Williams’ eyes when she started playing AAU basketball for Zach Isherwood and the Nebraska Attack.
“What stood out initially was how comfortable she looked on the basketball court,” Williams said of Weidner. “How fluidly she moved. How well she read the floor – the open court. She is incredibly athletic. She had what felt like double figures in steals in the first game I watched her play in person.”
While Williams watched Weidner with the intent of destroying opponents with her skill set, Fullerton coach Stacy Kramer sat in the hot seat trying to devise a game plan that would shut down Flyer coach Bryan Reichmuth’s top talent. Eventually, the 10-year Warrior coach gave in.
Having coached Minden’s Taylor Kissinger (Nebraska) in an all-star game, and against Lindsay Holy Family and Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family’s Kaylee Jensen (Oklahoma State) and Shelby-Rising City’s Chatrice White (Illinois and Florida State), Kramer has seen some of the best talent Nebraska has had to offer over the years. Still, the Warrior coach said Weidner was special.
“She is by far the best player that I’ve seen play in all of the time that I’ve played, and in all of the time I’ve coached,” Kramer said. “She is the best player I’ve ever seen. I really believe that. She is the real deal. She’s a nightmare to coach against, but she’s a blast to watch if you love the game of basketball.”
Kramer looked on as the 5-foot, 10-inch Flyer developed over the years. Possessing a long frame and deceptive speed, Weidner does it all for Reichmuth and the Flyers. An amazing passer, the three-time Class D2 all-stater by both major newspapers in the Cornhusker State, can score from anywhere on the court.
Each year she has taken the court for Reichmuth, Weidner has either improved on or added a new wrinkle to her game, creating all kinds of headaches for her opponents. As St. Francis heads into its Class D2 State Tournament battle with eighth-seed Sterling (15-7) Wednesday at Lincoln North Star, Weidner has become a threat from beyond the arc. Through her first three seasons, Weidner made 45 of 163 (27.6%) 3-pointers collectively. As a senior, the gritty guard has buried 18 of 48 (37.5%) bombs.
“Recently, I’ve been working on my outside shot,” Weidner said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement from last year to this year. I’ve been working with a trainer on anytime I’m open on the three, to be confident and shoot it.”
Reichmuth has been seeing that work until you perfect it side of Weidner for years now.
“Allison has great tools, but also works extra to push herself,” Reichmuth said. “She has had a dream and she put in the time to go after that dream. Allison is a great all-around athlete that understands the game of basketball and anticipates the next move of both her teammates and her defenders.”
Reichmuth described Weidner as an all-around player and a true point guard with an amazing ability to see the floor. Following Friday’s 81-16 Class D2-1 District Championship win over Garden County, Weidner is averaging 25.2 points, 6.5 assists, 6.7 rebounds, 6.5 steals, and 0.2 blocked shots a contest. She scored a career high 43 points in a 73-23 win over Hartington-Newcastle in December.
Tied with former Newcastle standout Tonya Kneifl for 14th on the All-Time Nebraska Girls scoring chart with 1,987 points, Weidner made history when she guided the top-ranked Flyers to an opening round conquest of Riverside in the Goldenrod Conference Basketball Tournament last month.
The Flyer senior scored 17 points in the 89-16 triumph over the Chargers to become the 13th girl basketball player in Nebraska to eclipse 2,000 points for her career. Following the outburst, during St. Francis’ 13th win of the season, Weidner stood at 2,004 points, moving past Kneifl and Amanda Hansen of West Point-Beemer who finished her career with 1,990 points.
During the win Weidner also had 4 rebounds, 9 assists, and 7 steals. Since then, the future Cornhusker has bypassed Kalynn Meyer (Superior), Jina Johansen (Centura), Cindy Hays (Osceola), Jordan Hooper (Alliance), Monica Osborn (Axtell), Chatrice White (Shelby-Rising City), Kaylee Jensen (Lindsay Holy Family, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family), and Nicole Kubik (Cambridge) to climb into the No. 5 spot on Nebraska’s All-Time Scoring Chart with 2,211 points.
Only Jessica Shepard (Lincoln Southeast, Fremont – 2,227 points), Alyssa Frauendorfer (Humphrey – 2,267 points), KC Cowgill (Grand Island Central Catholic – 2,427 points), and Darcy Stracke (Stuart, Chambers – 2,752 points) remain above Weidner.
Should Weidner and the top-ranked Flyers get past Sterling Wednesday at the Class D2 Girls State Basketball Tournament, the Nebraska recruit would move ahead of Shepard and Frauendorfer by reaching her scoring average through three state tournament games to move into the No. 3 spot.
After reaching 2,000 points, Weidner said she sat down with her parents Dan and Cathy to visit about the achievement.
“They told me that I might not realize it now, but that it’s kind of an amazing accomplishment that not very many people get to experience,” Weidner recalled. “So, basically I should enjoy the journey and maybe give myself a break every once in a while. Because I have always been pretty hard on myself.”
A strong performance at next weekend’s state tournament would also assist Weidner’s climb up the state tournament scoring chart. Holding at 137 points in seven state tournament contests, Weidner sits 43rd all-time. She needs 75 points in three state tournament games to climb into seventh place with 212 points. Scoring 81 points or better would put her in the Top 5 with at least 218 points. A year ago, Weidner scored a state tournament high 83 points.
The 4-star guard is the proud owner of nine school records to date. ESPN’s 80th ranked recruit for 2021, tied Janice Eisenmenger’s 1987 record of 43 points in a game, owns the single season scoring mark of 706 points, has the most points scored in a career with 2,211, and owns records of 204 steals in a season, 15 steals in a game, 613 career steals, 15 assists in a game, 230 assists in a season, and 725 career assists.
Weidner, the first freshman to start for Reichmuth in his 18 years of coaching, produced a triple-double of 29 points, 5 assists, 12 rebounds, and 10 steals in a 67-66 overtime win over Fullerton last season. She nearly manufactured a quadruple-double with 28 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds, 9 steals, and 2 blocked shots in St. Francis’ 80-44 win over Elkhorn Valley as a junior.
Reichmuth’s top player scored at least 10 points in 102 of 106 career outings, reached 20 points 62 times, recorded 30 points 10 times, and scored 40 points once. Weidner also reached double-digits in steals 12 times, assists 17 times, and rebounds 7 times. For her career, Weidner is averaging 20.9 points, 6.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 5.8 steals, and 0.7 blocked shots per contest.
Named Nebraska’s top girls basketball player for 2020-21 by MaxPreps’ Clay Kallam, Weidner has made 862 of 1,596 (54.0%) 2-pointers, 63 of 211 (29.9%) 3-pointers, 925 of 1,807 (51.2%) field goals, and 298 of 446 (66.8%) free throws for her career.
Not only is Weidner a standout on the basketball court, the 5-foot, 10-inch guard earned first team all-state honors in volleyball as a junior and senior by both the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star while helping the Flyers to three state volleyball tournament berths. With Weidner slamming the ball, St. Francis finished as D2 runner-up in 2019. Dean Korus’ squad also took third in 2017 and dropped its D2 quarterfinal match to Falls City Sacred Heart last fall.
On the track, Weidner has collected a pair of gold medals each in the 400 and 800-meters and one gold in the 3200-meter relay two years ago. She also earned silver in the 2018 1600-meter relay and claimed a fifth-place medal in the 1600-meters as a freshman. Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the state track and field meet a year ago.
Although Weidner has the ability to score whenever she wants, the honorary captain of last year’s OWH Class D2 all-state team, prefers to get her teammates involved in the game. In fact, the do-it-all point guard said she prefers dishing out a great pass and earning the assist to scoring a bucket herself. With the unselfish way she carries herself on the basketball court, Weidner has developed a reputation for making those around her better. Even her coach.
“Allison for sure has made me a better coach,” Reichmuth said. “She motivated me to get better to help her achieve all that she deserves to achieve. Just like her teammates, she makes them better as well. Her extra effort and extra time put in proves things don’t come without effort. Put in the extra time to achieve your dreams.”
Before hitting the hardwood for Williams, Weidner is hard at work putting the final touches on her incredible round-ball legacy. Believe it or not, Weidner still has one more line to check off of her basketball bucket list. Draping a gold medal around her neck.
Having earned first team All-Nebraska and Super State honors by the World Herald and Journal Star respectively a year ago, Weidner and her senior teammates have guided St. Francis to runner-up finishes in Class D2 in 2018 and 2020 and the Flyers lost to eventual state champion Wynot in the Class D2 quarterfinals in 2019. Reichmuth’s club is 96-10 over the past four seasons.
“It is very important,” Weidner said of winning a state title. “But we realize that it’s not something that’s going to be easy. There are eight pretty solid teams in D2. It’s not going to be easy at all.
“But you know, we work hard every day in practice. We take it one game at a time, and we pick apart each game and see what we can improve on to be the best team we can absolutely be when it comes time for state. Then we’ll trust in coach, that he’ll help guide us through, and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
As for her first year at Nebraska?
“I just want to learn and grow in my game, a lot,” Weidner said of her rookie year under Williams. “I think I’m going to learn a lot from Coach Williams, and playing at the next level, and with my teammates. Just being the best player and fit my role as best I can at Nebraska. That’s my main goal.”