Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blair Schmitz Has Career Night; Bluejay Girls Rout Tarkio

Northeast Nodaway played its best game of the year against a highly-touted Tarkio squad in a game that figured to feature one of the top guards in the area in the Indians' Denise McEnaney. Tarkio played the box and one on Jacqueline Schulte, having one of their players face-guarding her all night and holding her to four points. They also figured to feature an interesting challenge for Northeast, who had not faced a guard-oriented team like Tarkio yet this year. The game figured to be a good one, as both last February's meeting and this summer's game both went down to the wire. But Northeast played its best game of the year in beating Tarkio 56-30 Monday in a makeup game. The old Willie Nelson classic "On the Road Again" seems to be a good candidate for a theme song for Northeast's girls, as their two best games of the year have both been on the road; they also routed Stanberry 55-28 as they crashed Stanberry's courtwarming celebrations earlier this year.

Northeast went without Kristin Sherry, who was sick and did not play. The challenge for them was to figure out a way to replace her intangibles -- her rebounding, her ability to run the floor and create fast break opportunitites for the rest of the team, and her deadly outside shooting. Sherry's shooting in the second half last summer had been instrumental in Northeast's win over the Indians. But that simply turned into an opportunity for some of the other players. Emily Bryant started and played her usual brand lights-out defense; Taylor Dougan came off the bench to knock down a couple of outside shots; Jessica Redden came off the bench and utilized the high post position effectively as she was constantly keeping the ball moving and allowing the Bluejays to penetrate the box and one with passes and open up the outside. Rachel Runde showed Coach Ryan Davis that she had gotten even better at on-the-ball defense than last year as Coach Davis allowed her to take some turns guarding Denise McEnaney; she contributed some offensive punch as well. Just as the rest of the team had Jacqueline Schulte's back against Nodaway-Holt after she was hurt, they had Kristin Sherry's back after she was sick and couldn't play against Tarkio.

And the rest of the team made Tarkio pay for trying to gang up on Schulte as it simply created openings for Blair Schmitz, who had a career night against the Indians. Used to playing against players much taller than her in the post, she had a field day against an Indian squad that didn't have anyone taller than 5'7" as she notched a career high of 19 points. Hallie Oelze, seeing some daylight against the box and one, matched a season high with 13 points. Michelle Schulte played lights-out defense against Denise McEnaney, stealing the ball from her twice; Emily Bryant also stole the ball from her. And moving without the ball is just as important as moving with the ball on offense; Jacqueline Schulte was constantly on the move against the box and one defender along the baseline. This occupied defenders who would have otherwise been focusing on Blair Schmitz, who got a lot of daylight to work with. And whenever Schulte went out, the rest of the team made good use of the Nodaway-Holt game, in which they played most of the game without her -- they were just as effective with her on the bench as they were with her on the court. In short, it was a total team effort.

And Northeast held Denise McEnaney to 11 points -- all of them hard-earned. McEnaney was a constant threat to drive to the basket against Northeast. However, five different defenders -- Jacqueline Schulte, Michelle Schulte, Rachel Runde, Emily Bryant, and Hallie Oelze -- all took turns guarding her. Coach Ryan Davis had talked earlier in the year about the Bluejays needing to do a better job helping out on defense, but the help defense was as good as it was all year as there was always a helper in McEnaney's face if she got by her initial defender. Northeast forced "only" 22 turnovers, much lower than previous outings this year. However, that is high for a good ball-handling team like Tarkio. And the Indians constantly rushed shots, which the press is designed to create. That meant there were no fewer fast break opportunities than before, as the rushed shots might as well have been turnovers for Tarkio.

Hallie Oelze opened the scoring with a 3-pointer for Northeast; Blair Schmitz followed with an inside shot and Hallie got a fast break bucket to make it 7-0 in the first two minutes of the game. Tarkio finally got on the board as Michelle McEnaney got a layup after Northeast overextended on defense; however, Michelle Schulte countered with a steal and drive. Denise McEnaney hit a 3-pointer with Runde in her face, but Runde took a drive and got open on the right baseline and Blair Schmitz stepped out to hit a shot from the left baseline to put Northeast up 13-5. They led 15-7 after one quarter of play.

The Bluejay juggernaut kicked into high gear in the second quarter as Hallie Oelze hit a pair of shots from the right wing to start off; the second shot was over Denise McEnaney. Jacqueline Schulte, who had not scored yet, finally got on the board, scoring off a Rachel Runde steal. Even Schulte's second foul of the half, which sent her to the bench, did not break the run as Michelle Schulte stole the ball from Denise McEnaney and got a layup. Emily Bryant followed with a shot from the right wing with a defender in her face and Hallie Oelze grabbed an offensive carom and fed Runde to make it 27-7.

Tarkio tried to follow South Nodaway's lead as they extended their zone defense, got in the passing lanes, and tried to get some steals to get back in the game. It created some problems for Northeast at first and Jacqueline Schulte, after checking back in, picked up her third foul. Krysta Beattie hit a pair of free throws to cut Northeast's lead to 31-13 with 1:23 left. But with Northeast needing a long possession, they got one as they ran huge chunks of time off the clock. Finally, Taylor Dougan drove the lane and found Jessica Redden wide open at the buzzer to leave Northeast up 33-13 at the break.

With three fouls, Jacqueline Schulte started off the second half on the bench and Tarkio sought to make a run in her absence as Denise McEnaney got a pair of drives to the basket to cut Northeast's lead to 37-19. Michelle McEnaney got loose underneath for Tarkio while Blair Schmitz scored on a pair of inside shots for Northeast. But Schulte came back in and her putback with 5:32 ignited a 10-0 run that put the game away. Rachel Runde followed with a shot from the high post, Hallie Oelze scored off a fast break, Blair Schmitz scored off a drive to the basket, and Michelle Schulte followed with a steal in the backcourt to put Northeast up 47-19 at the 3:51 mark of the third quarter. Five straight baskets from Michelle McEnaney cut the lead to 47-24, but a shot from Taylor Dougan showed everyone that it was Northeast's night. Dougan took a baseline shot that arched high in the air, hit the supporting wire over the basket, and dropped in the basket.

Blair Schmitz dominated the paint in the fourth quarter as she opened the scoring with a putback. Emily Bryant then stole the ball from Denise McEnaney and fed Blair Schmitz, whose runner rolled halfway around the rim and then dropped through -- "That shot doesn't go in back in Ravenwood," quipped Coach Ryan Davis about the shot. Schmitz then got open after a Rachel Runde drive and converted a 3-point play to give Northeast its biggest lead of the game at 56-26 -- her free throw was the only attempt of the night for Northeast.

Tyler Davis Hits 29; Bluejay Boys Back on Winning Track

Tyler Davis hit 29 points as Northeast Nodaway's boys got back on the winning track against Tarkio Monday night, beating the Indians 58-39 in a makeup game from earlier this year. The Bluejays lost Bryce Farnan early in the game to a sprained ankle, meaning that everyone else would have to pick up scoring slack. They were able to do so as "Puff" stepped outside and rained five three-pointers on the Indians; Chad Messner added two more and Josh Wideman had one. After the loss against CFX in the Northwest Missouri Championship game, Coach Charley Burch said that his players needed to make some outside shots against the zone, saying that they would be seeing a lot of zone looks thanks to Northeast's height advantage. He got that against Tarkio. And after Bryce Farnan went down with his injury, Brad Stoll came off the bench during the second quarter and saw extended playing time, rebounding well and allowing Northeast to match up against the tall Indian squad, featuring three players listed at 6'4" or taller.

Northeast used a 20-point third quarter to pull away from Tarkio; unlike the Nodaway-Holt game, they were able to keep Tarkio from getting back in the game in the fourth quarter. "We played much better defense in the second half," said Burch. "We're a completely different team out there when we move our feet on defense." Burch said that his team was too passive with their pressure in the first half; the players were much more aggressive on defense in the second half.

Tyler Davis opened the scoring with a pair of inside shots and Colby Wiederholt scored off a steal to put Northeast up 6-0 two minutes into the game and it looked like Northeast would pull away like the girls did. But Tarkio kept hanging around as they were constantly getting loose underneath; two baskets by Tony Baruth and one from Dillon Noland cut the lead to 7-6. But after Farnan went down, that seemingly woke Northeast up as their players started stepping outside and raining 3-pointers on the Indians; Tyler Davis and Chad Messner hit one each to put Northeast back up 13-6.

Tarkio scored the next five points capped by an inside shot from Baruth to make it 13-11 with 7:22 left. But then Northeast continued to be on a roll from outside as Tyler Davis his a baseline 3-pointer followed by an NBA 3-pointer from the left wing. Chad Messner added a 3-pointer from the right baseline to make it 22-15 at the 4:55 mark. Noland countered with one of his own, but Brad Stoll got a putback and Tyler Davis hit his third 3-pointer of the quarter to put Northeast up 27-18 at the break.

Davis converted a conventional 3-point play at the start of the third quarter to put Northeast into double digits at 30-18. Dillon Noland hit a pair of shots to cut it back to 9, but then Josh Wideman hit a 3-pointer to start the game-deciding 10-0 run that put the game out of reach. James Burns followed with a layup after Kevin Stoll saved the ball to him, Chad Messner jumped a pass, got the steal, missed the layup, but put it back in, and Colby Wiederholt got a free throw and followed it with a drive to the basket with 1:39 left in the period. Cody Mandeville hit a pair of free throws with 1:33 left for Tarkio, but Colby Wiederholt went coast to coast after a defensive board and converted a 3-point play and Tyler Davis hit a 3-pointer from the left baseline at the buzzer to put Northeast up 47-24 after three quarters.

Tarkio made a brief run to start the fourth quarter, but there was no comparison to the Nodaway-Holt game, in which Northeast nearly gave up a 20-point lead -- the Bluejays did a much better job of finishing off the game. After Noland scored off a drive for Tarkio to cap a 6-2 run, Colby Wiederholt scored a free throw, Tyler Davis hit a pair of inside shots and hit a pair of free throws. Clayton Judd made a nifty move to the basket to give Northeast its largest lead of the night at 58-33 with 2:13 left.

Everybody Scores in 82-21 Rout of Trojans

Everybody scored in an 82-21 rout of the Nodaway-Holt Trojans as Northeast Nodaway's girls won their opening round matchup of the Northwest Missouri Basketball Tournament. It was the most points Northeast had scored in recent memory, in contrast to the Claude Samson years, when putting that many points on the board was routine for the Bluejay girls. They survived an injury scare and forced 53 turnovers on the hapless Trojans, who had developed some offensive firepower to go with their size, but could not bring the ball up the floor against the Bluejay pressure.

Jacqueline Schulte came out on fire against the Trojans as she scored eight points in the first minute of the game. She grabbed a pair of putbacks and scored off a Kristin Sherry steal and a Hallie Oelze steal as Northeast led 8-0 at the 7:06 mark. Following a free throw from Kristin Sherry and a putback from Hallie Oelze, Jacqueline Schulte connected again, this time hitting a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 14-0 at the 6:20 mark.

Nodaway-Holt made a bid to get back in the game as Amanda O'Riley scored after a carom rolled right at her; Hailey Poppa followed with a basket and Whitney Keith followed with a free throw to make it 14-5 at the 5:03 mark. But Hallie Oelze got a steal which led to a pair of Bryant free throws, and Northeast was off to the races again. Jacqueline Schulte followed by driving the lane, drawing the defense, and kicking out to Oelze for a 3-pointer; Schulte then followed with a steal. Alycia Keith's 3-pointer cut Northeast's lead to 21-8, but Kristin Sherry scored from the right side and then Michelle Schulte got in on the act as she connected from the right wing and then scored off a Kristin Sherry steal. Hallie Oelze hit a pair of free throws and then Jacqueline Schulte got a steal and drive, scored another inside shot off a Jessica Redden pass, and then fed the ball to Kristin Sherry at the buzzer; her shot from the top of the key, with a taller defender all over her, went down to put Northeast up 36-8 after one quarter.

Jacqueline Schulte had 17 points at that point. But just when it looked like she would be able to make an assault on the all-time single game scoring records of 48 points by Linda (Schmitz) Mattson and 47 points by Shelly Wilmes, she came up limping following a collision with a Trojan player, causing everyone in the whole gym to hold their breaths. Following an early basket by Nodaway-Holt, Blair Schmitz hit a pair of free throws, Kristin Sherry scored from the left baseline, and Taylor Dougan got a putback to make it 42-10. But as the shock of the injury set in, Nodaway-Holt made a 6-0 run as Hailey Poppa scored from inside and Amanda O'Riley scored off a drive and a shot from the top of the key to cut Northeast's lead to 42-16. But as it turned out that the injury was to Jacqueline's shin and not her knee as initially feared and as it was not serious -- coach Ryan Davis said he could have put her back in two minutes later if he had needed her -- the Bluejays turned it into a learning experience as they were able to successfully play together without Jacqueline for the rest of the game. Schulte came back in briefly at the start of the second half; Coach Davis kept her out the rest of the time as a precautionary measure.

Northeast was able to use balanced scoring to pick up the slack as four different players picked up the scoring load. Hallie Oelze and Michelle Schulte had 13 points for the night, Kristin Sherry followed with 11 points, and Emily Bryant had 9. Hallie Oelze played lights-out on the ball defense as she got eight steals and four assists for the night; Kristin Sherry had five assists. Oelze picked up three steals in the last three minutes of the second quarter right when Northeast needed to right the ship; her first led to a four-point play. She was fouled on the drive and made the layup, but missed the free throw; however, Kristin Sherry grabbed the putback and put it in against two players five inches taller than her to make it 46-16. Following a free throw by Holmes for Nodaway-Holt, Michelle Schulte scored off a Kristin Sherry steal and then scored off a Hallie Oelze steal. Emily Bryant followed with a steal and drive and a pair of free throws and then Hallie Oelze collected her third steal and got a layup at the buzzer to put Northeast up 56-17.

Jacqueline Schulte came back in at the start of the second half and showed no ill effects from the injury as she scored off a nifty play; Blair Schmitz got a steal, fed Michelle Schulte, who got the ball to Jacqueline Schulte for the layup. After Jacqueline came out after a minute and a half, Michelle picked up the slack as she hit a 3-pointer off an inbounds play and beat the Trojan defense down the floor and made a pair of free throws. Hailey Poppa countered with a tough shot from the right wing with a defender in her face to cut it to 65-19, but Rachel Runde hit a pair of free throws, Blair Schmitz drove down the lane and hit a rare right-handed layup, Hallie Oelze scored off a steal, Jessica Redden scored from inside off a Kristan Judd steal, and Emily Bryant scored off a Hallie Oelze steal to make it 75-19 at the end of the third quarter.

The running clock ensured that there would be no assault on 100 points like there would have been during the old days, when the challenge was to see if the Bluejays could eclipse the century mark. But they were able to get everyone into the scoring column as Kristan Judd hit from the left wing with 4:40 left and Kenzie Waldeier scored a pair of free throws and got a back door layup. Emily Bryant's free throw following a quick outlet and a drive down the right side of the floor rounded out the scoring for Northeast.

Box and One Can't Stop Schulte vs. Rockets

With Jacqueline Schulte averaging over 20 points a game early on in the season, West Nodaway tried the box and one against her, trying to make someone else beat them. Not only did the box and one fail to stop Schulte, who had 20 points in a 61-29 rout of West Nodaway, it opened scoring opportunities for Blair Schmitz, who had a season-high 17 points. Northeast continued to look sharp, running the floor and making good transition passes. "The only thing I didn't like was the slow start," said Coach Ryan Davis. "We like to get out to faster starts against teams than what we did." He said that Blair Schmitz and West Nodaway's Kassie Jones were good friends off the court and that Schmitz wanted to do well against the West Nodaway post player. She did so as Jacqueline Schulte ran the baseline against the box and one, drawing the attention of the defense and opening up scoring opportunites for Schmitz despite giving up four inches to Jones. Defensively, Northeast forced 38 Rocket turnovers. They did not get the kind of steals and quick layups that they did earlier, but the press still worked as designed -- it sped up the Rockets, forced them into making quicker decisions, and creating assorted violations.

Northeast started off slowly as the only score for the first 1 1/2 minutes was a backdoor layup by Claire Young for West Nodaway. But one defensive lapse was all it took to kick the Bluejay juggernaut into high gear as somebody left Blair Schmitz all alone for an easy basket and open the floodgates. Jacqueline Schulte followed with an inside shot, Kristin Sherry added a fast break basket and a shot from the right baseline, and Jacqueline Schulte grabbed a putback with 3:15 left to make it 10-2. Kassie Jones finally got loose for a putback to break the run, but Emily Bryant scored from the right baseline and Blair Schmitz hit a free throw to push the Northeast lead to 13-4 after one quarter.

The box and one couldn't stop Jacqueline Schulte from finding other ways of scoring. On the initial play of the second quarter, Northeast got the ball into Blair Schmitz in the high post and drew the attention of the defense; Schmitz fed Schulte for a backdoor layup. Then, Rachel Runde, who came off the bench, stole the ball and pushed it to Kristin Sherry, whose long outlet pass to Jacqueline Schulte resulted in a foul and two free throws. Bryant followed with another fast break following a quick shot on the other end by West Nodaway and Northeast led 19-4 at that point. Tessa Lightner got a steal and layup for West Nodaway to break the run, but Jacqueline Schulte got a fast break layup after getting a feed from Taylor Dougan and Rachel Runde got a steal and played a nifty game of back and forth with Blair Schmitz before connecting to make it 23-6. The two teams traded buckets for the rest of the half and Northeast led 29-12 at the break.

Northeast jumped out to a fast start in the third quarter as Blair Schmitz and Jacqueline Schulte worked the high-low on consecutive occasions to beat the box and one to make it 33-12. Then Schmitz got rewarded for sharing the ball as Jacqueline Schulte fed her on a backdoor cut to make it 35-12. Schmitz continued to have the hot hand as Emily Bryant fed her twice to push the lead to 39-12. Lightner scored off a drive and Clarie Young scored from the left baseline to counter for West Nodaway and the teams traded buckets until the midpoint of the fourth quarter. Hallie Oelze scored off a steal, Jessica Redden scored from the top of the key on a shot similar to the clutch shot she made last year against the same team, Jacqueline Schulte scored off a pair of drives and a free throw, and Michelle Schulte scored off a fast break during the stretch for Northeast.

With Northeast leading 51-28, Blair Schmitz got a steal and drive to trigger a 10-1 game-ending run. Rachel Runde scored off a fast break following a miss and Blair Schmitz scored from inside for Northeast. Kassie Jones countered with a free throw for West Nodaway, but Kristin Sherry scored from the top of the key and Emily Bryant hit a pair of free throws to round out the scoring for Northeast.

Colby Wiederholt's 20 points Powers Bluejay Boys Past Rockets

Northeast Nodaway's boys used a 20-point effort from Colby Wiederholt to get past West Nodaway 61-50 and advance into the second round of the Northwest Missouri Basketball Tournament. They were able to overcome a strong effort on the other end by West Nodaway's Jeff Whittington in the process as they kept their undefeated streak alive.

There were plenty of areas that Coach Charley Burch said needed work. "We missed a lot of easy shots and we were not totally focused," he said, adding that the three days off due to the weather did not help. The absence of Bobby Welch, out with the flu, did not help as he has been bringing much-needed energy to the team every night. But the Bluejays were able to change the tempo of the game and overcome a subpar scoring night from Tyler Davis, who was favoring an injured shoulder that night. "We took West Nodaway too lightly and didn't play as well as we did against Stanberry," said Burch.

Whittington opened the scoring with an inside shot with 5:56 left, but Bryce Farnan answered with a pair of inside shots, one off a James Burns lob; one of them turned into a 3-point play. Free throws by Heath Harris made it 5-4, but Colby Wiederholt answered with a pair of free throws to make it 7-4. But the next play really symbolized the kind of play that Coach Burch said needed to be cleaned up; the much smaller West Nodaway squad got four successive offensive rebounds before Whittington cleaned up inside to make it 7-6. It didn't help Northeast that the referees let Whittington camp out in the lane all night without calling a 3-seconds violation on the Rockets; the three seconds rule was specifically designed to stop big men from simply camping out in the lane and taking easy shots all night. The two teams traded scores for most of the first quarter before James Burns converted a 3-point play after Josh Wideman grabbed an offensive board and got him the ball to make it 14-9 as Northeast finally started getting some separation.

Assistant Coach Ryan Davis grabbed both Tyler Davis and James Burns and took them aside and gave them a talking to after the first quarter. "I simply told them that they were seniors and that they needed to take it on themselves to stop Whittington," he said afterwards. Coach Charley Burch made an adjustment, going to a four-guard lineup in the second quarter, which allowed Northeast to match up better against the Rockets.

Tyler Davis hit a pair of free throws and James Burns got a layup after Tyler Davis grabbed an offensive carom to make it 20-11. Whittington scored from inside and Sage Jones hit from the left wing to cut the lead to 22-17, but Colby Wiederholt got a steal with 5:17 left and Wideman stole the ensuing inbounds pass and drew the foul and sank one out of two free throws. Tyler Davis followed with an inside shot, Chad Messner got a fast break following a long outlet from Kevin Stoll, and Colby Wiederholt hit a pair of free throws to push the lead out to 31-17 with 2:54 left.

Bryce Farnan picked up his fourth foul early into the second half and West Nodaway began chipping away at the lead. Ethan Bragg hit a couple of 3-pointers that brought the Rockets to within 40-33 at the 4:40 mark of the third. The two teams traded buckets for the remainder of the quarter until Colby Wiederholt hit a pair of driving layups in the last minute of the period to put Northeast back up by double digits at 46-35. Bragg's third 3-pointer in the half cut Northeast's lead back down to 46-39 at the 7:13 mark of the fourth quarter, but Farnan came back in and gave Northeast a lift. Chad Messner hit a shot from the right wing, Farnan scored off a Josh Wideman steal and grabbed a putback, and Colby Wiederholt hit a free throw during a 7-0 run that allowed Northeast to reestablish control. West Nodaway could come no closer than 9 the rest of the way as Wiederholt scored off a drive, worked a perfect give and go with James Burns for a layup, and grabbed a putback in the last two minutes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bluejay Girls Clinch NW Missouri Tournament Title

Northeast Nodway's girls shot about as badly as it was possible to shoot and still beat South Nodaway 43-34 for the Northwest Missouri Championship Tournament title Friday. The Bluejays shot 12 for 32 from the free throw line, were victimized by some questionable calls by the officials, got an off night from Jacqueline Schulte (10 points), and still found a way to win the game. It didn't help that there were several instances in the game in which Bluejay players would go in for layups after getting steals, only to get pushed in the back going up for the score and getting no call from the officials. That is the kind of team that South Nodaway is this year -- one must find a way to beat the Longhorns. Northeast did it by shutting down post players Shelby Freemeyer and Brooke Wolf and getting them into foul trouble. Just as important, they continued playing strong defense -- they forced 41 Longhorn turnovers throughout the night, stopping them at critical times.

Kristen Sherry opened the scoring with a free throw after Michelle Schulte tipped a ball to her for a steal; Jacqueline Schulte followed with a drive to make it 3-0. But then the Longhorn inside game got going as Shelby Freemeyer got loose twice and Brooke Wolf got a backdoor layup to put South Nodaway up 6-3. But Michelle Schulte seems to have a knack for stepping in at the right time and turning games around and she did so again, hitting a free throw and then turning around and getting a steal to tie it at 6-6. Wolf hit from inside as the parade of missed free throws continued, but Schulte got another steal to tie it at 8. Jacqueline Schulte followed her own miss and hit both free throws and Blair Schmitz hit from the top of the key with 8 seconds left in the period to put Northeast up 12-8. Michelle Schulte had nine steals in the game, six in the first quarter when South Nodaway was threatening to establish control of the game.

Wolf scored yet again, this time getting a three point play after a 3rd-chance try, but Michelle Schulte hit from the left wing and then Blair Schmitz scored off a Jacqueline Schulte steal to make it 16-11. But Northeast fell into a rash of hacking and fouling; two free throws each from Cheyanne Murphy and Brooke Wolf, a baseline shot from Shelby Jewett, and another free throw from Sara Coleman put South Nodaway back up 18-16 with 2:42 left in the half. But once again, Michelle Schulte changed the course of the game as she pushed the pall up the floor following the second free throw, took it in on Wolf, made the layup, and drew Wolf's 3rd foul. She converted the 3-point play to make it 19-18 and put Northeast up for good. Following a five-seconds call on South Nodaway, Hallie Oelze was hammered and made both free throws to make it 21-18. Oelze then got a steal and drive and then followed with a 3-pointer to put Northeast up 26-18.

The officials then saw fit to take over as Shelby Jewett stuck her hand out and pushed Oelze away from her as she was trying to fend off her defensive pressure; Oelze was called for the foul. This is contrary to the rulebook, which states that the player who initiates contact (Jewett) should be called for the foul without regard to offense and defense. Jewett made both free throws. Following a baseline jumper by Jacqueline Schulte, the officials lent another helping hand to South Nodaway. Shelby Freemeyer took the ball at the top of the key and took three long steps to the basket without dribbling the ball. But instead of calling the obvious walk, the officials claimed that Oelze fouled her on the shot. Not only did South Nodaway get a free throw on the play, it was Oelze's third foul, which sent her to the bench.

But Northeast negated the gifts from the officials to South Nodaway as Jacqueline Schulte cut inside for a layup. With four seconds left, South Nodaway was inbounding the ball underneath Northeast Nodaway's basket. Emily Bryant got the steal on the press and fed to Blair Schmitz in the high post, whose jumper at the buzzer put Northeast up 32-21.

South Nodaway was reeling at that point, but like a boxer saved by the bell, the Longhorns came right back at Northeast. First, Northeast lost Murphy in one of their rare defensive miscues of the game and she dropped a 3-pointer on them to get it under double digits. South Nodaway made an adjustment as they switched from a 2-3 and a 1-3 zone with one player chasing Jacqueline Schulte to a 1-3-1 with their players playing the passing lanes. The adjustment worked as they started jumping one pass after another to get back in the game. Wolf followed with a pair of inside shots to make it 32-28 before Kristin Sherry made one out of two free throws to make it 33-28. Shelby Freemeyer hit a free throw, but then both Wolf and Freemeyer picked up their fourth foul and sat out the rest of the period. Jacqueline Schulte hit from the top of the key to finally give Northeast its first field goal of the period, but Kristi Heideman grabbed a putback at the buzzer for South Nodaway to make it 35-31 after three quarters. It was the first quarter that Northeast's girls had lost all year.

With Freemeyer and Wolf back in to start the fourth quarter, Miranda Jones opened the scoring for the Longhorns with a shot from the right wing to make it 35-33. And then, there was a heartstopping moment for Northeast as Wolf took off all alone following a Bluejay miss and had a wide open layup. But her shot went astray and rolled out and Emily Bryant hit a shot from the right wing with 6:22 left to make it a four-point game. Jacqueline Schulte got a steal on the subsequent possession and fed the ball to Bryant, who made the play of the game. Knowing Freemeyer had four fouls, Bryant shot over her. Freemeyer leaped up into the air and blocked the shot, but landed on Bryant for her fifth foul. Blair Schmitz then blocked an inside shot by Wolf on the next possession and Jacqueline Schulte saved an errant shot from going out of bounds right to Hallie Oelze for a layup to make it 39-33. With 4:06 left, Northeast squelched any comeback hopes for South Nodaway as Schmitz got the ball inside and put a perfect fake on Wolf and drew her fifth foul; Schmitz made one out of her two free throws to make it 40-33.

At that point, it was practically over as Northeast was able to take huge chunks of time off the clock. Blair Schmitz added three more free throws down the stretch before the Longhorns hit a meanless free throw with 27 seconds left to round out the scoring. The scoring was completely balanced for Northeast -- Jacqueline Schulte, Michelle Schulte and Blair Schmitz all had 10 points while Hallie Oelze had 9.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bluejay Boys Hold Off Frantic Trojan Rally, Win 69-65

Northeast Nodaway's boys built up a big lead and then had to withstand a frantic Nodaway-Holt rally before advancing to the championship round of the Northwest Missouri Tournament Wednesday. The Trojans, who scored 38 against North Nodaway in the opening round of the tournament, scored 34 in the fourth quarter against Northeast, but could not erase a 20-point deficit against the Bluejays. Coach Charley Burch said that the difference was that in the first three quarters, Northeast played to win. "In the fourth quarter, we played not to lose," he said. "But we'll take the win and we'll give CFX our best shot in the championship round."

Tyler Davis staked Northeast out to a 5-2 lead in the first three minutes as he had all five of Northeast's points, knocking a shot down from the high post and scoring from inside and hitting a free throw. But the defensive rebounding broke down during the next stretch as Nodaway-Holt went ahead 10-5 as they got baskets from Zach Lemar, Blake Shamberger, and Marc Rosenbohm during the run. One of the plays that symbolized that stretch was one where the Trojans got five chances at the basket and converted as Patrick O'Riley hit two free throws. This lack of rebounding would kill Northeast in their championship tilt with CFX. Northeast finally got untracked on the other end as Tyler Davis hit from the top of the key and scored off a drive and James Burns cut inside to put Northeast up 11-10. O'Riley scored off a backdoor cut to put Nodaway-Holt up 12-11 after one quarter.

The first five minutes of the second quarter featured two ties as both teams kept the game close. O'Riley went coast to coast to start the scoring for Nodaway-Holt, but Bobby Welch countered with a 3-pointer and Josh Wideman had a drive to make it 16-14. Michael Brown, one of the main weapons of the Nodaway-Holt team, answered with a free throw but then came out with an injury, which seemed to hurt the Trojans. Shamberger's inside shot tied it at 19-19, but then James Burns converted a 3-point play, Chad Messner scored from the top of the key, and Colby Wiederholt scored off a Josh Wideman steal as Northeast started taking control in the absence of Brown. Burns' free throw gave Northeast a 28-19 lead at the break.

With Brown out with his injury, Bryce Farnan took over the third quarter for Northeast. He opened the scoring with a fingertip grab and putback, took a lob pass and scored off a hook shot, and knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Colby Wiederholt added a steal and then Farnan added another 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 40-22 with 4:55 left in the period.

Brown came back in at that point to knock down a 3-pointer and O'Riley followed with a shot from the right side to make it 40-27. The lead stayed between 13 and 16 before Tyler Davis scored from the right wing and Bryce Farnan was hammered while shooting from the high post and converted the three-point play to make it 51-31 going into the fourth quarter.

But then Northeast started playing not to lose, throwing the ball away against the press on offense and hacking and fouling on defense. The hacking and fouling started right off the bat as Brown was hammered right off the bat while attempting a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws. Northeast threw a half-court lob to James Burns, but Brown was hammered on a drive to the basket and converted two free throws to make it 53-37.

Northeast managed to keep the lead around 16 for a while. Tyler Davis hit a pair of free throws, Josh Wideman drove down the left side, and Colby Wiederholt beat Brown down the court for a layup to make it 59-42. But then the Trojan comeback bid gained steam as Patrick O'Riley hit a free throw, Brandon Saxton got a fast break, and Zach Lemar hit a long 3-pointer to make it 59-48 with 2:34 left. Wiederholt scored off a fast break and Tyler Davis hit two free throws to make it 63-50 with under two minutes left, but then Carson Long began driving at will to the basket, hitting a pair of layups to make it 63-54 with 1:28 left. Colby Wiederholt beat the press and got a layup. Cody Ridler hit a 3-pointer, but Bobby Welch hit a free throw to seemingly leave Northeast in control at 66-57 with 1:08 left.

However, the fun was just beginning. Northeast could not buy a defensive board on the next possession and Long grabbed a putback with 38 seconds left to make it 66-59. Northeast then threw the ball away against the press and Michael Brown hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to make it 66-62. The Trojans nearly stole the ensuing inbounds pass, but then Tyler Davis hit two critical free throws with 21.9 seconds left to make it 68-62. But then things got interesting again as Northeast fouled Brown on a 3-point attempt and he made all three free throws to make it 68-65 with 11.3 seconds left. But Chad Messner hit the back end of a double bonus to clinch the win for Northeast with 7.3 seconds.

21 Point 4th Quarter Not Enough in Boys Championship Tilt

Northeast Nodaway's boys had a 21 point 4th quarter against CFX, but it was not enough as the Hornets beat Northeast 55-49 in the championship game of the Northwest Missouri Tournament. The Northeast Nodaway boys settled for second place in the event. Coach Charley Burch said that the Hornets completely collapsed the inside, taking away Northeast's size advantage. "In the first three quarters, we were not hitting anything; in the fourth quarter, we finally started making some shots," he said. Burch said that CFX controlled the defensive glass as they were able to have three people rebounding and two people flying down the court, creating many different layup opportunities. The game lived up to its billing; Northeast and CFX played two games last winter and two more in summer ball; all four games were decided by one possession.

Northeast got off to a quick start in the game. Tyler Davis cut inside for a shot and Bryce Farnan got a quick outlet to Josh Wideman for a layup for Northeast's first four points of the game. Bryce Farnan hit a pair of free throws, Tyler Davis scored from inside, and Bobby Welch beat the Hornet defense down the court for a layup to make it 10-4.

But Colby Wiederholt picked up his second foul soon after, which seemed to take the wind out of Northeast's sails. Kevin Dodson scored off a drive and Spencer Barnes hit four straight free throws to tie the game up. Wideman scored on a drive over two defenders, but Garrett Hinrichs countered with a 3-pointer to give CFX its first lead at 13-12. Bryce Farnan scored from inside and Chad Messner scored from the right baseline to put Northeast back in front 16-13 before Dodson scored from inside to leave Northeast up 16-15 after the first quarter.

Colby Wiederholt came back in and got a putback and Bryce Farnan scored from the left wing to put Northeast up 22-19, but Nathan Hinrichs tied it with a 3-pointer from the left wing and then Jordan Showalter scored from the baseline to put CFX up for good. Showalter hit a pair of free throws to make it 26-22. Wideman's freethrows cut the lead to 26-24, but CFX scored the next six points to make it 32-24. Northeast made a late run in the quarter as Bryce Farnan scored from inside, Bobby Welch took a charge, and Colby Wiederholt scored off a drive to make it 32-28, but Jacob Beck got loose for a couple of baskets in the last minute to put CFX back up 36-28 at the half.

Northeast made the same mistake that Worth County did in the semifinal game, as they let Beck run wild in the third period. Colby Wiederholt hit six points in the first four minutes of the third to keep Northeast's deficit at 8 at 42-34, but Beck scored eight in the period, all on steals and fast breaks, to lead CFX. The Hornets closed the period with an 8-0 run to lead 50-34 after three quarters.

But then Northeast finally started getting their shots to drop as Wiederholt started them off with a fast break. Tyler Davis followed with a pair of free throws with 5:28 left to make it 50-38. CFX hit a free throw, but then Bryce Farnan hit a pair of free throws and Davis hit a 3-pointer and a shot from the top of the key to make it 51-49 with 2:44 left in the game. But then Kevin Dodson broke the run with a shot from the right side with 2:25 left to make it 53-49. Northeast had a pass stolen on their next possession and the Hornets ran the clock all the way down to 1:14 before losing the ball on a traveling call. Northeast missed their last three 3-point attempts and Beck hit two free throws with 33 seconds left to round out the scoring.

Tigers Can't Complete Comeback vs. Trojans

Worth County's boys could not complete a comeback bid against the Nodaway-Holt Trojans and came up short in the third-place game of the Northwest Missouri Tournament Thursday night 63-52. The game took a similar course to the CFX game in which the Tigers dug themselves into an early hole and could not climb out. This time, they dug themselves into a 9-0 hole by forcing too many passes and by giving up too many transition baskets and not keeping them off the boards.

The Tigers finally got on the board as Bryce Ross scored a pair of free throws off a drive and Todd Harding got another drive to make it 9-4. But the defensive miscues continued; Carson Long was driving into the lane and getting people the ball at will and the help was either too slow or not there at all. Cody Ridler hit a pair of transition baskets and then Brandon Saxton got all alone inside to make it 15-6. Eli Mullock scored in transition off a Zach Harmening drive, but then Zach Lemar answered with a 3-pointer. J.J. Mullock took a lob pass and Bryce Ross scored on a third-chance putback to make it 18-12 after one quarter of play.

Lemar started off the second quarter with a 3-pointer that put Nodaway-Holt back up by 9, but Dylan Kinsella converted a 3-point play to cut it back to 6. The lead stayed between 6 and 9 until Alex Harmening got a steal, Dylan scored off a fast break after Zach Harmening pushed it up the floor, and Eli Mullock scored from inside to make it 26-23. The two teams traded buckets until the half, when Nodaway-Holt led 32-27.

Cody Ridler opened the scoring with a free throw for Nodaway-Holt in the second half and then Lemar hit a 3-pointer after Nodaway-Holt got an offensive board and kickout. Eli Mullock countered with a backdoor layup and Todd Harding went to the rack and made one out of two free throws to make it 36-30, but then the Tigers lost Michael Brown on consecutive plays and he nailed two 3-pointers to push the lead back into double digits at 42-30. Todd Harding was fouled on a three-shot foul and made all three attempts, but Brandon Saxton scored on a drive and Patrick O'Riley hit a free throw to make it 45-33. Garrett Hawk scored from the right side and Jordan Harding hit a free throw after a steal; Nodaway-Holt countered with a 3-pointer from Aric Gazaway and a drive from Long to give them their biggest lead at 50-36 before J.J. Mullock scored from inside with 5 seconds left to make it 50-38 after three quarters.

Trailing 53-40 with 5:31 left in the fourth, Worth County finally made its run as Todd Harding hit two free throws to start the rally. Harding followed with a steal with 4:39 left and added a 3-pointer with 2:54 left. Zach Harmening followed with a steal left that made it 53-49 and Worth County had a chance to make it a one-possession game following a Nodaway-Holt turnover, but Zach Harmening airballed a shot with 1:56 left; on the ensuing possession, nobody matched up on O'Riley, whose layup made it a six-point game. Eli Mullock's free throw with 1:38 left made it 55-50, but Nodaway-Holt would make 8 consecutive free throws, six of them by Long, to put the game away.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

CFX Scores First 13 Points, Downs Tiger Boys

CFX scored the first 13 points of the game against Worth County and held on to win 50-42 in semifinal action Wednesday night at the Northwest Missouri Basketball Tournament. After the bad first quarter, the Tigers fell even farther behind at the start of the second before finally settling down and playing ball with the Hornets. Take away the first 11 minuts of the game and the Tigers win. But, as Coach Chris Healy said, "there are 32 minutes in a game for a reason."

The Tigers struggled against the press, forcing passes and letting CFX guard Jacob Beck run wild in the first 11 minutes. "That was the first real press we have seen all year," explained Coach Healy. Beck scored the first nine points of the game, getting four free throws, a fast break bucket, and a 3-pointer from the left wing. Kevin Dodson added a putback after nobody got back on defense after a fast break, and then nobody helped out on a backdoor cut by Spencer Barnes, which made it 12-0.

Worth County finally got on the board, although the refs were not making it easy for them during that stretch. Dylan Kinsella scored from the high post to break the shutout and Zach Harmening hit a 3-pointer from the right wing. Todd Harding followed with a steal to make it 13-7. But then the refs lent a helpful hand as an official completely out of position made a phantom foul call that gave Jordan Sipes a free throw to make it 14-7. Worth County had the final possession in the period, but the officials let the CFX players bump the Tiger shooters with their bodies twice and didn't blow the whistle.

But the officials did not make the Tigers play through the lapse at the start of the second quarter in which they let Nathan Hinrichs get all alone for a wide open layup in transition to start another CFX run. Panic set in as Beck scored the next eight points, three of them on steals to make it 24-9 at the 5:25 mark of the second quarter. At that point, Beck had scored 17 of CFX's 24 points in the game. Finally, the Tigers settled down as CFX went through the next five minutes without a field goal. J.J. Mullock got a free throw after an offensive board and Cole Buffington got a steal and drive to make it 24-12. Spencer Barnes hit a free throw, but Zach Harmening hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 25-15 with 40 seconds left. Garrett Hinrichs answered with a shot from the right wing for CFX to make it 27-15 and then the officials lent another helping hand to CFX as Dylan Kinsella's last-second shot should have sent him to the line for two shots. But the refs didn't see the CFX defender pushing him with his lower hand and causing him to miss his shot and CFX went into the break up 27-15.

Alex Harmening got a drive and then added a 3rd-chance putback as Worth County cut the lead to under double digits to start the second half. But CFX answered with a 7-0 run as Worth County reverted to their first-quarter form of forcing passes that weren't there; Beck started the run with a 3-point play and then they attacked the basket as Jordan Showalter, quiet all night, scored on a pair of drives to make it 34-18 as the defensive help was nonexistent. The Hornet press was working the way it was designed to as the Tigers were in hurry-up mode when they should have been patient against the zone. But then Worth County settled down and fought back again as Dylan Kinsella beat the press for a layup and then scored from inside to cut it back to 34-22. Showalter hit a free throw and then Beck added a steal to push it back to 15, but Zach Harmening hit a pair of free throws after a fast break with 7 seconds left to make it 37-24 going into the fourth quarter.

Spencer Barnes got a putback to start the fourth quarter, but Eli Mullock hit a free throw, Alex Harmening hit from the left baseline against the press, and Eli Mullock got a steal to make it 39-29. Barnes converted a 3-point play, but then Mullock pushed it right back down the floor against the press and made a basket to make it 42-31. Once the Tigers finally started breaking the press and scoring against it, that seemed to shake the Hornets' self-confidence as they live and die by the press. Todd Harding followed with a 3-pointer and Zach Harmening scored from inside to make it 42-36. But following a CFX turnover, the Tigers hesitated too long before throwing it in during an out of bounds situation and Beck got a steal and a wide open layup; two free throws each by Beck and Showalter made it 48-36 with 1:10 left. Dylan Kinsella got a putback with 36 seconds left and Garrett Hawk got another one with 21 seconds left to make it 48-40, but Nathan Hinrichs hit a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left to make it 50-40. Todd Harding's free throws with 8 seconds left rounded out the scoring.

"I was proud of how we came back in the second half," said Coach Chris Healy. "It took us a while to adjust, but we finally broke their pressure and got some layups. If we can compete with them, we can compete with a lot of teams this year."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Storm Warning for Worth County

This area in a Winter Storm Warning—life threatening conditions—a major storm!!!!!!!!!!!!
They do expect 10’-15’ drifts for us!!! Needless to say—roads will be closed.

We will see heavier snow this afternoon and they are still expecting a total of 13”+. This means another 6-8” in addition to what we have now. They do expect it to quit after midnight.

However, the wind will blow at a sustained 25-30mph with gusts up to 35mph.
The heaviest wind will be from 2am thru 9am Wednesday morning and may let up some on Thursday, however the temperatures will still be brutal on Thursday. Wednesday night, they are calling for wind chill temperatures at 15 degrees below zero. They expect I-35 to close, east of there is a possibility of freezing rain. Des Moines will have blizzard conditions, there is a possibility of that warning for us. Omaha is now in the same snow area.

If we lose electricity for a prolonged time (thinking 12 hrs. or more & if the linemen can give me an idea as to how long the power will be off) and if anyone can get to a shelter, we will open one at the school. For handicapped people, the WCCC will be taking people. The Sheriff’s office will be taking calls for anyone who needs help.

Think we all need to use common sense and stay at home if at all possible. There is no need to make a bad situation worse for responders to come help anyone who has trouble.
--Pat Kobbe, Worth County Emergency Management Director

Monday, December 7, 2009

Triple Towers Dominate Paint; NEN Boys Win Opener

Northeast Nodaway's boys dominated the paint and won their season opener over Union Star 70-42 last Tuesday in the Platte Valley Conference opener for both teams. According to Coach Charley Burch, the Trojans came out with one of the best teams they had in recent years. However, Northeast used a strong first quarter and a late third quarter run to pull away from the pesky Trojan squad and win. Burch followed the lead of the girls and used a deep bench to finally wear the Trojans down in the latter stages of the game.

Tyler Davis, after only getting four points in the first two and a half quarters, finally got open and scored 19 points in the last 1 1/2 quarters of the game. James Burns played some of his best ball ever as he was pressuring Trojans into turnovers, getting rebounds, blocking shots, making the extra pass, and getting open. "He's been doing everything we've asked him to," said Coach Charley Burch. Bryce Farnan battled foul trouble for most of the game, but was still effective when he was on the court.

Burns opened the scoring with a putback with 7:13 left; Bobby Welch followed with a backdoor layup and Bryce Farnan scored from inside with 4:24 left to put Northeast up 6-0. Union Star was packing things in for most of the game and tried to force Northeast to shoot from outside to beat them. Dylan Klawuhn picked up a carom and scored Union Star's first points, but then Chad Messner hit from outside, Tyler Davis hit a pair of free throws, Messner scored off a fast break, and Colby Wiederholt hit a free throw to make it 14-2.

Klawuhn scored off a steal with 22 seconds left in the first to make it 14-6 and then scored a pair of free throws early in the second to make it 16-8. But then Burns got loose inside as Bryce Farnan got him the ball and then Tyler Davis got an offensive rebound and kicked out to Bobby Welch for a 3-pointer to make it 21-8 with 4:43 left. Davis got open for a drive, Josh Wideman got a free throw, and then Colby Wiederholt hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 27-11 with 3:12 left in the half. But Northeast succumbed to hacking and fouling the rest of the half as Union Star sought to make a game out of it. Free throws by Klawuhn and Nick Palmer and two wide open layups fueled a mild rally that brought Union Star to within 31-19. Northeast hit a pair of free throws, but then Palmer threw up a prayer from just behind half court that went in to make it 33-22 at the break.

The first four minutes of the second half were a slopfest as both teams made a ton of mistakes during the frame. But an Albert Moran 3-pointer that brought Union Star under double digits seemed to wake up Northeast as Tyler Davis finally got loose and the 3-pointers started to fall. Davis connected from inside, Chad Messner nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and then James Burns twice fed Davis on the weak side for easy baskets as the Trojans collapsed on Burns and left Davis all alone. Bobby Welch hit a 3-pointer and then Tyler Davis hit a free throw with 9 seconds left to make it 49-27 and put Northeast back in control. "We didn't do anything special," said Coach Burch about the run. "We just kept doing what we were doing and good things started to happen." Chad Messner's 3-pointer to open the fourth capped the 16-0 run that left Northeast in front 52-27.

Union Star could not mount a comeback bid in the fourth quarter as Tyler Davis was on fire, knocking down six straight points for Northeast, who was running their high-low offense to perfection. Bryce Farnan added an inside bucked off a high-low pass from James Burns that made it 60-33 with 4:51 left. Moran's off-balance shot went in to cut it back down to 62-39, but Tyler Davis answered with an inside shot and a putback and Colby Wiederholt gave Northeast its largest lead of the night at 68-39 with a steal. Kevin Stoll came off the bench to grab a putback in the closing seconds for Northeast.

Bluejay Girls Force 36 Turnovers, Down Union Star

Northeast Nodaway girls played a swarming defense which created 36 Union Star turnovers as they won their opening matchup 76-21 last Tuesday. The Bluejays were a totally different team with Hallie Oelze back at full strength from ACL surgery as the team went from a solid team able to score 50 points a night to a team able to create turnovers, run up and down the floor, and go 11 deep if needed. The scary thing about it was that Oelze did not even start against the Trojans. Jacqueline Schulte led the scoring for Northeast, scoring 21 points in three quarters of work, matching the entire Trojan point total. Everything else was spread out, with eight different people scoring between 4 and 10 points for Northeast. Post player Blair Schmitz only had five points, but drew a tough assignment, that of guarding 5'11" Jerika Wilkerson. She succeeded in that role, holding her to four points in almost three quarters of work; most of Wilkerson's points came after Schmitz came out along with the rest of the starters late in the third and early in the fourth.

Jacqueline Schulte opened the scoring with a shot from the top of the key at the seven minute mark. From there, Northeast denied the ball all over the court and Union Star could not even get the ball inbounds. Michelle Schulte scored off an Emily Bryant steal; Jacqueline got a steal and layup after a tip from Blair Schmitz, and Kristin Sherry got another layup after Jacqueline got a steal and lobbed it to her for the easy layup. Emily Bryant leaped high in the air and got a big rejection during the run.

Hillary Todd connected from the left wing to stop the 8-0 run, but Coach Ryan Davis began putting in some fresh legs to start another. Rachel Runde connected from the left baseline, Jacqueline Schulte hit a free throw after Emily Bryant knocked a ball loose and was able to deflect it to her, Schulte scored again after a Hallie Oelze steal, and Oelze picked up another steal and drive to make it 15-2 with 3:25 left. Michelle Schulte hit from the baseline and then scored off a steal, Jacqueline Schulte hit a driving layup as she flipped it in over three defenders, and Northeast used perfect timing to end the frame as Rachel Runde threw a high-low pass to Jessica Redden for a layup at the buzzer to make it 23-6.

Hallie Oelze opened the scoring in the second quarter with a steal and drive with 6:01 left to open the scoring for Northeast. Wilkerson got loose for one of the few times on the evening for Union Star, but then Oelze dropped a three-pointer from the right wing. Jacqueline Schulte cut backdoor for a layup and Blair Schmitz hit a free throw to make it 31-10 with 2:51 left. Hannah Todd scored from the top of the key with 1:56 left, but Jacqueline Schulte hit two free throws, Emily Bryant scored from the left wing, and Taylor Dougan got a steal and drive to make it 37-10 at the break.

Northeast's most productive quarter was the third. Blair Schmitz, who had been missing almost everything up to that point, finally got untracked as she scored a layup off an Emily Bryant steal. Jacqueline Schulte scored from the left wing, Emily Bryant scored off a steal, Schulte connected from the left wing, and then Jacqueline Schulte and Kristin Sherry made the highlight play of the night. Sherry got behind the Trojan defense in transition and then Jacqueline Schulte, on the dribble, led her perfectly with a long bounce pass that threaded the needle past two defenders to the wide-open Sherry, who got the easy layup.

Even when Hannah McGinnis hit a pair of free throws to stop the ten-point Northeast run, that didn't help matters; Northeast pushed the ball right back down the floor after the made free throws and Kristin Sherry got open in transition for a shot from the top of the key to start another run. Jacqueline Schulte followed with a pair of free throws, Michelle Schulte scored a transition three after Kristan Judd swung the ball over to her, and Jacqueline Schulte scored off a steal to make it 56-12. The Union Star coach burned the last of his timeouts, but that did not help matters. Jessica Redden tipped an errant pass and Blair Schmitz collected the steal and layup, Emily Bryant got consecutive steals, and Taylor Dougan hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to cap the 18-0 run, leaving Northeast up 65-12.

Wilkerson finally started getting loose at the end of the third quarter, scoring off a pair of lob passes, hitting a pair of free throws, and picking up an errant carom for a layup as part of an 8-3 Trojan run that made it 68-20. But Northeast made an adjustment as Rachel Runde began helping out perfectly on Wilkerson in the post and Northeast closed out on an 8-1 run. Runde cut through on a backdoor layup, Emily Bryant scored from the right wing after Runde got a steal, Jessica Redden cleaned up after a missed shot in transition, and Runde drove the middle of the paint and did a perfect jump stop from 15 feet out to account for the points.

Tiger Boys Defuse Explosive NN Squad, Claim Consolation

Worth County's boys won 52-40 over an explosive North Nodaway squad as they claimed the consolation prize of the Albany Tournament. The Tigers were able to contain one of the quickest guards in the area in Jason DeMott and were able to use their new-found size to get the better of the matchup between the two teams. The question for the game was whether or not Worth County could keep up with a five-guard lineup from North Nodaway which created all sorts of matchup problems for Princeton, which lost to the explosive Mustang squad by 20 points. The answer for this game was, yes -- they could. And they did despite being set back by a whole host of questionable calls by the officials.

Zach Harmening, who had gotten eight steals against Polo, was the victim of referees' whistles as they called him for a blocking foul even though he was perfectly set to take a charge. They then sent him to the bench with two fouls four minutes into the game with a ticky-tack foul when he had all ball on a rebounding situation. Despite this, the Tigers built a 6-0 lead as Alex Harmening got behind the Mustang defense, Cole Buffington got loose underneath, and Eli Mullock got a putback.

North Nodaway was playing a 2-3 zone and daring Worth County to take the quick 3-pointer so that they could run the other way with it after getting the long rebound. The Mustangs would throw up a lot of quick three-pointers themselves as all five of their starting guards and Jesse Birkenholtz off the bench were gunslinging and then crashing the boards hard. Consequently, as Coach Chris Healy told his players, the Mustangs were getting a lot of second-chance points that kept them in the game. Worth County countered with a 1-3 zone with one player guarding DeMott man to man. The tactic worked despite plenty of interference from the officials, who would call ticky-tack fouls if Tiger players barely touched DeMott. On the other hand, Alex Harmening was scratched just below the eye and drew a cut which forced him to the bench, and no foul was called.

Dylan Kinsella opened the second quarter by picking up the first four of his 14 points by grabbing a pair of putbacks to put the Tigers up 12-8. But the sloppy play returned for the Tigers, who were not swinging the ball around, but who were caught up in North Nodaway's game plan of gunslinging shots. And the second chance points continued to mount for North Nodaway as Jesse Birkenholz grabbed an offensive carom and hit two free throws to make it 13-12. That prompted a time-out from Coach Healy, who told his players that they needed to pick things up. They responded and got much better ball movement as they were able to take control of the game. Zach Harmening jumped a pass for a steal to jumpstart the Tiger run; Dylan Kinsella had a pair of inside shots over the smaller Mustang players, and Jordan Harding got a putback as Worth County went back ahead 20-13.

Todd Harding continued the run with a steal and then Dylan Kinsella scored his tenth point of the quarter with an inside shot to make it 24-13. Aided by the officials, who failed to call an obvious backcourt violation on the Mustangs on the play, Trey Adamson got a putback for North Nodaway to stop the run. But Worth County led 27-17 at the break.

Aaron Wallace opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer for North Nodaway to make it 27-20, but J.J. Mullock scored from inside and then followed with a fast break. Alex Harmening jumped a pass and converted a 3-point play and then picked up an errant carom on the next play, Zach Harmening jumped into a Mustang defender to draw a foul and hit both free throws to put the Tigers up 38-20; they had scored 11 points in just under two minutes during their run. The teams then traded buckets during the rest of the period until Cole Buffington scored from inside with 14 seconds left to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the night at 44-24.

Worth County and North Nodaway traded buckets for the rest of the evening before the Mustangs made a meaningless 7-0 run in the last two minutes to make the score closer. Cole Buffington took advantage of a much smaller defender for a bucket in the period; Todd Harding and Zach Harmening added a pair of free throws each, while Eli Mullock scored off a backdoor layup to account for the scoring for Worth County in the period.

Highest Point Total in Last Two Years for Tiger Boys

The question for Worth County's boys after an opening-round 48-35 loss to Stanberry was where their scoring would come from this year. They had lost Kyler Hiatt and Jonny Hughes to graduation and were not close to finding the answer before Wednesday night. They seemed to have balanced scoring, but not enough of it against the 3rd-seeded Bulldogs. But they seem to have come up with an answer -- get balanced scoring and get a little more of it, along with a stingy defense as they beat Polo 65-41 in the elimination round of the Albany Tournament. The Tigers put up some eye-popping numbers on defense, as Zach Harmening came within one of the school record with 8 steals (several different players hold the record with 9), and Wyatt McClain came off the bench to perch himself atop the new athletic website's charge chart by taking three charges for the night.

Worth County was plagued by foul problems all night, but more than made up for it with their deep bench as Coach Chris Healy used all of his varsity players against Polo. Consequently, despite the high point total, only two players reached double figures -- Zach Harmening with 12 points and Todd Harding with 11.

Alex Harmening hit a floater in the lane with 6:33 left to put Worth County up 3-0 in the first quarter. After Justin Hazleman hit from the left wing to make it 3-2, Zach Harmening converted a 3rd-chance bucket, Dylan Kinsella got a putback, and Jordan Harding scored off a Bryce Ross steal to make it 9-2. Both teams put on a press, but Worth County's was much more effective as they were able to get steals and drives all night long.

Josh Junco began slashing to the basket effectively and Polo rallied to cut Worth County's lead to 11-9 with 1:15 left. But after Cole Buffington scored from inside, Wyatt McClain came off the bench to take the first of his three charges and Buffington ran the floor and got behind the Panther defense as J.J. Mullock got him the pass with 6 seconds left to make it 15-9. Duncan Parker's shot from the right side at the buzzer made it 15-11.

Polo kept it close through much of the second quarter as Worth County began struggling on offense as they were a little out of control and they were hacking and fouling too much on defense, leaving Polo in the double bonus. But all of a sudden, Garrett Hawk got open from the right baseline for a 3-pointer to spark a rally late in the half; Polo then overextended on their press, leaving Todd Harding open for another three-pointer. After Wyatt McClain took his second charge of the night, Zach Harmening scored off a putback with 33 seconds left to make it 32-19. Garrett Hawk connected from the baseline with 7:42 left in the third to continue the Tiger rally and then Zach Harmening got a steal and drive to give Worth County its biggest lead of the night so far at 37-19.

Polo scored the next five points as the hacking and fouling returned, but Dylan Kinsella got behind the Polo defense for a layup following a pass from Jordan Harding, Todd Harding made the first of two free throws and J.J. Mullock put back the second after it went astray, and then Bryce Ross scored from inside to make it 44-24 with 1:31 left. Toby Poje hit a pair of free throws for Polo, but Todd Harding got a steal and put a fake on a defender for a layup and then Wyatt McClain took his third charge of the night to set up Worth County's final bucket of the night with 12 seconds left. The ball was knocked out of bounds with 0.7 seconds left and Coach Chris Healy called timeout to set up a final play. Eli Mullock, who had not scored all night, grabbed an alley oop pass from half court and put it in to beat the buzzer and put Worth County up 48-26. The Polo coach protested that Mullock had traveled, to no avail. J.J. Mullock got a fast break feed from Alex Harmening to start the fourth quarter to put the Tigers up 50-26.

Polo made a mild rally to make it 50-31, but J.J. Mullock got behind the Polo defense to start another Worth County run. Zach Harmening followed with a steal, Todd Harding got a layup off another Harmening steal, and Garrett Hawk posted up inside to make it 58-31 with 4:31 and put the game out of reach. Polo scored the next seven points to make it 58-38 with 3:23 left, but Dylan Kinsella scored from inside with 2:19 left, J.J. Mullock got alone for a backdoor layup off a drive by Todd Harding, and Harding connected for a 3-pointer to account for the final score.

Null One of Few Bright Spots vs. Albany

Lauren Null was one of the few bright spots for Worth County against Albany last Wednesday night as she posted a career-high 10 points in a losing effort against the Warriors. The Tigers lost 40-23 in the second round of the Albany tournament as they were eliminated for the second year in a row. Depending on how you look at it, the Tigers either took a step forward or a step back. Last year, Worth County fought North Nodaway to the bitter end before being ousted; however, they gave up the first 11 points in the game against Albany and never made it closer than seven the rest of the way. On the other hand, Worth County lost by nearly 30 to the Warriors last year; the fact that they played them to within 17 suggests that they made some strides despite the loss.

Worth County dropped an embarrassing 72-8 decision to Jefferson to open the tournament; "We couldn't handle Jefferson's half-court pressure," said Coach April Healy. It seems that everyone is having trouble handing Jefferson's stifiling defense -- Stanberry, one of the teams to beat this year, only managed to run their half-court offense once against the Eagles in the last 12 minutes in losing to Jefferson in the championship round by 11.

The Albany game started out as a slopfest -- both teams were having trouble solving the other's defensive scheme. But Worth County had much the worse problems as they seemingly forgot that they were no longer playing Jefferson. Consequently, they were dribbling without a purpose and not squaring up before shooting. Consequently, they did not score their first points of the game until the 54 second mark of the first period, when Ashley Reynolds posted up a defender and drew a foul to make it 11-2. Free throws by Lauren Null after a good take to the basket with 4:10 left in the second made it 13-6 and Worth County countered Erin Teel's inside shot with a fast break from Kiley Reynolds as Ashley's little sister caught the Warriors napping and took it in for a score with 2:13 left to make it 15-8. "Brooke Gilland and Kiley Reynolds played hard on defense," said Coach Healy. "Kiley really gave us some quality minutes off the bench."

Trailing 17-8 at the break, Worth County started moving the ball better on offense, getting some good ball reversals. But the shots were not falling and the nature of the game is when one thing gets corrected, another problem rears its head. The Tigers left Megan Poppa all alone on defense from 8-12 feet out in the third quarter and she connected on three straight baskets to push Albany's lead to 25-10. Brooke Gilland, who rebounded well in the quarter, grabbed a putback to make it 25-12, but then Albany responded by scoring the last six points to make it 31-12. Worth County tried unsuccessfully to put on a press to try to get the ball back and Albany grabbed their biggest lead of the game at 35-12 at the 6:37 mark of the fourth quarter.

It was then that Lauren Null got going to notch a career high for her. She scored off a backdoor layup, a shot from the right side, and a drive to the basket as the Tigers finally started running their plays and the shots started falling for them. Null then got into double digits with 50 seconds left with a putback to account for the final score as the Tigers had their most productive offensive output of the year so far and gave themselves something to build on in winnable games against North Nodaway and West Nodaway this week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Petition to Repeal Nonpartisan Court Plan gets Cool Local Reception

An initiative petition circulating around the state that would repeal the current Nonpartisan Court Plan has met with a cool local reception. The petition would place a measure on the ballot that, if approved, would replace the current nonpartisan system for selecting judges with a partisan system in which judges would be elected by party similar to other statewide officeholders. Judges of the Supreme Court and the district Courts of Appeals would serve eight years instead of the current 12.

The measure would also change the way in which judges are appointed. Currently, the statewide Nonpartisan Judicial Commission submits three nominees to the governor, who will choose one of the three. Should the governor fail to do so within sixty days, the commission would appoint one of the nominees to serve on the bench. The ballot initiative would have the governor appoint judicial nominees to fill vacancies with the advise and consent of the Senate. Confirmed nominees would fill positions until December 31st following the next general election after the expiration of twelve months in the office. Governors would be able to make recess appointments, but these appointments would terminate if the advise and consent of the Senate is not given within thirty days after the senate has convened in regular or special session.

Beginning after November 2, 2010, judges of the supreme court whose terms expire shall be replaced by individuals elected by the voters eligible to vote within the state. Each such duly elected individual shall be entitled to serve for the term prescribed. Nothing shall prevent judges of the supreme court who were appointed under a previous method of judicial selection or appointed to fill a vacancy from seeking election to the supreme court. Currently, judges are appointed and then retained by a yes or no vote of the people.

The petition relaxes the restrictions on political activities by judges. Under the initiative, a judge or judicial candidate may announce his or her views on disputed legal or political issues provided that the judge or judicial candidate does not make pledges or promises to render specific rulings or decisions on pending litigation. Judicial candidates and judges who are judicial candidates shall be allowed to solicit, receive and make campaign contributions, and make and receive the benefit of campaign expenditures, as may be provided by law.

The petition is being pushed by a group called "Better Courts for Missouri." On the front page of their website, they describe themselves as "...a coalition of Missourians from all walks of life, dedicated to fixing the method by which Missouri judges are selected. The judges on our highest courts make decisions that profoundly affect every Missourian. Everything from jobs and wages to health care and family values are affected by the powerful judges on those courts. That is why we are dedicated to ensuring that openness, accountability, independence, and excellence are represented in the Missouri Court Plan for selecting judges." They charge that "our highest courts have been under the influence of legal industry special interest groups for years," accusing "these groups" of "wanting nothing more than to take down our tort reform laws." Better Courts for Missouri accuses personal injury attorneys of encouraging courts to "strike down laws for their own financial benefit."

But the petition has met with a cool local reception. County Clerk Lisa Hargrave said that if judicial elections were to become partisan elections, it would lead to greatly increased costs for her office to count ballots, print paper, and advertise the election. "The system is not broken now, so why fix it," she asked. Commissioner Dennis Gabbert said that it would not improve the judicial system and that it would simply bring the level of judges down to political parties and popularity contests. Presiding Commissioner Kevin Austin noted that the State of Missouri just ended the political patronage system that had been used to select Department of Revenue offices for many years and that it wouldn't make sense to go to a partisan system. "We'll all pay more," added Commissioner Rob Ruckman.

Jerry Drake, who would be affected by the judges that he would argue before as a lawyer, said that he was not a fan of the current system, but that he was not convinced that the petition was any answer. The problem he saw with the current selection process was what he called the substitution of the power of a few for the electorate. Having dealt with elected judges on the local level, Drake said that "the judges you elect are no less motivated than that ones that you appoint." But he said that didn't mean that he was going to sign the petition. He said that his main concern was what he called the secrecy behind who was funding the petition. He added that he was concerned that the judiciary would become a tool of special interests who would simply taylor the courts to suit their agendas like they did the legislature. A former legislator, Drake said that the legislature was dominated by special interests and that he didn't want to see the judiciary go the same way.

State Senator Brad Lager, in e-mailed comments to the Sheridan Express, said that he thought the state didn't need to eliminate the court plan, but that some changes were needed that he said would make the court system actually non-partisan. First of all, Lager said that he wanted more common people on the commission than lawyers. He said that as things stood right now, the lawyers on the commission or their firms would end up practicing in front of the judges whom they help pick. He compared it to allowing the CEO's of all the energy companies to pick members of the Public Service Commission. "It is bad public policy and simply not good government," he said.

Other ideas for reform Lager said were needed included increasing the number of people on the panel sent to the Governor. He said that the Governor should be given power to reject a panel of nominees he didn't like, meaning that the commission would have to put forward a new slate. He also said that there needed to be more transparency in the process. "There is no reason that only select lawyers are allowed to know the nominees and learn about them in private closed-door sessions," said Lager in his comments.

Lager said that the state should open up the entire process, saying that all documents, lists, and interviews should be open to the press and public. And instead of letting the Missouri Bar Association pick the members of the Commission, Lager said that everyone nominated to the commission should stand for Senate confirmation, like other boards and commissions appointed by the governor.

NEN Junior High Girls Gain Revenge at Tourney

Northeast Nodaway's Junior High Girls gained revenge against Worth County in the opening round of their own tournament as they took a big early lead against Worth County and then held them off in the closing seconds to win 19-18 Tuesday. While the players swore that they were not out for revenge, everyone's actions suggested otherwise -- for instance, student assistant Blair Schmitz wore a black and gold jacket in a bit of reverse psychology. Northeast, which had been struggling to score all year, completely fluxommed the Tigers in the first 2 1/2 minutes, getting nine points in that time span to go up 9-0. Most of them were off steals off their press as the players were showing the kind of physical play that Coach Ryan Davis said they needed to have after Northeast's loss to Worth County earlier this year.

Sidney Thummel finally broke the ice for Worth County, getting a shot from the right baseline off a Liz Novak drive. Worth County started playing more effectively after Breanna Fletchall came in and started hounding Northeast on defense and doing a good job helping out. But they could not get any closer as Taryn Farnan came out of nowhere to reject a Tiger layup after Worth County had gotten a steal off their press. Holly Redden scored off a fast break after going to the basket to put Northeast up 11-2 after one quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Northeast got the ball on a turnover, only to throw an errant pass out of bounds downcourt. "That's like a punt," quipped Coach Davis over the play. Katie Mullock scored from the right wing for Worth County with 4:36 left, but Northeast pushed it right back down the floor and got it into Taryn Farnan to make it 13-4. The Bluejays swarmed the Tigers on defense, getting them out of their offense and Claudia Wiederholt stole a ball and get a layup to give Northeast its largest lead of the night at 15-4.

But then Worth County settled down and started moving the ball sharper on offense as Breanna Fletchall continued her sharp play on defense and Kristen Andrews started playing strong on-the-ball defense, grabbing and tearing at loose balls. Liz Novak got loose on a fast break and got the ball to Katie Mullock for a baseline jumper, Kristen Andrews got a shot from the wing off a Katelyn Davidson kickout, and Kristen Andrews went coast to coast with 4 seconds left after Northeast had missed two close shots to make it 15-10. That was a four-point swing and there was a big difference between being down 17-8 and 15-10.

Katie Mullock connected from inside right off the bat, but then the Bluejays stiffened. They only managed a pair of free throws from Taryn Farnan, but were able to keep the ball on their end of the court for most of the period as Worth County could not buy a defensive board. On the other hand, they were able to bother Northeast with a 1-3-1 press that they put in at the start of the fourth quarter. The score was stuck at 17-12 from midway through the third quarter through midway through the fourth quarter before Kaitlyn Davidson cleaned up on a miss, making it 17-14 with 3:38 left.

Davidson's bucket triggered off a frantic finish in which Worth County could not quite make up the deficit. Northeast struggled at the line down the stretch as both Shayna Dougan and Taryn Farnan saw attempts at the line go in and out. Finally, Kristin Andrews stripped a Northeast ballhander in the backcourt and the ball rolled out of bounds with 2:04 left to give them the ball. The Tigers missed three close shots -- all airballs, but Kaitlyn Davidson drew a foul on Taryn Farnan and one of her free throws banked off the glass and rolled in with 1:58 left to make it 17-15. Her second free throw missed, but took a crazy bounce off Farnan and out of bounds. But consecutive misses by Worth County gave the ball back to Northeast and then Jenny Seipel's first free throw with 1:43 left rolled all over the rim before dropping in to make it 18-15.

The frantic sequence continued as Jenny Seipel stole the ball on the press, Liz Novak stole the ball back for Worth County, but then Taryn Farnan got a steal for Northeast. Claudia Wiederholt missed twice, but then Liz Novak traveled with the ball after the rebound to give the ball right back to Northeast with 58 seconds left. Katie Mullock picked up her fifth foul with 54 seconds left and then Claudia Wiederholt hit a free throw to make it 19-15. Shayna Dougan then got a steal for Northeast, but Breanna Fletchall stole the ball right back and fed the ball to Liz Novak for a layup to make it 19-17. Kristen Andrews then stole the ensuing inbounds pass, but missed the layup. However, the ball went out of bounds off a blue shirt and Worth County had another shot with 30 seconds left.

The ball went out of bounds off of Kristen Andrews and Northeast had to bring it up against fullcourt pressure. Kristen Andrews knocked the ball loose, touching off a frantic scramble for the ball in which Claudia Wiederholt picked up her fifth foul, putting Liz Novak on the line. Novak made her first free throw to make it 19-18, but her second try was short with 12.1 seconds left. The rebound was a tie-up and the possession arrow pointed to Northeast. The Bluejays ran the clock all the way down to 5.8 seconds in the backcourt before Novak fouled Taryn Farnan. Farnan's free throws missed and Worth County got timeout called with 4.7 seconds left. The Tigers were able to work the ball to Novak on the right side; however, her shot under heavy pressure went astray to give Northeast the one-point win.

After hanging on for another one-point win, this time over South Nodaway, Northeast bowed out to St. Gregory's 25-8 for the championship trophy. Worth County avenged an earlier loss to Jefferson by beating them 22-18, but fell to Avenue City 22-12 for the consolation game.

Principals Report on Building Improvement Plans

Elementary Principal Nancy Lewis and Secondary Principal Dale Healy reported on their building improvement plans for the school at the regular Worth County Board of Education Meeting Thursday. Lewis reported on the professional development that the elementary teachers were doing. She said that sometimes, they would go to other schools and observe classes while sometimes, they met among themselves and exchanged ideas. "We have lots of knowledge in our building and our goal is to be able to share that knowledge," she said. Teachers wrote out measurable goals to meet the MAP Tests and will evaluate the students' progress in categories measured by the tests throughout the year. She said that way, the school will figure out who is learning and progressing through the system. Lewis said that the goal of teaching elementary has changed; before, the goal was to teach to the middle. However, she said that getting everyone to the exact same level did not make sense; therefore, the goal is to teach to everyone. She said that some students were ready for certain skills and concepts at different times.

Healy reported that his teachers met together by subject and were going to various workshops around the region. For instance, some went to workshops on the ACT while others went to a workshop which brought teachers and college professors together. Healy said that previously, teaching at the high school level focused on rote learning. However, he said that the job requirements over the years have changed, meaning that the schools must change the way they have students learn materials. For instance, Social Studies classes are more cross-curricular and collaborative. Healy reported that one time, he had Tim Wall do an in-service program on test-taking skills, which he said was very valuable to the teachers. Wall also worked with students on their test-taking skills as well. High School teachers do problems of the day which are similar to the questions on the MAP and the ACT. Once a month, teachers meet together to compare resources and get ideas. In answer to a question about communication between elementary and secondary teachers, Superintendent Matt Robinson said that they do vertical teaming every year and work on ensuring that the students meet their Grade Level Equivalencies for their grade level.

Robinson reported that teacher Chris Healy had written a program that he says makes it much easier for the custodial staff to do work orders. If a teacher notices work that must be done, they enter the work order into the program. Nancy Lewis and Dale Healy then approve the work orders and then the custodial staff does them. Robinson said that this step helps reduce the backlog of work orders around the school.

The board went to closed session to hire two substitute nurses.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grade Problems Drop NEN Junior High Boys Out of Tournament

Northeast Nodaway did not field a junior high boys team for their home tournament last week because four out of their eight players were declared ineligible for athletic competition due to grades. High School Principal Jeremy Covey said that the decision was made in accordance with policies contained in the Northeast Nodaway High School Handbook. He said that the school had been upfront with the students about the consequences. Covey explained that the students had been given one month to remove their "F" grades, which they had failed to do; he said that their remedial work had involved mandatory tudoring in the subjects that they were getting the low grades in. "They knew ahead of time what the consequences were going to be," he said. "It was not fair to the other four students who were getting good grades that they did this."

Covey said that Northeast's policies are higher than MSHSAA standards; he said that students were required to have passing grades (D or higher) in all their courses. "We hold our students to a higher standard than MSHSAA because we know that our students are capable of passing all their classes," he said.

The removal of Northeast Nodaway's Junior High boys from the tournament also affected Worth County; the Tigers were to have played the Bluejays in a rematch of the barnburner between the two teams earlier this month. Instead, Worth County had to play Maryville, whom they lost to by 30 points. The Tigers went on to win consolation by beating South Nodaway.

Pfost Gives Progress Report for Middlefork Water Company

Brock Pfost of Middlefork Water Company met with the Grant City Council last Wednesday and gave a progress report. Middlefork currently supplies Grant City's water. He said that he wanted to form a committee consisting of officials from Grant City and Stanberry who would meet with Middlefork personnel on a regular basis in a move that Pfost said would improve communication. Councilman Bruce Downing, Public Works Director Carl Staton, and Water Superintendent Greg Miller were appointed to the committee, which would meet quarterly. Grant City has joined the Northwest Missouri Wholesale Water Commission and Pfost said that he would be working with the Commission on doing interconnections between various entities; Middlefork is one of eight major water hubs that will be used by the Commission. Pfost reported that the 20-year bonds that set up the company were about to be paid off in 2011.

Public Works Director Carl Staton reported that the salt for the city has been delivered and that the equipment has been winterized. He said that the city has removed some abandoned gas lines and that they had gotten a new pickup.

Clerk Ayvonne Morin reported that the city had started collecting around $700 to $900 per month from the telephone tax that voters had authorized.

The council voted to set aside 2% of their budget for capital improvements for the pool. The money would not pay for operating expenses for the pool, but would be used as an emergency fund; members said that would prevent the city from being caught flat-footed down the road if the pool were to deteriorate again. The council voted to have Warner Brothers Electric do the underground wiring for the pool for a cost of around $550.

Councilwoman Linda Phipps suggested taking the old lights around the square and putting them on the Nature Trail, saying that it would be lit all the time; Staton said that it would deter vandalism. The current lights around the square are owned by the city and will be replaced under the Downtown Renovation Project funded by a federal appropriation through the Missouri Department of Transportation; the city will have to decide what to do with the old lights once they are taken down. The downside would be that it might possibly broaden the scope of the Nature Trail Project; Clerk Ayvonne Morin said that she would check into that.

The city reported that 129 of the income surveys out of the 284 that were sent out for the $1 million 11 mile water line project have been returned. The city must get a response rate of around 80% in order to be able to apply for a CDBG Grant for the project.

Monday, November 9, 2009

NEN Junior High Boys Blitz Tigers, Hold Off Late Rally

Northeast Nodaway's Junior High boys took a big early lead on Worth County Thursday and then held off a late rally to win 36-31. "These kids are going to play hard every night," said Bluejay Coach Charley Burch. "We just have to make better decisions down the stretch and have better shot selection." After the first half, Worth County went to a 1-3-1 zone which Coach Burch said bothered his players. "We waited too long to get going," said Tiger Coach Chris Healy. "But I was pleased with how we fought back and how we never gave up."

Brandon Auffert's three-pointer jump started a 10-0 run for Northeast that left them up 12-1 after one quarter of play. Garrett Jackson followed with a pair of free throws, Steve Schulte hit another free throw, and then Shaun Burns cleaned up after a steal and then had a nice crossover move to end the first quarter.

J.T. Welch came off the bench for Worth County to start the second quarter and kicked one out to Cole Parman for a baseline shot, but Garrett Jackson answered with a free throw and then Steve Schulte, seemingly channeling his two standout older sisters, went coast to coast on two consecutive plays against the press for two easy layups to make it 17-3. Welch connected from the wing, but Schulte once again beat the Tigers down the court and this time, drew a foul and hit the free throws. Austin Jones and Garrett Jackson followed with free throws to give Northeast its biggest lead of the game at 21-5. Travis Troutwine, channeling his aunt Tiffany, banked a 3-pointer from the left wing with 28 seconds left in an omen of things to come in the second half; Schulte responded with a coast to coast layup to leave Northeast up 23-8 at the break.

Cole Parman started off the scoring for Worth County with a fast break and a shot from the right wing and then followed it with a 3-pointer from the wing to make it 23-13. That seemed to take the lid off the basket for the Tigers. Shaun Burns grabbed an inbounds pass and drove right past a defender for Northeast to make it 25-13. Wyatt Rush then got a putback for Worth County. Brandon Auffert hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 3:38 left, but Rush scored from inside again to make it 28-17. Shaun Burns drove the lane and hit a floater and then Joel Scroggie drove from the wing and threw up a prayer that went in to make it 32-17, but Aaron Green drove the left baseline with time running out in the third to make it 32-19.

Green hit a free throw to start the fourth quarter and then Andrew Mullock scored after a steal from Travis Troutwine to make it 32-22. Steve Schulte scored after a steal, but then Aaron Green cleaned up after a steal and then Shaun Burns picked up his fifth foul, which seemed to open the floodgates for Worth County. It was still 34-24 with 2:56 left, but then Cole Parman scored from the right side and then Travis Troutwine hit a 3-pointer from the right wing and it looked like he might break Northeast's hearts for the second year in a row; his free throws last year at Ravenwood completely cold off the bench had put that game out of reach for Worth County as they handed Northeast their first loss of the year in junior high.

Troutwine's three-pointer left it 34-29 with 1:45 left, but Worth County missed two chances to make it a one-possession game. Finally, they put Steve Schulte on the line as they were forced to foul to try to get the ball back; Schulte missed both free throws, but then got his own board. Northeast worked the ball to Brandon Auffert; showing no conscience whatsoever, he let fly a high floater from the left baseline, throwing Coach Charley Burch into convulsions. But the shot dropped through and proved to be the dagger as Worth County could only manage a steal and layup from Aaron Green in the closing seconds.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Second Time No Fade Job for Junior High Tigers

Tuesday night, the Worth County Junior High girls had a shocking collapse against King City -- after entering the fourth quarter with a 30-16 lead, King City hung 21 points on Worth County and came back to win 37-31. Given a similar situation against Northeast Nodaway, the Tigers learned their lesson as they protected a similar lead against the Bluejays and won 22-11 Thursday night.

Coach Suzie Smith said that the difference between the two games was that her squad had played calmer the second time around. "We were more in control the second time, and we didn't panic when they put pressure on us." The first eight minutes of the game started off as an all-out war between the two squads as both sides were putting strong pressure on the ball and not giving up any easy looks at the baskets. The only points in the first quarter were a driving layup from Claudia Wiederholt and a drive from Kristen Andrews when she picked up a carom and went in for a layup. There was a lot of rough play on both sides as Stormy Sherer had a hard foul on Wiederholt that left her shook up and Wiederholt picked up three fouls in the first half and saw extended time on the bench after the second quarter. "We played hard, but we didn't play well enough," said Northeast coach Ryan Davis. "Worth County was the most physical team we have seen all year. We have to learn to be just as physical in order to win these kinds of games."

In the second quarter, Worth County slowly began to take control. Liz Novak knocked down a shot from the left side to make it 4-2. Taryn Farnan hit a free throw, but then Novak connected from the right side with 4:15 left, prompting Coach Davis to start keying on her. That opened everyone else as Kristen Andrews connected from the right side after a Claire Andrews kickout and then she drew Wiederholt's third foul on a strong move inside and hit one out of two to make it 9-3 at the break.

Novak got her sixth point from the baseline to start the second half. Shayna Dougan answered with a shot from the right wing with 5:07 left, but then Novak connected from the right side again with 4:38 left to make it 13-5. In the period, the Tigers were switching perfectly when denying the inbounds pass on the press, forcing Coach Ryan Davis to burn two timeouts to avoid five-seconds calls as Northeast was having trouble getting the ball in all night. Claire Andrews then hit from the right side to make it 15-5 with 2:25 left. Novak then picked up her fourth foul and Taryn Farnan scored from inside as Northeast had a glimmer of hope. But then Claire Andrews had a drive right down the lane to open the scoring in the fourth for Worth County. Holly Redden scored on a fast break with 4:09 left, but Katie Mullock hit a free throw with 3:18 left and then Claire Andrews provided the dagger following a turnover with a shot from the right wing. With Northeast trapping, trying to get the ball back, Kristen Andrews drove out of it for a layup down the middle to make it 22-9. Kristen Wiederholt scored a meaningless bucket in the closing seconds for Northeast to account for the final score.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Schoonover, Rosier, Panthers Maul Tigers in Playoffs

Worth County lost 52-0 to Mound City in the first round of the playoffs as their lack of experience showed; the Tigers only had four seniors for this year compared to 11 for Stanberry and 7 for Mound City. Worth County had beaten the Panthers earlier this year, but in the meantime, the experienced Panther squad had taken more strides in improvement than Worth County had. The Tigers continued to be the confused, shell-shocked bunch that fell behind early against Stanberry and couldn't claw back as the missed blocks, poor tackling, and confusion about assignments from the last game combined to bite them in the playoffs. Winning a playoff game is different from winning a regular season game; it requires one to take one's game to a whole different level. The experienced Panther squad succeeded in doing so while the Tigers could not.

The loss was significant in some other ways. The Tigers were shut out in a game for the first time since 2002, when the Mound City Panthers shut out the Tigers 42-0. That loss also ended Worth County's school-record 28-game winning streak. Worth County also dropped consecutive games for the first time since the end of the 2004 season, when consecutive losses to North Nodaway and Stanberry dropped the Tigers out of the playoffs that year. Worth County's troubles were not limited to the Panthers as one of the referees, obviously on a power trip, tried to tag Worth County for a sideline warning because someone on the St. Francis medical staff stood halfway over the dotted line on their side of the field even though she was wearing a coat that clearly identified her as a volunteer trainer for St. Francis and not one of Worth County's coaching staff.

After the Tigers forced Mound City to punt on their opening series, what looked like a possible defensive struggle turned into a disaster when James Schoonover, in the first of many defensive plays Friday night that would hurt the Tigers, shot through unblocked to block a Tiger punt and give Mound City a short field to work with as they started on the Tiger 23. One bad play doesn't win or lose games. But the scene repeated itself throughout the night -- the Tigers actually moved the ball against Mound City at times. But then, they would forget to account for Schoonover, who would shoot into the Tiger backfield to disrupt plays. The Panthers were in the end zone in five plays after the first miscue as Gage Rosier scored from 11 yards out with 5:59 left. Lucas Schawang ran in the extra points to make it 8-0.

It was Rosier (21 carries, 257 yards) who was the second half of the wrecking crew for Mound City -- in a scene that repeated itself from the Stanberry game, the Tigers would hold the Panthers at times. But then, there would be breakdowns on defense and someone would try to grab at Rosier instead of wrapping him up, with predictable results -- Rosier going off to the races and leaving everyone behind.

Worth County could only get seven yards on three plays on their next series after Barrett Baker had returned the ball to the 30 to get them decent field position. They elected to go for it on fourth and three, but a short pass was incomplete and the Panthers took over on the Tiger 37 on downs. This was nothing to worry about -- yet. The Tigers forced two turnovers deep in their own territory in the playoff game two years ago; on both occasions, the Panthers had threatened to make it a two-possession game. But this time, Mound City only needed three plays to make it a two-possession game. Gage Rosier took a sweep, made a cutback, and nobody was home to stop him and he was off for a 32-yard score with 3:08 left in the first quarter. James Schoonover caught the extra point pass and it was 16-0.

It was Schoonover again on defense on the next series as he dumped Barrett Baker for a four-yard loss and then sacked Zach Harmening for an 11-yard loss as the Tigers did not have an answer for him and were forced to punt. This time, Mound City only needed one play to score as two defenders fell down on the play and Rosier shot right up the middle for a 54-yard score with 1:28 left. He caught the extra point pass to make it 24-0.

Worth County finally mounted a drive against Mound City only to be denied. They got into the red zone four times, but failed to score as their rez zone struggles continued. After J.J. Mullock caught a squib kick at the 30, Zach Harmening converted a fourth and inches with a sneak to the Mound City 37. Two plays later, Eli Mullock finally found some daylight as he got open for 24 yards down to the Mound City 10. A facemask penalty then moved the ball down to the six, but then Harmening got thrown for a loss of two on an option play and then Worth County threw two incomplete passes to give up the ball on downs.

Mound City could do nothing with the ball as a block in the back penalty and a big loss in which Schawang slipped and fell while going back to pass moved it all the way back to the one. The Panthers elected to quick kick rather than risk a safety or a turnover and Worth County took over at midfield. Two rushing plays could only net four yards and a pass was incomplete, but on fourth and six, Alex Harmening caught a 35-yard pass down to the Panther one before he was wrestled down. But then someone forgot what the count was and a false start moved it back to the six; a fumbled handoff then gave the ball right back to the Panthers. On their first play from scrimmage, Rosier went on a sweep and was off to the races again for a 70-yard score thanks to some poor tackling and Prent Eaton caught the extra point pass with 7:53 left to make it 32-0.

Worth County got into the red zone for the third consecutive play thanks to some trickery as Alex Harmening aired it out to Zach for 36 yards down to the 25. A holding penalty moved it back to the 37, but then Eli Mullock caught a swing pass for 9 and then Mullock caught a screen pass to the 17. Alex Harmening caught a short pass to the 14, but then once again, nobody blocked James Schoonover, who shot into the backfield and forced a fumble that Kyler VanSchoiak returned all the way to the Tiger 38. A block in the back penalty on Mound City moved it back to the 27, but the damage was done.

Ryan Crowley ran for a first down up to the 40, but two plays later, Eli Mullock outjumped a Mound City defender and intercepted a pass at the 14. But three plays later, Worth County fumbled the ball right back to the Panthers as Alex Harmening ran for a 12-yard reverse, only to fumble the ball at the end of the run at the Tiger 26. Mound City took full advantage of the miscue; three plays later, Lucas Schawang threw an 11-yard strike to Miles Jumps as nobody guarded him and he was all alone in the end zone to make it 38-0 with 2:15 left at the end of the half. Worth County could not move the ball thanks in part to Schoonover, who was in the backfield hurrying Zach Harmening before he was ready to throw; Eli Mullock broke up a long pass and nearly got his second interception and Mound City botched an option play and fumbled it as they were unable to score again before the half. Very appropriately, the Mound City band played Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York;" this is the song that the world champion New York Yankees play after every win.

Worth County got the ball at the start of the second half and they held out hopes of getting back in the game if they got some lucky breaks, but Schoonover was once again in the backfield; this time, he sacked Harmening for a loss of 15 back to the Tiger five, forcing them to punt. The kick only traveled 19 yards, giving Mound City a short field to work with. Worth County came out and played a little better on this series, but they could not overcome the short field. Rosier's first down run went for 13 yards to the 7, and then Crowley's crack for six yards got down to the one. Two cracks by the Panthers could not break the plane, but Schoonover caught a fourth and one pass with 8:16 left to make it 44-0 with 8:15 left.

Cody Green caught a pass for 14 yards to the 29 on Worth County's next series, but they stalled at the 32. With nothing left to lose, Worth County went for it on fourth and seven, but once again, nobody blocked Schoonover, who was in Zach Harmening's face as his pass went incomplete. Rosier got loose for 14 yards to the 16, but the Tigers stiffened for the next three plays, holding Mound City to seven yards in three plays. But this time, Schoonover burned the Tigers on defense as nobody guarded him on pass coverage and there was nobody within 10 yards of him as he caught a nine-yard pass to account for Mound City's final score of the evening.

After the two teams exchanged punts, the Tigers whiffed again in the red zone. Cody Green caught a 22-yard pass to the Panther 20 after a short kick by Mound City gave Worth County good field position. But once again, nobody blocked Schoonover, who dropped Barrett Baker for a two-yard loss. Eli Mullock found some daylight to the 17 on the next play, but then Zach Harmening's pass to an open Barrett Baker was too far and then he was picked off in the end zone on fourth down to end Worth County's final scoring threat of the evening.

Despite the loss, Coach Chuck Borey looked at the big picture, saying that this particular group of seniors had come a long ways since junior high, when they were 1-5 that year. "Thanks to all your hard work, we exceeded everyone's expectations," he told them after the game. The game was the last for Josh Wagner, J.J. Mullock, Zach Harmening, and Barrett Baker. He said that he would have been happy with a 7-3 or 8-2 record and that getting back into the playoffs was a pleasant surprise. Speaking of the game, he said that he was disappointed that they did not convert their chances in the red zone, saying that "it can't happen against a good team like Mound City." He said that the more experienced Panthers came and played like they had something to prove against Worth County. "Mentally, we didn't stay tough. They dominated the line of scrimmage and we could never get our running game going."