Tuesday, December 22, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.