Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bluejay Girls Take 3rd Over Winless Trojans

Northeast Nodaway's girls won their third game this year over the winless Nodaway-Holt Trojans as they disposed of them 78-31 in the opening round of district competition last Tuesday. For the Bluejays, they had just as little trouble in beating the Trojans in their third game as their first two; for Nodaway-Holt, it was their second consecutive winless season.

The Bluejays struggled to hit shots for the first 1:23 and the game remained scoreless, but then Jacqueline Schulte (16 points, 6 steals, 6 assists) broke the ice with the first of her six steals and converted them into free throws at the 6:37 mark. Schulte then put on a clinic on sharing the ball for the rest of the period as she would have 5 assists in the period to go along with her usual point production; she started off by finding Emily Bryant open on the right wing for a 3-pointer to make it 5-0. Darcy Brown got loose against the press to make it 5-2, but then Blair Schmitz (8 points) converted a drive into two free throws, Michelle Schulte (14 points, 4 steals) got a steal and found Jac for the layup, and then Bryant got a steal and found Michelle for the layup to make it 11-2.

Alycia Keith hit a 3-pointer for the Trojans to make it 11-5 at the 4:14 mark, but Northeast would not let Nodaway-Holt hang around as Jacqueline Schulte got consecutive steals and found Michelle Schulte open both times and then Blair Schmitz got a steal, found Jacqueline Schulte, whose weak side pass to Hallie Oelze (11 points) was good for a layup. Brittany Shipps countered with a layup to cut it to 17-7, but then Blair Schmitz kicked it out to Rachel Runde, Jacqueline Schulte found Kenzie Waldeier open on the right wing, and then Emily Bryant and Jacqueline Schulte got steals to round out the scoring for Northeast in the first quarter as they led 25-7.

Northeast continued its run in the second as they scored 31 in the period. Jacqueline Schulte got a putback and then scored off a Kenzie Waldeier steal to open the scoring. Michelle Schulte then added two free throws, Jacqueline found Hallie Oelze open on the right wing for a 3-pointer, and then Blair Schmitz found Oelze for a backdoor layup at the 5:17 mark to make it 36-7.

Amanda O'Riley drove down the right side to break the 19-0 run, but then Michelle Schulte found Hallie Oelze open on the right baseline, Rachel Runde got a steal and fed Kristin Sherry, and Michelle Schulte followed with another steal. Alycia Keith countered with a guarded 3-pointer for Nodaway-Holt, but Hallie Oelze found Kristin Sherry open on the left side with 3:35 left to start a 10-0 run. Rachel Runde followed with a steal; she threw it to Kristin Sherry, who found Hallie Oelze for the layup. Oelze then went coast to coast and found Michelle Schulte; following a rejection on the other end by Kenzie Waldeier, Jacqueline Schulte grabbed a 3rd-chance board and converted that into two free throws to make it 52-12.

The two teams traded buckets for the rest of the half as O'Riley got a putback and a drive for Nodaway-Holt and Jacqueline Schulte had a steal and Kristan Judd added a putback for Northeast that made it 56-16 at the break.

At the start of the second half, Michelle Schulte got a steal, fed it to Kristin Sherry, who threw it to Jacqueline Schulte to start the second half on a 10-0 run. Blair Schmitz got three consecutive putbacks during the run and Jessica Redden got a steal and threw it to Kristin Sherry for a layup to make it 66-16 at the 5:13 mark of the third quarter.

At that point, Coach Ryan Davis went out of his way not to run the score up any more as he took off the press, began subbing freely, and told his players not to take any more fast breaks. Jodi Holmes got seven consecutive points for Nodaway-Holt during the latter part of the third quarter before Kristan Judd found Kenzie Waldeier open on the left wing for her first career 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 69-23. During the running clock, Holmes continued to have the hot hand for Nodaway-Holt while Taylor Dougan got untracked after a few initial missed shots for Northeast, scoring all nine of her points in the fourth quarter. She got two feeds to the left wing from Emily Bryant, a feed from Rachel Runde to the top of the key for a 3-pointer, and a drive into the high post for a shot in the quarter.

Bluejay Girls Advance to Finals Behind Schulte's Defense

Northeast Nodaway's girls beat Rock Port 65-40 Wednesday night behind the defense of Jacqueline Schulte, who held Rock Port standout Makayla Vette scoreless in the first half while getting 18 points and 4 steals herself on the night. All of Vette's 18 points came in the second half, after the game had already been decided. Rock Port had shown some life down the stretch, beating Tarkio down the stretch and then handing West Nodaway a 47-26 pasting behind Vette's 22 points in the opening round of districts. But Northeast's press worked as well as it had all year as Rock Port could not even get across halfcourt in the first minute and a half and were struggling against the press all night. Northeast came into the game knowing they had to stop Vette from going wild against them and they accomplished that task as Jacqueline Schulte did not allow Vette a single open look in the first half while stealing the ball from her twice and going in for layups. Blair Schmitz took some turns on Vette while Schulte was on the bench and was effective against her as well.

As Rock Port was unable to break the press and get into their offense, Northeast jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the first 1:08 as Hallie Oelze got a steal, Jacqueline Schulte stole the ball from Vette and went in for a layup, and Michelle Schulte (9 points, 6 steals) got another steal. Rock Port finally got on the board as Abbey and Allison Lawrence each scored to cut Northeast's lead to 6-4 at the 5:54 mark. But then Blair Schmitz (12 points, 4 assists) worked a perfect high-low with Schulte and then added a couple of free throws to make it 10-4.

Abbey Lawrence got loose against the press for a layup to make it 10-6 but then Alex Garst and Emily Graham went to the bench with foul trouble for Rock Port, which seemed to hurt them badly on the floor. Hallie Oelze hit a free throw, Rachel Runde found Blair Schmitz open in the post, and then Jacqueline Schulte hit a pair of free throws to make it 15-6. Hallie Oelze then threw a long outlet to Michelle Schulte, Kristen Sherry threw a long outlet to Jacqueline Schulte, and then Jessica Redden got a steal off the press, threw it to Hallie, who threw it back to Jessica for the layup to make it 21-6 after one quarter of play.

In the first quarter, Rock Port had 14 turnovers including two five-second violations as they could not get the ball inbounds against the press, one ten-second violation, and five traveling and carrying violations as they could not get around Northeast's defenders.

Northeast continued their run in the second quarter as Jacqueline Schulte found Blair Schmitz inside, Kristin Sherry got a third chance putback after a steal, and then Blair Schmitz then found Jacqueline Schulte open on a high-low to cap the 17-0 run that left Northeast up 27-6.

Abbey Lawrence hit from the right side for Rock Port, but then Blair Schmitz found Emily Bryant (11 points, three 3-pointers) open on the top of the key. Following a rejection by Jacqueline Schulte on the other end, Bryant added a driving layup and Jacqueline Schulte added a steal to make it 34-8. Emily Graham and Alex Garst got fast breaks to cut Rock Port's deficit to 34-12, but then Blair Schmitz found Jacqueline Schulte open on a backdoor layup, Hallie Oelze found Kristen Sherry open in transition, Jacqueline Schulte stripped Vette for the second time in the game and went in for the layup, and Michelle Schulte followed with a steal to make it 42-12 before Allison Lawrence's drive made it 42-14 at the half.

Jacqueline Schulte found Blair Schmitz open on a high-low play and Kristen Sherry went to the rack in transition to make it 46-14 before the teams traded buckets for the rest of the period. Michelle Schulte had a coast to coast fast break, Jacqueline Schulte hit two free throws after a drive, Jessica Redden found Blair Schmitz open on the right wing, and then Blair Schmitz added a steal as Northeast led 55-23 after three quarters. Makayla Vette finally got untracked in the period, scoring four points in the quarter before scoring 14 in the fourth period against Northeast's second string. For Northeast, Bryant hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter; Kristan Judd threw a long outlet to Hallie Oelze for a breakaway, and Bryant found Taylor Dougan open on the right side.

Promising Start Turns Into Disaster for NEN Boys

What started off as a promising start for Northeast Nodaway's boys turned into a layup drill for CFX in the District Semifinal game between the two teams Wednesday night. Northeast had two competitive losses to the Hornets earlier in the year; frequently, between two evenly-matched teams, the third time is a charm. But this time, Northeast failed to build on its promising start as CFX went off to the races in the second half and turned a close game into a rout.

CFX got off to the quick early start as Jacob Beck went off on Northeast, scoring the first six points for the Hornets to make it 6-2 as Northeast could only manage a transition basket from Bryce Farnan. Bobby Welch got a steal for Northeast, but then things threatened to get worse as Jordan Showalter got behind the Northeast defense, Colby Wiederholt picked up his second foul, and then Kevin Dodson, who had burned Northeast from behind the arc, got loose on the offensive boards to make it 10-4 at the 4:51 mark.

But then Northeast, with Wiederholt on the bench, turned the tables to take the lead as they were able to get to the glass themselves. Bryce Farnan got a putback, Chad Messner worked a high-low with Farnan inside, Aaron Patton got a putback, Messner found James Burns inside, and then Bryce Farnan got a putback to complete a 10-0 run that left Northeast up 14-10 after one quarter. Little did they know that this would be half of the points that they would score on the night.

Things were looking good for Northeast at that point as they had done it without Wiederholt, but Showalter got a steal for the Hornets and Dodson got a drive down the left side to tie it right back up as CFX went from a man to man to their zone. Bryce Farnan hit a free throw to put Northeast back up 15-14, but then Northeast's perimeter defense let them down again as Dodson, who had torched Northeast with five 3-pointers in the previous meeting between the two teams, hit one on consecutive possessions to put CFX up for good at 20-15. Showalter added a steal to make it 22-15 as Northeast was constantly dribbling into the traps instead of passing to beat the press. Colby Wiederholt found Bryce Farnan inside with 4:21 left and there was a four-minute scoring lull. But then Northeast let Dodson loose underneath and he hit a layup at the buzzer for CFX to make it 24-17.

Northeast's third quarter woes came back to bite them one too many times as Dodson had a fake and drive to start the Hornets off. Jordan Showalter added a 3-point play off a fast break and then Northeast left Dodson open from downtown for the third time of the game to make it 32-17.

The Bluejays switched to a press of their own and it worked initially as they made a comeback bid during the middle of the 3rd. James Burns found Tyler Davis open on the right wing for a 3-pointer, and then Burns added a putback to make it 32-22. Jordan Sipes scored from inside for CFX, but then Colby Wiederholt scored a layup and Aaron Patton had a free throw off steals on consecutive possessions as Northeast got the lead back under double digits at 34-25 with 3:04 left.

But then Northeast passed up a chance to cut it to 6 or 7 as Beck got a steal to start what would turn out to be a 23-3 run by CFX to end the game. The rest of the quarter was a layup drill for CFX as they pushed the lead back up to 16 before Bobby Welch found James Burns open inside at the end of the third to make it 41-27 after three.

Northeast went to their five-guard lineup to try and generate some quick scores to get them back in the game, but the layup drill continued for CFX, who got layups from Jordan Showalter, Spencer Barnes, and consecutive layups from Dodson to make it 50-27 before Northeast threw in the towel and began subbing freely at that point.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Northeast Boys Put Away Tigers in 3rd Quarter

Northeast Nodaway's boys used a strong 3rd quarter to put Worth County away for the second time this year, winning 61-46 and living to fight another day. The Tigers ended their season at 14-11 after getting their third winning season in four years. For Worth County, many of the things that they had counted on to get them over the hump against Northeast did not materialize. Some of the things that had been liabilities for Northeast in previous games did not happen Monday. With the game tied at 20-20, things were looking good for the Tigers; they did not dig themselves into a big hole like they had done plenty of times earlier in the year and they had limited Northeast's big men, Bryce Farnan and Tyler Davis, to 6 and 2 points respectively. And the 3rd quarter, which was one of Northeast's weakest quarters, was coming up. However, Northeast came out on fire and outscored Worth County 21-9 in that period and never led by less than 9 the rest of the way.

Another thing that did not go Worth County's way against Northeast was the 3-point shooting. Perimeter defense had been one of Northeast's biggest liabilities in their last few games as they had given up 3-pointers at critical moments; however, Northeast tightened up their perimeter defense Monday night and did not allow a single 3-pointer from Worth County. Not only that, they were able to take several charges when Worth County tried to go to the basket. Free throws, which had saved Northeast against Stewartsville Friday, were critical again for them; they went 22 for 27 from the line against the Cardinals. Against Worth County, they went 28 for 37 from the line for a total of 50 for 64 for the last two games. Worth County only went to the line 22 times during the game. Foul trouble was an issue for both teams, but Northeast pulled away during the latter part of the third quarter with Bryce Farnan on the bench with three fouls, while Worth County could not find anyone to pick things up after Zach Harmening saw extended time on the bench throughout the second half with foul trouble. Worth County had plenty of looks at the basket, but it is much different to try and shoot over bigger men than it is to shoot over someone your own size; Northeast picked up rejections from their big men at critical times.

Northeast looked to get the ball into Tyler Davis and Bryce Farnan (15 points) early, but Worth County was swarming the post inside and picked up some early steals. Bryce Ross (12 points), playing his best game since coming back from an ankle injury, scored off an Alex Harmening steal, but Bryce Farnan countered by lobbing into Tyler Davis to tie it at 2. The game continued with four ties in a slow, defensive struggle, but Northeast was getting some open driving lanes down the middle and they took full advantage, with Aaron Patton scoring to put Northeast up 10-8 after one.

James Burns came off the bench for Northeast to start the second quarter and contributed a monster stuff as well as a pass to the weak side to Kevin Stoll for a layup to make it 12-8, but Worth County, who was having shots go in and out during that stretch, finally got untracked as Zach Harmening drove into the high post and hit a floater. Harmening then went coast to coast and found an open Bryce Ross and then Alex Harmening got a steal and Ross put in the shot over Tyler Davis to put Worth County back up 14-12 at the 3:43 mark.

But then Aaron Patton got loose in transition to tie it up, ending a three-minute scoring drought for Northeast and then Bryce Farnan finally got untracked as Bobby Welch lobbed the ball in to him for a 3-point play to make it 17-14. Cole Buffington answered for Worth County to make it 17-16, but then three more free throws from Farnan made it 20-16 with 56.9 seconds left. Todd Harding (10 points) drove down the middle for a layup and then J.J. Mullock scored from inside over Bryce Farnan to tie the game up again at 20.

Northeast changed the tempo of the game to start the second half with immediate results. Bryce Farnan opened the scoring with a pair of free throws and then a Tyler Davis block led to a fast break layup from Colby Wiederholt (15 points) on the other end. Farnan followed with another rejection and then buried a 3-pointer off an inbounds play to make it 27-20. Then, following a scramble for a loose ball, Wiederholt picked up the carom and put it in to make it 29-20.

Worth County got a glimmer of hope as Bryce Ross cherry-picked the last basket and hit two free throws and then Bryce Farnan fouled J.J. Mullock and went to the bench with three after being stripped on a defensive rebound and Mullock hit one of two. Todd Harding followed with another 3-pointer to make it 29-24. If there was any time for Worth County to make a run to get back in the game, it was at that point with Farnan on the bench, but Bobby Welch went coast to coast and turned it into two free throws. Todd Harding answered with a drive and a shot over Davis, but then Colby Wiederholt hit two free throws and then Bobby Welch got a steal off the press and fed Chad Messner to make it 35-26 with 3:15 left.

Northeast then pushed the lead into double digits. Alex Harmening made one out of two free throws for Worth County, but then nobody matched up on Chad Messner, who was all alone for a layup. Following a miss, James Burns threw one of his patented bullet passes the full length of the court to Chad Messner, who found Kevin Stoll underneath the basket to make it 39-27. Todd Harding got a putback for Worth County, but then Colby Wiederholt hit two free throws to make it 41-29 after three quarters.

Tyler Davis opened the scoring with a putback for Northeast to make it 43-29, its biggest lead of the game, but then Eli Mullock did what he could to get Worth County back in the game as he scored off a fast break. Tyler Davis hit a techincal foul shot for Northeast off a delay of game technical foul, but Eli stole the ball and fed Bryce Ross on the left baseline and then got another steal and turned it into two free throws to make it 44-35 with 6:51 left.

Northeast's boys have had trouble protecting leads before in the 4th quarter, but this time they answered right back as Bryce Farnan found Tyler Davis inside and then Bobby Welch hit a free throw. Alex Harmening answered with a free throw and then Bryce Ross got a steal and was going down to the other end to try and cut it to nine, but Bobby Welch was there to take the charge for Northeast; Welch then found Farnan open in transition and Colby Wiederholt hit two free throws to give Northeast its biggest lead of the night so far at 51-36 with 4:13 left.

Alex Harmening hit a free throw for Worth County but then Bryce Farnan took a charge on Zach Harmening, drawing his 5th foul and hurting Worth County's efforts to get back in the game. Welch then hit two more free throws for Northeast to make it 53-37 at the 3:25 mark. Bryce Ross drew Welch's fourth foul and hit two free throws, but Aaron Patton slipped behind the Tiger defense and Tyler Davis found him with a long pass and Patton made one out of two at the line.

Garrett Hawk and Todd Harding tried to get Worth County back in the game in the last few minutes, but Northeast was able to make its free throws down the stretch as Alex Harmening and Eli Mullock followed Zach Harmening to the bench with 5 fouls.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bluejay Girls Clinch PVC Title, Bryant Has Career Night

Northeast Nodaway's girls were playing the second of back to back contests and their shots had not been falling against Albany even though they won 51-16 Thursday. But everything was dropping for them Friday night against Stewartsville as they put the game away early against the Cardinals and won 69-26 to claim the Platte Valley Conference crown.

Once again, a strong start from Jacqueline Schulte (18 points, 5 assists, two 3-pointers) was key as she scored two early baskets right off the bat, which opened things up for everyone else. Consequently, Emily Bryant (16 points, career high) was open as she hit four 3-pointers on the night as her teammates sensed that she was on fire. Blair Schmitz, who got off to a strong start, getting two steals right off the bat, added 14. Northeast was able to shoot Stewartsville out of their zone after the first quarter, forcing them to go man, which allowed them to score at will for the rest of the game; Kristen Sherry (4 assists) showed she was back at full strength from an illness as she followed a lights-out defensive night in which she shut down Albany's Melissa Abreu (33 points and 24 points in two previous games) with a solid floor game in which she was finding the open person. Rachel Runde was finding the range Friday night as she added eight points.

Blair Schmitz scored off a steal right off the bat and then Jacqueline Schulte hit two buckets early, getting a layup off a Michelle Schulte offensive carom and then grabbing a putback to make it 6-0 at the 6:31 mark. Katie Roach hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but then Rachel Runde found Emily Bryant at the top of the key to start an 8-0 run; both of Bryant's buckets in the period answered Stewartsville buckets. Jacqueline Schulte then inbounded to Blair Schmitz for a driving layup, Michelle Schulte found Schmitz open inside, and then Emily Bryant got a steal and found Kristen Sherry open for a layup to make it 14-3 at the 1:08 mark. Alexa Hughes got open against Northeast's press, but then Jacqueline Schulte found Emily Bryant at the top of the key for a 3-pointer and then Jessica Redden found Schulte open from downtown on the right wing as Northeast hit two in 23 seconds at the close of the third to squelch any comeback hopes and make it 20-5.

Jacqueline Schulte and Emily Bryant worked together powerfully at the start of the second quarter as Bryant found Jacqueline open on the left baseline and then Jac posted up inside and found Bryant open on the top of the key to make it 25-5. Two buckets by Emily Klepees finally got the Cardinals going, but Jacqueline Schulte converted a steal into a 3-point play and Rachel Runde found Blair Schmitz open inside to keep the margin at 30-9. Stewartsville made a comeback bid with both Schulte and Schmitz on the bench for a break as they began lobbing the ball at will into Alexa Hughes to make it 30-13, but then Blair and Jacqueline came back in and Schulte kicked one out to Rachel Runde at the top of the key to start another run for Northeast. Schulte then stripped a Stewartsville player from behind after they just got a defensive board and turned it into a layup; Kristen Sherry then found a cutting Michelle Schulte open for a layup. Sherry then cut inside and took a pass; the defense collapsed on her, which freed Blair Schmitz for a weak side layup and 3-point play. Sherry then found Jacqueline Schulte open for a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 42-13 at the half.

At the start of the second half, Rachel Runde got a steal and drive for Northeast. Mary Roach countered with a basket for Stewartsville, but then Hallie Oelze got a monster stuff, grabbed the ensuing carom, and found Blair Schmitz in transition. Schmitz started with a hard fake to her left side and then showed a deadly crossover dribble to her right and finished with her right hand to make it 46-15. Consecutive buckets from Alexa Hughes made it 46-19, but then Blair Schmitz and Michelle Schulte hit free throws and Jacqueline Schulte drove down the middle of the lane and found Kristan Judd alone in the left corner for a shot that made it 50-19. Emily Klepees answered with a 3-pointer for Stewartsville, but Jacqueline Schulte answered with a free throw and Rachel Runde found Emily Bryant open at the top of the key for a 3-pointer that made it 54-22 after three quarters and triggered the running clock.

Northeast continued their scoring binge even with their second string in this time as Kenzie Waldeier grabbed a long carom on the left wing and scored from there to open the scoring. Consecutive 3-pointers from Emily Bryant and Taylor Dougan made it 62-22 before Erika Hovenga managed a drive for the Cardinals. Kristen Sherry then added a free throw for Northeast and then found Rachel Runde on her favorite spot on the baseline as the Bluejays were driving at will against Stewartsville during the final period. Presley Galloway scored off a fast break for the Cardinals, but then Emily Bryant drove straight down the middle for a layup and then Rachel Runde drove down the left baseline to round out the scoring.

Reynolds, Garrett Have Career Nights; Tigers Finally Win

In a game in which everything came together, Worth County's girls finally found a way to win -- get Ashley Reynolds (18 points) and Lauren Null (10 points) going at the same time, get production from posts Delaney Davidson and Jessica Garrett, dominate the glass, and shut down the other team on defense. Throughout the year, Worth County had nights in which either Reynolds or Null were on, but the other one was not. But not only did Lauren Null score double figures, she did all she could to help Worth County win as she nearly had a triple double with seven assists and nine boards. Ashley Reynolds had a double double, getting 11 boards to go with her 18 points. And the production from the posts was there as well, with Jessica Garrett getting a career-high 7 points; Delaney Davidson came off the bench to spell Garrett and made the most of her limited minutes, getting seven boards. Worth County finally found a way to overcome their shooting woes as they had trouble all year getting over 20%; they were able to do so by getting 49 boards as a team.

All of this resulted in a 51-37 win over Nodaway-Holt in a battle of winless teams before districts. It was like a playoff game for both teams as they both faced state-ranked opposition Tuesday night in the opening round of districts. It looked like another long night for Worth County as everything that Nodaway-Holt threw up went in during the early going. They got a 3-pointer from Alycia Keith right off the bat to go up 3-2. Worth County fought back to lead 5-3 as Brooke Gilland hit a free throw and then banked one in from the right wing. Darcy Brown answered with a shot from the right wing to tie it, but Lauren Null hit two free throws to make it 7-5.

But the shooting barrage continued for the Trojans as a steal and 3-point play by Amanda O'Riley sparked a run that put them up for a long time to come. Alycia Keith scored from inside for the Trojans to make it 10-7. Lauren Null found Akaysha Ragan open from the left side to cut it to one, but then Keith launched her second 3-pointer of the night and Jodi Holmes scored from inside to make it 15-9 before Jessica Garrett answered with a free throw to make it 15-10 after one quarter.

Faced with the task of trying to shut down Holmes and Keith, Worth County went to a triangle and two against them. Initially, nothing worked as Amanda O'Riley banked home a 3-pointer and consecutive buckets from Darcy Brown made it 22-14 at the 3:01 mark. It threatened to turn into a copy of the Polo game, where a banked 3-pointer by the Panthers seemed to sap the air out of the Tigers right off the bat. But then all of a sudden, Worth County began finding their offensive rhythm and attacking the basket against the Trojans -- something they had not been doing all year. Consequently, Nodaway-Holt began hacking and fouling. The Trojans were down to six players after being down to eight for the Northeast Nodaway game a few games earlier, and their lack of depth began to show as they began playing not to foul instead of playing to win.

As a result, Worth County began grabbing the offensive glass at will and began getting shots to drop. Lauren Null got a free throw, followed by putbacks from Ashley Reynolds, Kiley Reynolds, and Lauren Null that made it a 22-21 game at the half. The Tigers started off where they left off as Lauren Null found Kiley Reynolds open on the left wing and then Jessica Garrett added a putback to put Worth County back in front 25-22 as Nodaway-Holt continued hacking and fouling, with Alycia Keith and Darcy Brown both picking up their 4th fouls early in the period. But then Nodaway-Holt answered with a flurry as Brown got a drive, Holmes added a free throw, and Keith went coast to coast for a layup to put Nodaway-Holt back in front 27-25. Brown picked up her 5th foul during the run, but the Trojans were still very much a part of the game.

But then Ashley Reynolds, who had been quiet all game, suddenly got going as everything started to drop for her. Lauren Null found her cutting inside to tie the game at 27 and then Jessica Garrett found her open on the left baseline to put Worth County back in front at 29-27. Brittany Shipps got a 3rd-chance putback to tie it back up at 29, but then Lauren Null found Reynolds all alone in the right corner for a 3-pointer to put Worth County up for good at 32-29. Reynolds added a free throw and then Lauren Null cut to the basket at the buzzer to put Worth County up 35-29.

Jodi Holmes answered with a free throw to make it 35-30 to start the 4th quarter, but Ashley Reynolds would not be denied. Jessica Garrett got a putback and then Reynolds followed with a shot from the left side off a feed from Lauren Null and then cut inside for another basket to push the lead into double digits at 41-30. Reynolds then added a free throw and then Lauren Null found Delaney Davidson inside off an inbounds play to make it 44-30. Free throws by Null, Davidson, and Reynolds as well as Alycia Keith's 5th foul, leaving the Trojans with 4 players, put the game out of reach. Jodi Holmes got some late steals against the Tiger second string, but Delaney Davidson got a putback and Akaysha Ragan added two free throws for Worth County in the closing seconds.

Bluejay Boys Win Nailbiter over Stewartsville

Thursday night against Albany, Northeast Nodaway's boys had to come back from a 13-point deficit against the Warriors to win 47-46. The next night, the same thing almost happened to them in reverse against Stewartsvile -- they nearly gave away a 14-point second quarter lead, falling behind in the fourth quarter. But then they rescued a seven-point deficit with just under three minutes left in the game, rediscovering their game plan of going inside, getting some critical steals, and tying things up to force overtime. In the extra period, Northeast was able to go inside on the Cardinals at will, winning going away 67-60. It was the third nailbiter in a row for Northeast, which had dropped a two-point decision to North Nodaway and won a one-point decision at Albany in consecutive games.

It looked like an easy win for Northeast for a change as Colby Wiederholt (12 points) picked up a loose carom and went to the basket and then Aaron Patton found a cutting Bryce Farnan (20 points) to put Northeast up 4-0. Farnan rejected two shots right off the bat on the other end of the floor. Lafayette Fleeks countered with a fast break against Northeast's press but then Aaron Patton dove into the stands to get a steal and Colby Wiederholt got on the line for a free throw. That sparked another run as Wiederholt added a steal of his own and then Bryce Farnan hit a pair of free throws to make it 9-2 at the 2:18 mark of the first. D.J. Gray made a backdoor layup against Northeast to cut it to 9-4, but then James Burns got a putback for Northeast and then blocked a shot on the other end to keep it at 11-4 after one quarter.

The lead continued to grow for Northeast as Chad Messner buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key; Fleeks countered with an inside shot, but then Bobby Welch found Chad Messner on the right side and then went coast to coast on the next play to find Bryce Farnan in transition for two free throws. Farnan then added a putback to cap the run with Northeast up 20-6.

The lead stayed at 26-13 thanks to an offensive carom and drive from Patton, a pair of free throws from Farnan, and two free throws from Patton. But then Northeast began playing like they were down 13 instead of up 13 as Dakota Dunlap began jumping passes at will, getting three steals and layups in a one minute span to spark a run. He added a shot from the right wing and Lafayette Fleeks added a pair of free throws and a putback during a 12-1 run that made it 27-25 before Tyler Davis (13 points, 11 in the second half) hit from the high post with 5 seconds left to break the run.

Davis added a pair of free throws right off the bat, but Northeast's perimeter defense, which has been suspect in the last few games, deserted them again as D.J. Gray hit a 3-pointer to answer. Davis countered from the high post, but then Gray launched one from the baseline and added a bucket off a drive to tie it at 33. Tyler Davis posted up and scored inside, but Northeast's leaky 3-point defense let them down again as this time, it was Jerod Swope who connected from downtown to put Stewartsville up 36-35.

Bobby Welch answered Swope's 3-pointer with one of his own and then James Burns cleaned up on a miss in transition and Colby Wiederholt added a steal to put Northeast back in front at 42-38 with 1:54 left. Swope answered from the left wing to make it 42-4o; Tyler Davis had a pair of free throws for Northeast answered by an inside shot from Fleeks to make it 44-42 after three quarters of play.

A drive from Philipp Eisermann and reverse layup put the Cardinals back in front at 46-44, and it looked like Stewartsville would take control in the period. Aaron Patton drove the right side to tie it at 46, but then Gray hit from the left side, Fleeks got a putback, and Dakota Dunlap added a free throw to make it 51-46. Tyler Davis hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a feed from Patton, but Northeast's suspect 3-point defense let them down again as Swopes got open from the left baseline to answer with one of his own and then added a shot from the left side to give Stewartsville a seemingly comfortable 56-49 lead with 2:37 left in the game.

But then Colby Wiederholt hit a pair of free throws with 2:20 left and Stewartsville began throwing the ball away, giving Northeast a chance to get back in. Bobby Welch got a steal on the next play and then Kevin Stoll found Bryce Farnan open on the weak side for a 3-point play with 1:55 left to make it 56-54. All of a sudden, the seven-point lead had shrunk to two in just 25 seconds. Stewartsville had a chance to make it a two-possession game, but missed two free throws and then Tyler Davis had a rejection and Northeast got the ball back. Bryce Farnan then drove down the left side and his shot with 1:08 tied it up. Farnan had earlier made a game-winning 3-pointer against Elwood.

The Cardinals still had a chance to run down the clock like North Nodaway did and win the game in the closing seconds, but Swope threw the ball away under pressure with 56.4 seconds left, giving Northeast a chance to win in regulation. Aaron Patton held the ball up top until the last 10 seconds, when he drove the lane and attempted a runner with 5 seconds left. But his shot went astray, sending the game into overtime as Stewartsville was unable to get off a shot in the last few seconds.

Stewartsville had three chances to get on the board first in the extra period, but Tyler Davis rejected Lafayette Fleeks and putback tries by Brent Riggs and D.J. Gray were no good. Finally, Tyler Davis lobbed the ball in to Bryce Farnan to put Northeast up for good at 58-56. Stewartsville then tried a lob pass inside, but Bryce Farnan was there for the steal and Aaron Patton hit a free throw on the ensuing possession to make it 59-56 with 1:54 left.

Lafayette Fleeks answered with a fake and inside move to make it 59-58 and then Stewartsville put on a fullcourt press, trying to get the ball back to take the lead. Dakota Dunlap began getting in the zone again like he did in the second quarter, getting a steal and Stewartsville the ball back with 1:15 left, down one with plenty of time to take the lead. But Bryce Farnan got a steal of his own and fed Colby Wiederholt for a layup with 55.5 seconds left to make it 61-58.

Stewartsville could still tie with a 3-pointer and Northeast had been struggling against 3-point shooters defensively in their last few games, but they got the stop that counted as Jerod Swope missed one and Northeast got the ensuing board. Dakota Dunlap tried to steal the ensuing outlet, but Aaron Patton outscrambled him to the ball and called timeout with 40.1 seconds, then threw a long pass to Colby Wiederholt against the press on the ensuing inbounds play. Wiederholt then found Farnan open for a 3-point play and Northeast was up 64-58 with 37.1 seconds left.

Dakota Dunlap tried a 3-pointer that would have made it a one-possession game again, but this time Northeast was all over it and Aaron Patton chased down the ensuing carom in the corner. Patton then made two free throws with 24.4 seconds left to seal things. An inside shot from Fleeks with 13.7 seconds left and a free throw from Bobby Welch rounded out the scoring.

Tiger Boys Avenge Earlier Nodaway-Holt Loss

Worth County's boys avenged an earlier loss to Nodaway-Holt as they beat them on the road 48-46 Thursday in the last game before districts. The Tigers had clinched a winning season last weekend against Ridgeway, beating the Owls 55-46 at Ridgeway, always a difficult place to play. In addition, the Tigers crashed Ridgeway's Courtwarming; it was the third Courtwarming celebration that they crashed this year along with Albany's and Princeton's; the Tigers successfully defended their own Courtwarming as well. It seemed like other teams thought they could easily handle the squirts from Worth County, only to have another think coming.

Against Nodaway-Holt, the Tigers were dealing with one of the most dangerous shooting teams in the area. But they were able to contain them enough to win and beat their second quality opponent in a week, a perfect way to tune up for districts.

The difference between the Ridgeway and Nodaway-Holt games was clear -- the Tigers jumped both teams and came away from the first quarter with the lead; in losses to South Harrison and Stanberry, the Tigers had dug themselves in a big hole and couldn't come back. They fell behind Nodaway-Holt 3-2 early, but then Alex Harmening got behind the Trojan defense to put them up 4-3 at the 5:00 mark. That play seemingly gave Worth County the confidence to believe they could run with the speedy Trojan team as Eli Mullock added a free throw and then Jordan Harding ran the floor after a Todd Harding steal to make it 7-3.

Nodaway-Holt was getting none of their open looks or transition baskets that they got last time, only managing a fast break from Carson Long before Todd Harding went coast to coast and found Eli Mullock open to make it 9-5 after one quarter of play.

Long finally got untracked for Nodaway-Holt, getting a free throw and a drive; Zach Harmening countered with a steal to keep it at 11-8. Cole Buffington kicked it out to Garrett Hawk, whose drive with 4:29 left made it 15-11. Long's free throw cut it to 15-12; however, Jordan Harding, playing one of his best offensive games of the year, drove down the right side of the lane and threw up a floater that went in. Alex Harmening added another floater to make it 19-12 with 2:50 left. Long, who had 8 points in the second, began going to the basket again and got a layup and a pair of free throws to make it 21-18; however, Todd Harding beat the Nodaway-Holt press and Garrett Hawk added a free throw to put Worth County back up 24-18. One of the most telling stats of the half was the fact that Worth County only allowed one 3-pointer.

Zach Harmening took two charges right off the bat early in the second half and Bryce Ross cut inside to give Worth County its biggest lead of the night at 26-18. But then Nodaway-Holt finally got its running game going, getting layups from Blake Shamberger, Zach Lemar, and Patrick O'Riley to cut it to 28-24 at the 5:09 mark. Todd Harding hit a baseline 3-pointer off an inbounds pass from Zach Harmening, but then consecutive baskets from O'Riley made it 31-28 with 2:28 left in the third. Todd Harding lobbed it into J.J. Mullock and then scored off an Eli Mullock steal, but then Carson Long countered with a steal of his own to make it 35-30 after three quarters of play.

The Trojans kept coming and finally took the lead as Worth County went the first four minutes of the fourth quarter without scoring. Cody Ridler scored from inside, Blake Shamberger scored off a drive, and then there was a two-minute scoring lull as Worth County could not take care of the ball and Nodaway-Holt could not take advantage. Finally, Brandon Saxton hit a pair of free throws to give Nodaway-Holt its first lead since the first quarter at 36-35 with 4:07 left.

Worth County had three attempts miss as Zach Harmening missed a runner, J.J. Mullock missed a putback try, and Todd Harding got rejected out of bounds. But finally, J.J. Mullock got a putback try to go in to give the Tigers the lead back at 37-36 with 3:30 left. Carson Long hit a free throw to tie it at 37; after Bryce Ross missed two free throws that would have put Worth County back ahead, Patrick O'Riley hit a free throw to put Nodaway-Holt back in front at 38-37. Zach Harmening then got a free throw off a drive to tie it again at 38, but then Carson Long went to the rim again and hit two free throws to put Nodaway-Holt back in front at 40-38 with 2:25 left.

Eli Mullock then threw the ball away on Worth County's next possession and Nodaway-Holt had a chance to run a huge chunk of time off the clock or extend their lead. But a five-point swing that swung the momentum back in Worth County's favor happened as Michael Brown's drive attempt missed and Zach Harmening grabbed the defensive board and converted a 3-point play at the other end to put Worth County back in front at 41-40 with 1:45 left. Instead of Nodaway-Holt being up 42-38, it was Worth County who was back in front.

Michael Brown missed another runner, but Carson Long got the ensuing board after a scramble and made one out of two to tie it up again at 41. Dylan Kinsella missed an inside shot, but then Alex Harmening got the ensuing offensive board and was fouled, hitting one free throw to put Worth County back up 42-41. Zach Harmening picked up his 5th foul on the next play trying to guard Michael Brown, but Brown's two free throws both missed and then Worth County ran 20 seconds off the clock before Todd Harding made one free throw to make it 43-41 with 38 seconds left.

On its next possession, Nodaway-Holt tried to work the ball to 3-point shooter Zach Lemar to take the lead, but Alex Harmening jumped the pass intended for him and made a layup at the other end to make it 45-41. Harmening had another such steal in the closing seconds of the Gallatin game that helped preserve the win in that game. Nodaway-Holt came right back down the floor, getting Patrick O'Riley to the line to cut Worth County's margin to 45-43 with 20.1 seconds left. Nodaway-Holt put on the full court press needing to get the steal or foul to get the ball back. But J.J. Mullock beat the Trojan defense down the court and took a long pass from Garrett Hawk and drew the foul with 15.1 seconds, and he made both free throws to make it 47-43.

But the game was not over, as Nodaway-Holt took their time on the ensuing possession and set a screen for Zach Lemar to the top of the key; his NBA 3-pointer went in with 4.5 seconds left and it was still a game at 47-46. With 2.9 seconds left, Todd Harding was fouled and he made the back end of a two-shot foul to make it 48-46, with Nodaway-Holt needing to go the length of the floor for a chance to tie. They threw to half-court and Bryce Ross knocked the ball out with 1.8 seconds left, with Nodaway-Holt needing to inbound from half-court and catch and shoot. They tried an alley oop play to Brandon Saxton, but his off-balance shot from the left baseline went astray and Worth County came away with the win.