Sunday, November 13, 2016

NEN Junior High Girls Avenge Two Losses, Win King City Tournament

Northeast Nodaway’s junior high girls played a nearly perfect first half, only committing one foul, and then held off Stanberry’s repeated efforts to get back in the game, winning 34-19 and claiming the King City title. Madelynn Mattson had 15 points for Northeast. Paige West had 5 points, 13 tips, 10 steals, one block, one assist, and 9 boards, two of them keeping possessions alive in the fourth quarter when Stanberry was trying to rally.

Stanberry’s girls followed a typical script; they struggle early, only to get stronger as the game progresses. It looked at first like they would cruise comfortably after Madelynn Mattson had scored the first four points of the game for Northeast. They knocked down three outside shots in the span of a little over a minute to take a 6-4 lead behind Morgan Wallace’s basket with 3:39 left. But then Blair Stoll hit Madelynn Mattson inside for a 3-point play and Mattson fed Cassy Redden inside to make it 9-6 after one.

Northeast’s normal coach, Ashley Merrigan (wedding) was gone; Joyce Steins managed the team in her absence. Hearing someone else’s voice evidently made a difference as they proceeded to put together their best quarter of the year. West scored off a backdoor pass from Mattson, Angela Standiford hit Mattson inside, as did Blair Stoll, Paige West hit Standiford on the left baseline, and Anne Schieber got a putback to make it 19-6 at the half. Northeast gave Stanberry a different look than before, using a 1-2-2 to deny them outside shots. Stanberry got some good looks, but they were fruitlessly clanging off the rim after their initial scoring burst.

Stanberry went into desperation mode in the third quarter, swarming and pressing Northeast, sending all five players to the boards, and grabbing and tearing at anybody getting a defensive board. Stiens proceeded to use up all her timeouts over the course of the second half to stop any efforts to get back in the game. Northeast only got one bucket, by Mattson, as they couldn’t buy a board in the third quarter with Stanberry swarming all over the ball and all the action took place on Stanberry’s end.
Northeast finally got some breathing room after Stanberry’s most physical player, Katlyne Pappert, picked up her third and fourth fouls and made a critical mistake early in the fourth quarter. Cassy Redden had a baseline shot that had no chance of going in, but Tarynn Mattson bailed her out with a shooting foul and she made one of two to break the lid off the basket. Madelynn Mattson hit two more free throws and Angela Standiford got a putback to make it 26-10 with 4:10 left.

But all of a sudden, Stanberry started finding the range as Lexi Craig hit a baseline shot, Riley McQueen hit a 3-pointer, and Craig hit another outside shot as Northeast couldn’t take care of the ball against Stanberry’s swarming press. But then, with Northeast clinging to a 26-17 lead, Blair Stoll made a play that will be remembered for a long time. She took the ball against the Stanberry press and drove straight down the middle from the Stanberry free throw line all the way down to Northeast’s basket to break the run. Paige West got a critical defensive board and hit two free throws with 1:53 left. Andaya Brown countered with an inside shot, but Pappert picked up her fifth foul on Paige West with 1:16 left. West missed the second, but got her own rebound to keep the possession alive and that led to Blair Stoll’s pass to Cassy Redden with 1:01 left for the dagger that made it 33-19 with 1:01 left.

Northeast avenged their other loss, to King City, to get into the finals. They completely outplayed them in the rematch as Madelynn Mattson had 11, Cassy Redden had 6, and Paige West, Angela Standiford, and Blair Stoll all had 4. Northeast survived a knock-down drag-out effort against Maysville, which always produced some epic battles at the high school level as they won 15-9. Mattson had 7, West 4, Angela Standiford 2, and Blair Stoll 2.

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