—by Todd Thorson
The Roland-Story boys led from start to finish last Friday night in Jewell, defeating Clarion-Goldfield (3-20) rather easily, 53-34, in their opening game of 2A District play. Having drawn a bye, along with rival South Hamilton in 2A District 4, the Norse faced the Hawks last night (Tuesday) in Boone for the district crown. It was the third time this season the Norsemen had faced South Hamilton. The Hawks blitzed Eagle Grove in the second game Friday night in Jewell, 90-49, to set up the confrontation between rivals.
Unfortunately, the third time wasn’t a charm for the Norsemen boys, as they lost the district final game to SH, 55-43, thus ending the Norse season. (Results of this game will appear next week.) South Hamilton now faces St. Edmond, a 62-60 OT winner over East Sac, Saturday night, March 1, at Webster City, for the right to advance to the state tournament.
R-S 53, Clarion-Goldfield 34
The Norse really made it tough on Clarion-Goldfield, as their defense clamped down hard, making it difficult for C-G to get many good looks at the basket. The Norsemen held the Cowboys scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the game, using a 12-2 run to hold a 13-5 lead at the quarter break.
Using their height advantage early on, Adam Shorkey and Nick Ahrens combined to score eight of the Norsemen’s first 10 points.
Ben Clark sparked the Norse to open the second period, hitting a three to put the Norsemen up 16-5. The defense continued to play tough, and by halftime, the lead had grown to 25-11. Zach Hovick led the way with 12 first half points.
The third period went back and forth for a time, before R-S extended their lead to 16 at 36-20 heading into the final quarter. The Norse then put the game away with free throws, hitting 10 of 12 down the stretch to seal the victory, 53-34.
Zach Hovick and Ben Clark led the Norse scoring, each ending the game with 14 points. Adam Shorkey scored 10 points. Clark also managed to haul down nine rebounds and dished off seven assists. Tyler Hovick scored five points, followed by Sam Miller and Nich Ahrens with four points each. Neil Upadhyay pitched in two points. The Norse shot 44 percent from the floor on 17 of 39. They also ended the night with an impressive showing at the foul line, hitting 17 of 22.
"It was great to see the defensive effort our guys put forth tonight," said a pleased Coach Darrin Berggren. "We really made it tough for them to get clean looks at the basket and forced numerous turnovers (that) we were able to convert into easy baskets. Our big guys inside have really improved over the course of the year and are playing very well right now. We are going to need them to keep stepping up this week if we are going to continue to advance in the post season."