R-S 62, South Hamilton 45
Despite a 17-point victory, the Norse girls were not up to par, playing a rather sluggish game against their rival Monday night (Feb. 10) at Jewell. South Hamilton came out in a triangle-and-two defense on the Norsemen’s Natalie Vance and Brittany Hammes. But that didn’t seem to bother the Norse much as they were still able to score 62 points on the Hawks. It was the defense that struggled throughout this contest.
"We didn’t do a very good job defending the post and allowed South Hamilton to get too many second chance points off rebounds," said Coach Justin Morton. "We tried several different defenses, but still played with little to no energy much of the game."
The Norsemen (10-10) were led by Vance’s 19 points. Taylor Olson was next with 11. Hammes, Kirsten Waline, Samantha Janvrin and Brooke Staker all had six points. And Alexa Whipple and Lexi Crutchfield both added four points. The Norsemen put up 61 shots and made 26 for 43 percent shooting.
The Norse led 16-13 at the first quarter break and only held a 27-24 advantage at halftime. But the second half saw the Norse outscore the Hawks 35-21 to win easily, 62-45.
"I was proud of the girls for turning the corner late in the third quarter, and going out and pulling out the victory," commented Morton. "Our fourth quarter was very strong, and we finally played the Norseman way."
Colo-Nesco 51, R-S 47
The Norsemen lost for only the second time in their last six outings Tuesday night (Feb. 11) at Colo, almost pulling off the upset over a very talented Colo-Nesco squad before losing 51-47. The Royals came into the game ranked in the top five of Class 1A, sporting a 19-1 record. The Norse knew this was going to be a huge challenge for them, but they didn’t seem intimidated, coming out strong to start the contest. The Royals were shocked from the git-go, as R-S stormed out to a 20-5 lead in the first quarter. But the home team regrouped and began to shoot much better the rest of the way. By halftime it was just a three point lead for the Norsemen at 28-25.
"They struggled shooting in the first half and we were on fire," stated Coach Morton. "That allowed us to pull out to a big lead. But Colo-Nesco shot much better from the perimeter the rest of the game, causing us to man-defense them. This allowed them to get (their fine post player) Caitlyn Riese easier touches in the paint, where she was (most) effective. Our post traps were (just) too slow, and Reise was able to score when she got the ball."
After a 10-10 third quarter, the Norse still held a three point lead at 38-35 heading to the fourth. But the Royals showed their true strength down the stretch, out-scoring the Norse 16-9 in the final frame to win by just four, 51-47. C-N didn’t take the lead until three minutes remained in the game.
The Norsemen shot very well from the floor, hitting 19 of 40 for 48 percent. The Royals took 12 more shots than the Norse, hitting 20 of 52 for 38 percent. The Norse girls also out-rebounded the tough C-N girls 31-18. It was an 18-8 turnover stat that hurt the Norsemen.
"It really came down to not getting as many shot attempts as Colo-Nesco, due to our turnovers," said Morton. "But we did do a great job of shooting and moving the ball on offense (when we had the opportunities)."
After relinquishing the lead late in the fourth period, the Norse had their chances to get it back. But a charging foul, a couple of costly turnovers and missed defensive rebounds off of Royal free throws late, ultimately led to the Norsemen’s demise.
The Norse were led by Natalie Vance’s 18 points. Brooke Staker and Alexa Whipple each scored nine points. Brittany Hammes posted six. And Taylor Olson came in with five points. Reise ended up with 14 for the Royals. Makaelyn Neuendorf led C-N with 15.
"Overall, I was really happy with our effort," concluded Morton. "We had just played one of our most uninspiring games of the year the night before at South Hamilton, so I wasn’t sure how we would react in this game. The girls really fought hard the entire game and did the little things right to ensure our success. We just came out a little short this time."
The Norsemen’s 3A Regional opener against East Marshall (6-15) Saturday night (Feb. 15) in Story City was postponed until last night (Tuesday) due to bad weather. If victorious, the Norse girls travel to Hampton tonight (Wednesday) for a 7 p.m. contest against Hampton-Dumont; a 75-37 winner over Iowa Falls-Alden on Saturday.
South Hamilton 70, R-S 58
The Hawks came from behind last Monday night (Feb. 10) in Jewell to defeat the Norsemen 70-58, scoring 32 points in the final quarter. The Norse led for practically the entire game, jumping out to a 16-10 first quarter lead, behind Adam Shorkey’s 13 points. R-S extended the lead at halftime to 29-20. With the help of Zach Hovick’s seven points in the third period, the Norsemen staved off a couple of SH runs to still hold a 44-38 lead heading into the fourth.
With a slim R-S lead midway through the final frame, the Hawks made their move. A couple of three pointers led to an 8-0 Hawk run, putting the home team suddenly up seven. The Norse cut the lead back to four with about two minutes to play, courtesy of a steal and lay up by Ben Clark, but SH hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the win. The loss snapped a five game winning streak for the Norse.
Shorkey led the Norse with 22 points. Zach Hovick followed with 19, and also dished off five assists. Tyler Hovick added six. Clark had five points. Sam Miller posted four, and Nick Ahrens came in with two. The Norse shot 50 percent from the floor on 23 of 46. The Hawks (17-3), now conference champions, won for the 10th time in a row and were led by Colin Hill’s 20 points. Matt Hislop and Trevor Ullestad also scored in double figures with 16 and 13 points, respectively. SH was 25 for 43 from the floor for 58 percent. They were also 13 for 15 from the free throw line. R-S was 10 of 18 from the charity stripe.
"I thought we showed great discipline on both ends of the floor for three and a half quarters," said Coach Darrin Berggren. "We did a great job of attacking when the opening was there, and identifying their shooters on the defensive end. they hit a lot of big shots the last four minutes and we did not find their shooters in transition. We put ourselves in a great position through three quarters, but just couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch."
R-S 64, CMB 53
The Norsemen regrouped after their tough loss the night before and defeated CMB Tuesday night (Feb. 11) in Story City, 64-53. It was the final HOIAC game of the season and enabled the Norse to finish in third place.
R-S came out sluggish, scoring their first points after three and a half minutes had elapsed. Defensively, however, the Norsemen were strong, as the quarter ended with a tie score of 12-12. CMB committed numerous turnovers in the second period, allowing the Norsemen to assume a 27-20 lead at intermission. Zach Hovick had nine points in the first half, which also put him over 1,000 points for his career. Zach became the third player in the last 20 years to accomplish this feat at Roland-Story.
CMB opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run, to tie the score, but R-S would out-score the Raiders 11-6 the rest of the period to keep a five point lead heading into the final period.
The Norse would do a great job protecting the ball and hitting their free throws to finish the contest, giving them an impressive 11 point victory. The Norsemen ended the game with only four turnovers and also went 18 for 25 at the free throw line (12 for 15 in the fourth quarter alone).
Zach Hovick finished the game with 23 points. Ben Clark had 17 points, including 10 in the final period, issuing eight assists and grabbing five boards in the process. Sam Miller and Adam Shorkey each had seven points, with Sam also hauling down six rebounds. And Nick Ahrens tallied four points. CMB (14-6) was led by Zach Samson and Seth Balke, each with 14 points.
"I was very pleased with how our guys responded coming off a tough loss the night before and how CMB opened up in the second half," said Coach Berggren. "This win (also) secured a third place finish for us in the conference, giving us six wins in our last seven games. Hopefully, we can keep improving and building on this momentum as we head into districts."
R-S 67, Colo-Nesco 48
Roland-Story concluded their regular season with an impressive road win, 67-48, over Colo-Nesco (15-6) Friday night (Feb. 14) in Colo. The Norse will now take their 13-8 record into 2A District play tomorrow night (Thursday, Feb. 20) in Jewell against Clarion-Goldfield; a 68-59 winner over Woodward Academy on Monday (Feb. 17).
The game went back and forth to start, and by the end of the first quarter R-S led 16-12. After a C-N three pointer cut the lead to one to start the second, the Norse went on a huge run, out-scoring the Royals 20-5 the rest of the period to open up a 36-20 lead at the break. Tyler Hovick posted 11 points, including three three pointers, in the second period alone. Ben Clark also had 11 first half points.
The Royals came out with more intensity in the third quarter and cut the R-S lead to seven with an 11-2 run of their own. But the Norse answered the call once again and extended their lead back to 12, 47-35, as the third period ended. R-S pushed the lead to as much as 20 in the fourth, and eventually won by 19, 67-48.
Clark finished the night with 19 points, seven assists and five steals. Zach Hovick posted 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Tyler Hovick ended up with 11 points, and Adam Shorkey added 10 points, as four Norsemen scored in double figures. Sam Miller and Nick Ahrens had four points, and Ross Barclay pitched in three.
"This was a very good win to end the regular season and get us ready for tournaments," concluded Berggren. "We had to answer numerous runs from Colo-Nesco and each time we did the things we needed to do to extend our lead further. We ended the season winning seven of our last eight and are playing with a lot of confidence right now. We played three teams last week with a combined 48 wins between them and that will help us tremendously this week as we start district play."