Norse girls hold off Comets in season opener
—by Todd Thorson
The Norsemen girls’ basketball team opened their 2014-15 regular season by keeping their composure in a rather tight contest against host North Polk at Alleman last Tuesday night (Nov. 25), pulling out a 42-39 victory. Freshman Jenna Clark had a fine debut for the Norse, leading the scoring with 14 points, including 4 of 6 from three point range.
“Jenna had a great game,” said Coach Justin Morton. “She had some mistakes that you expect a freshman to make, but she bounced back, kept her composure and hit some big shots.”
Senior Brittany Hammes had nine points, all on three pointers. Seniors Lexi Crutchfield and Taylor Olson each posted six points. Junior Alexa Whipple had four points and Kirsten Waline added a key three pointer down the stretch. Maddy Hill and Riley Murphy led North Polk with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“I thought all my seniors did a great job leading,” continued Morton. “They were able to lead our team through some adversity, which paid off huge throughout the game.”
Olson also had seven rebounds, while Hammes hauled down five.
Another freshman on this year’s squad is post player Hannah Patton, who came in and gave some key minutes when Alexa got into first half foul trouble.
“She’s a very hard worker and has a tremendous skill set for a freshman,” said Morton of newcomer Patton. “I’m expecting big things from her the next four years.”
North Polk led after the quarter break 8-5, but the Norse out-scored the Comets 12-3 in the second frame to lead at halftime 17-11. The Comets inched a little closer in the third period, cutting the R-S lead to 27-25 with one quarter to play. The final frame was a tight one, with the outcome in doubt up until the very end. The visiting Norsemen eventually prevailed by three 42-39. Several times North Polk made a run, but each time the Norse girls staved it off to find a way to win.
“Overall, it was a great first game,” concluded Coach Morton. “We will face some bumps in the road during the season, but our focus from game to game will always be to compete fearlessly and play the Norse Way!”
Coach Morton has a few unknowns heading into the 2014-15 season. One involves the vacancy left by the graduation of Natalie Vance, and who will step up and fill that scoring void.
In the debut game against North Polk, Morton was pleased to see several girls looking for scoring opportunities throughout the contest. Which leads one to believe he might have more balanced scoring as a team this season.
“We have several girls capable of putting up 12 to 18 points on any given night,” he said. “A lot of it is going to come down to being disciplined enough, and aware enough, to take what the defense give us.”
Morton also wonders about his team leadership. He has six seniors who are all capable of leading the team in different ways.
“The effectiveness in which they’re able to lead the team this season will have a huge impact on our ability to compete in every game,” he added.