Girls fall to #8 Nevada, long ball aids in win over SH
—by Todd Thorson
The Norsemen girls evened their record at 4-4 with an impressive win over South Hamilton Friday night in Jewell. The victory came following a 15 point loss to #8 ranked Nevada on Tuesday (Dec. 16) at Nevada. Following a 2-0 start to the season, the Norse have lost four out of their last six games, as they continue to play hard against some rather formidable competition. Despite the .500 start Coach Justin Morton has been pleased with the Norsemen’s efforts throughout the eight games thus far. They are playing hard and continue to compete with each of their opponents every game out.
Roland-Story will come back after the holiday break with a three game slate beginning Tuesday, Jan. 6 at Baxter against CMB. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 9 and 10 the Norse girls will host Greene County and Perry, respectively.
Nevada 45, R-S 30
Nevada, ranked #8 in Class 3A, stayed one to two steps ahead of the Norsemen last Tuesday (Dec. 16) from the git-go and used a strong third quarter to win a 15 point decision, 45-30, over the Norse girls in Nevada. The game was fairly close in the first half. The Cubs led by three 10-7 at the quarter break, and maintained just a 23-16 edge at intermission. It was a 15-5 third period that put the home team in the driver’s seat as the Norse trailed 38-21 with one quarter to play. The Cubs scored the last six points of the third frame in the closing minute of play to break open a 32-21 game. The Norsemen were never able to get back in the game as the game ended with the 15 point margin.
Alexa Whipple led the R-S scoring with 13 points. Jenna Clark added five points, followed by Lexi Crutchfield and Brittany Hammes with three each and Kirsten Waline, Bridget Concannon and Taylor Olson pitched in two points each. Kati Cassabaum and Claire Ausman paced the Cubs (6-1) with 17 and 13 points, respectively. Nevada went on to defeat Gilbert 44-26 on Friday night to improve to 7-1.
The Norse out-rebounded Nevada 30-26, with Hammes and Whipple each hauling down five caroms. Waline also dished off three assists.
“I was really proud of our effort against Nevada,” said Coach Justin Morton. “Our goal going into the game was to compete fearlessly for four quarters and earn their respect. I felt for the first time this season that we really did that. Nevada was about three to four points a quarter better than us throughout the game, which isn’t too bad when you’re playing the #8 rated team at home.”
Too many turnovers and giving up offensive rebounds proved too costly for the Norsemen. “Any time a good team has more field goal attempts than you do (Nevada had 12 more attempts than the Norse, 44-36), it makes it tough to beat them,” Morton continued. “I hope this effort catapults us into having some great practices over break and coming out ready to compete at even a higher level after the break.”
R-S 62, South Hamilton 30
The Norse girls played long ball Friday night at Jewell, hitting 12 three pointers en route to an easy 62-30 win over the Hawks of South Hamilton (1-6). Behind 21 points from freshman Jenna Clark, the Norsemen put forth a total team effort and “did a lot of good things in this game”, according to Coach Morton. It was a fast-paced and quick contest, and a cleanly played game as well, with only 25 total fouls called the entire game; 11 on the Norse and 14 on the Hawks.
“South Hamilton came out in a 1-3-1 zone, which freed up our shooters,” Morton said. “We started out a bit slow on offense, but once we settled down we started to shoot the ball very well. At one point in the second quarter we hit a three pointer in five out of six straight possessions; four by Jenna (Clark) and one by Alyssa (Miller).”
The Norsemen would finish the night hitting 12 of 30 from three point range. That total of 12 threes is second all-time at Roland-Story for team three pointers in a game.
A 23-7 advantage in the second quarter broke open an 11-7 first period edge for the Norsemen. Coming out of the halftime break with a 34-14 lead, the R-S girls inched further ahead to lead 48-21 heading into the last frame. The Norse won it going away by 32.
Alyssa Miller and Bridget Concannon both finished with nine points, while Lexi Crutchfield came in with seven. Brittany Hammes posted six points, and Alexa Whipple and Taylor Olson each added five points. Olson and Whipple led in rebounding with nine and seven grabs, respectively. The Norse out-rebounded the home team 46-32. Miller dished off four assists and Clark had three steals. Allyson Ervin led the Hawks with 13 points.
“We did a very good job of moving the ball on offense, which made South Hamilton’s zone chase the ball a lot,” added Coach Morton. “We also did a good job of hitting the offensive glass too, with 16 offensive rebounds on the night. It was nice having this kind of shooting performance going into the break. Now we can focus on the defensive side of the ball some more. If we can improve defensively and limit our opponents to one-shot-and-out we will become a very solid team.”