R-S boys knock off conference leader Nevada, cruise by Hawks

Staff Writer
Story City Herald
R-S boys knock off conference leader Nevada, cruise by Hawks

—by Todd Thorson

The Norsemen boys picked up two impressive conference victories last week, downing Nevada and South Hamilton in rather easy fashion to improve to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the HOIAC. The Norse continued to play tough defense on their opponents, holding the Cubs and Hawks to 37 and 45 points, respectively. The Norse currently rank 17th in the state in total defense, giving up just 47 points a game through seven contests. And according to Coach Darrin Berggren, if the Norsemen continue to keep teams under 50, they should “have a chance to win a lot of games this year”.

R-S 55, Nevada 37

Coming into the big game at Nevada last Tuesday (Dec. 16), the Cub were undefeated in the conference (4-0) and the Norsemen were 3-1 in the HOIAC. It appeared the contest would be a tight one on paper, but the Norse quickly took command by getting off to a great start, leading 19-5 at the quarter break.

“Nevada has a lot of smaller, quick players and really push the pace and tempo of the game,” said Coach Berggren. “We wanted to slow it down and use our height advantage, and we did a great job of that early on.”

Adam Shorkey and Jerald Fritz scored six and five points, respectively, in the opening period. Colin Greene and Tyler Hovick both nailed three pointers when the defense collapsed, and the Norse had their early stronghold.

But in the second quarter, Nevada got back in it with a 7-2 run to start the period. The Norsemen countered, however, with a 13-2 run of their own to lead at halftime 34-14. Shorkey finished the first half with 14 points, Greene had eight and Fritz seven.

“Nevada had been averaging over 60 points a game, so to hold them to 14 in the first half was a great team defensive effort,” stated Berggren.

In the second half Nevada came out pressing and tried to push the pace. The Cubs managed to cut into the lead, trailing by only 38-25 with three minutes left in the third quarter. But the Norse were able to curb the momentum once again, scoring the next seven points to push the lead back to 20. Heading to the final period the Norsemen led 45-28. Nevada chipped away some more, however, cutting the lead to 13 at 50-37 with four minutes remaining. But that would be the last points the Cubs would score, as the Norse defense held them to zero points in those final four minutes to enable the visitors to win by 18.

Shorkey and Fritz both finished the game with double-doubles. Adam scoring 20 and grabbing 12 rebounds. Jerald posted 10 points and hauled down 10 boards. Greene finished with 11 points as three Norsemen scored in double figures. Hovick posted six points and dished off eight assists. And Alex Teig and John Barclay each tallied four points. Cole Gidel led Nevada with 18 points. Only 20 total fouls were called combined, as the Norse committed 11 touches and the Cubs had only nine whistles.

“We did a great job of executing on offense and getting great shots,” concluded Berggren. “We really handled their pressure well and had our season-low for turnovers. Tyler (Hovick) had a great game at point guard, really controlling the tempo of the game. It was a great win and kept us one game out of first in the conference.”

The Cubs went on to lose by 20 af Gilbert, 68-48 on Friday night.

R-S 65, South Hamilton 45

Tied for second place in the HOAIC, the Norse took on their rivals, the South Hamilton Hawks (1-5) at Jewell Friday night, in their final contest of 2014. Always a tough place to play at Jim Marsh gymnasium, the first quarter went back and forth with neither team taking command. By quarter’s end the Norse held just a 13-11 lead. But the second period was a different story, as the Norsemen clamped down defensively, holding the Hawks to just three points the entire quarter. A John Barclay layup off a beautiful assist by Adam Shorkey at the buzzer pushed the R-S lead to 27-14 at the break. Tyler Hovick led the Norse with nine first half points.

In the third quarter South Hamilton came out and tried to push the pace once again, pressing and pushing the ball up the floor. But the Norsemen staved off the effort, maintaining their 13 point edge heading to the final frame, 40-27.

The fourth quarter was again a fast paced affair, with the Norse stretching their lead. By the end of the game the visitors had outscored the home team 25-18 in the final period to win by 20, 65-45.

“We again did a great job of handling the pressure and finished the game with only six turnovers,” stated Coach Berggren.

Tyler Hovick added 13 more points in the second half to finish with 22 on the night to lead the Norsemen. Alex Teig scored nine in the second half to finish with 12 points. Adam Shorkey also finished in double figures, scoring 12 points as well. Colin Greene finished with six. Nine different Norsemen scored in the game.

“We showed great balance,” stated Berggren. “We had great contributions off the bench tonight from Alex Teig and Brandon McCoy.”

McCoy finished with four points. John Barclay had three points, followed by Colten Arnold, Aren Halleland and Jerald Fritz with two points each.

“We did a great job of taking what the defense gave us, and we were very efficient on offense, shooting 57 percent from the field and having a season low in turnovers,” concluded Coach Berggren. “That moves us into the break at 6-1 and 5-1 in the conference, tied with PCM for second place. I have been really pleased with the way our guys have played hard and played together so far this season. We have a very balanced team and have done a great job of executing on offense and taking what the defense is giving us.”