In a championship game setting, Nodaway-Holt's girls basketball team finally broke through.
Dominant through most of the first three quarters, the top-seeded Lady Trojans beat country rival North Nodaway 51-37 Friday night to claim the Northwest Missouri Tournament girls title.
Nodaway-Holt (7-1) had lost its previous five tournament championship games, including one earlier this year to Mound City in the Mound City Tournament.
"It means a lot for the girls to get over that hump," said Nodaway-Holt head David Carroll. "When we played Mound City in the championship game down there, we thought we could do pretty well in that and things didn't work right at the end of the game. We didn't get that one. This means a lot for us. It means a lot for the program."
Nodaway-Holt won all three tournament games by double-figures and its average margin of victory was 21.7 points.
At its best early in the title game, Nodaway-Holt led nearly from start to finish and maintained a double-digit lead from the end of the first quarter on.
The Lady Trojans finished the third quarter up by 21 points before the Lady Mustangs made things a bit interesting in the fourth, drawing within 13 with still more than three minutes left.
North Nodaway (7-3) went scoreless over the final 2:30, preventing the final score from being even closer.
"We're still trying to break in some players and they're a good team," said North Nodaway head girls coach Doug Freemyer. "We weren't ready to play in a game like this because we really haven't played in a game like this except for about three girls. We had a couple girls that were sick, but I'm not making excuses. They beat us."
Nodaway-Holt was just 8-21 at the foul line, but shot much better than North Nodaway from the field until the fourth quarter.
Both all-tournament team selections, junior guard Megan Rosenbohm scored 16 points and senior forward Krysta Beattie was an even greater force offensively, finishing with a game-high 19 points.
Several of Beattie's second half baskets, totaling 11 points, were momentum-breakers for North Nodaway.
"She came on at the end of last year and she's just picked it up this year and kept on going," said Carroll. "She's got confidence and she knows she's going to make it."
Nodaway-Holt also got a bit lift from perimeter threats Amanda O'Riley and Kalli Devers.
Against North Nodaway's 2-3 zone, O'Riley knocked down a first half three and a long jumper to finish with seven points. Devers made a three in the third quarter and chipped in four points.
North Nodaway's leading scorers Cambry Schluter and Leslie Birkenholz endured tough shooting nights and finished with nine points a piece. Freemyer said both were playing through an illness.
Sophomore guard Sam Frueh scored seven points and junior guard Brittany Bix added six points.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game coming in," said Freemyer. "We've become a little bit reliant on our press because we score a lot off of it. We had to learn how to score in the halfcourt tonight which we can, but we haven't had to do it that much. It was just a tough thing because they shot the ball well early and we didn't."
A perimeter-oriented team, North Nodaway made just 2-15 shots in the first half and 6-33 in the first half.
The Trojans connected on 8-15 first quarter shots and 12-25 in the first half.
Nodaway-Holt scored the final seven points of the first quarter and the first five of the second to lead 22-6.
The run included three-pointers by Rosenbohm and O'Riley.
Three points by Frueh and a jumper from Schluter closed the gap to 22-11 with 4:08 left in the half.
It was a 12-point game later in the quarter when Rosenbohm scored four quick points to put the Trojans up 29-13.
A jumper by Bix made the halftime score 29-15.
"We were getting good shots on the perimeter, and I thought we played really good defense," said Carroll. "They were a little cold and they warmed up there at the end. Most of the time, our rebounding was there and we allowed them only one shot, too."
Nodaway-Holt opened the third quarter with a 7-0 spurt to gain a 21-point lead.
This contained a steal and layup by Rosenbohm, a three by Devers and a jumper by Beattie.
A free throw by Gallagher with four seconds left sent the Trojans to the fourth up 44-23.
Nodaway-Holt lost its edge in the fourth quarter trying to work the clock, and North Nodaway caught fire from the outside.
The Mustangs made four straight perimeter shots to open the quarter, two by Bix and one apiece from Schluter and Birkenholz.
Schluter's lone three of the game made it 48-33 and a steal by Erin Greeley under Nodaway-Holt's basket that led to a layup cut it to 13.
Beattie stopped North Nodaway's run with a bank shot and made a free throw with 2:17 left that finished the scoring for both teams.
"At halftime, we talked about no matter what you're not going to quit," said Freemyer. "You're going to keep fighting through this. My old coach was here tonight and he told me 'you guys kind of stuck with them there in the fourth quarter.' Granted, they probably could've pressed and got us to turn the ball over a little bit. Sometimes you got to play a team before you have a chance to compete with them because a lot of our girls hadn't really seen this team with all their personnel."
The next potential meeting between the Mustangs and Trojans is at the Fairfax Tournament the second week of January.
Craig-Fairfax 41 Northeast Nodaway 32 (3rd Place Game)
The Hornets connected on 15 fourth quarter free throws to stave off Northeast Nodaway for third place Saturday.
Craig finished 20-33 at the foul line, while NEN was only 6-19.
Hornet freshman Ryan Hopkins led all scorers with 18 points and was 14-22 at the foul line. Aleesha Ball scored 10 points.
NEN's only double-figure scorer was Taryn Farnan with 16 points.
South Nodaway 47 West Nodaway 31 (Consolation)
The Longhorns delivered their best performance of the Northwest Missouri Tournament in the consolation game, beating West Nodaway 47-31 Friday.
South Nodaway outscored West Nodaway in each of the first three quarters and went to the fourth up 20.
The Rockets scored just 13 points in the first three quarters before erupting for 18 in the fourth.
Allison Hilsabeck and Andrea Henggeler scored 12 points each to lead the Longhorns. Kristen Nielson was also in double-figures with 10.
Marissa Perkins scored 12 fourth quarter points to finish with a team-high 14. Emily Cordell had seven points and Deanna Harvey had six.
By Joey Falkoff firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Joey Falkoff email@example.com
Updated Dec. 16, 2012 @ 9:33 am
» EVENTS CALENDAR
Connect with The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO