By Dustin Henggeler
The North Nodaway Mustangs girls basketball team utilized seven scorers in their 58-32 win over the South Holt Knights.
The Mustangs took an early lead and never looked back for a Courtwarming victory on February 8 in Hopkins.
The first quarter consisted of back-and-forth scoring between the two teams as they felt the other’s defense out. A pair of three-point plays by Kristin Herndon boosted the Mustangs, included an and-one play and stepping to the line for three of three after being fouled from beyond the arc. Those plays helped North Nodaway to a 14-10 lead into the second quarter.
“We’ve had a couple days off this week with the weather so to see us come out here like we did tonight was really good,” North Nodaway Coach Sami Jackson said.”
A hot start by the Mustangs came when Saylor Brown nailed a couple of 3-pointers followed by a third from Herndon as the Mustangs hit a 11-point streak over the course of the first half of the second quarter. The Knights began their scoring midway through the second quarter, but the damage couldn’t be undone as the Mustangs’ lead expanded to 38-16 into halftime.
Herndon scored 17 in the first half.
“She is our emotional leader and our physical leader, and when she plays like she did tonight with how active she was, it’s huge for us,” Jackson said. “That second quarter was huge for us because when one person started to hit we all just sort of fed off of that.”
North Nodaway’s defensive destruction continued to create problems for the Knights, who tried to wreak havoc themselves against the Mustangs with a full-court press. But Jackson had her girls prepared for it and did little damage to their offense. As the game went into the third quarter, the pace quickened and began making the Knights look uncomfortable. North Nodaway capitalized on the opportunity and created several transition possessions including back-to-back layups by Kandace Damgar after producing steals against South Holt. The plays helped North Nodaway double up to a 51-23 lead over the Knights into the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs kept the pedal to the metal in the fourth quarter including a pair of rebounds by Ashley Thompson mid-quarter which became the final nail in the coffin for the Knights who used their next timeout as an opportunity to clear the bench in white flag fashhion. The Mustangs did the same as a sign of respect and varsity sat out the remaining 2:30 of the game as the clock ran out on the 58-32 win for North Nodaway.
The complete game was just the thing Jackson wanted to see from her team with districts just around the corner and she couldn’t be happier with the outcome considering Courtwarming and snow days had the potential to take away much of the focus from the team. She hopes the girls can maintain that same focus for the next few weeks as the regular season comes to an end and districts start up.
Herndon led the Mustangs with 19 points followed by Thompson with 10, Audrey Trimble and Brown with nine points each, Damgar with eight, Jadon Dobbins with two and Keegan O’Riley with one point.