By Dustin Henggeler
The Nodaway-Holt Trojans girls basketball team fell 29-48 to the East Atchison Wolves on January 11 in the Fairfax Tournament Championship for a second place finish in the week-long tournament.
In the third showdown between the two teams this season, the Trojans entered the matchup Friday night with an 0-2 record against the Wolves with 20+ losses each time. Despite the history, NH came into the championship game with a purpose and drive to come out with a win.
“I was proud of our efforts and thought we played a good first half,” Nodaway-Holt Coach Shawn Emerson said. He added that EA’s pressure eventually got to the girls and led to the demise.
“They’re a well-coached team and know how to pressure the ball,” he said.
The Trojans kept it close in the first quarter, proving they deserved to be in the championship game after a tough week against area opponents. Despite struggles under the rim from EA’s heavy pressure, NH came back from a 2-7 deficit with a layup from Shaina Culp followed up immediately by a three-pointer from Amanda Bohannan to tie things up. The Wolves hit a buzzer-beater to go ahead 10-7 into the second quarter, but the Trojans were in the game.
The Wolves controlled the pace in the second quarter as NH began to looked rushed with their possessions. The increased speed combined with the continued press from EA became too much for NH as transition possessions helped the Wolves run up the score for a 25-13 lead at the half. And EA never looked back.
NH’s effort never waned despite the growing deficit behind EA, proving that Emerson’s squad has the heart. But the Wolves were quick and physical and made things difficult for the Trojans inside the perimeter. EA’s lead grew to 40-18 after the third quarter and a 48-29 final to take the Fairfax Tournament.
A second place finish for NH proves the team has come a long way in a season, from losing in the consolation game last season, to leaving this year with hardware. Emerson isn’t satisfied, though, and said the next couple of weeks would be the true testament to his team’s readiness for districts.
“Over the next two weeks we face Rock Port, South Nodaway, North Nodaway, Jefferson and Mound City,” he said, adding those teams will put his girls to the test with the strong showings they’ve all had this season.
Culp’s battle in the paint had her leading the team with 11 points in the loss. Behind her was Halle Clement with seven, Bohannon with five and Kayelyn Edmondson, Kloe Jenkins and Breanna Day with two points each.
At the conclusion of the Fairfax Tournament, the Trojans stand at 8-4.