The Crofton girls and boys basketball teams tangled with the traditionally tough Ponca squads Tuesday evening.
In the girls contest, the Lady Warriors held on for a 55-47 win.
After opening the game with a 15-8 lead, Crofton (6-2) extended its advantage to 34-20 heading into the break.
Ponca rallied with an 18-11 run, but the Lady Warriors held on for the win.
Lacey Sprakel led the way with 17 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Josie Sanger filled up the stat sheet with 4 points, five rebounds, nine assists, one block and six steals. Alexis Arens tallied 10 points, six boards, three assists and three steals, Kaley Einrem had 9 points, three rebounds, five assists and five steals, Alexis Folkers recorded 6 points, four boards and two steals, Ashley Tramp scored 6 points and Danielle Steffen added 3 points, three boards and two steals.
The Crofton boys were unable to keep up with the defending state champions, and fell to Ponca, 60-46.
After scoring 23 points and 13 points in the first two quarter to keep the deficit at 4, the Warriors lost their offensive mojo and Ponca surged past Crofton (1-5) in the second half, 20-10.
Andy Knapp led the Warriors with 12 points. Payton Bartels collected 11 points and seven rebounds and Steven Mailbaum netted 11 points.
Crofton hosts O’Neill Thursday at 5 p.m. for the Warriors’ final game before Christmas break.
Not even inclement weather could halt the Knox and Antelope county communities from being treated to stellar wrestling.
The Creighton Invitational was rescheduled to Tuesday after the meet was originally postponed a few weeks ago. Despite the change, some of the top teams and wrestlers from the area ascended to Creighton and put on a show Tuesday evening.
“We were really happy we could find a date that we could get all the teams to come,” stated Creighton coach Zac Kliment. “There were a lot of quality teams here. With what we had at Osmond on Saturday and this today, we really are building. We have a lot to learn from today. The competition was great and it gave us a lot to look at.”
Antelope and Knox counties were well represented Tuesday with each county sending three teams to the tournament.
Neligh-Oakdale was the top finishers out of the area teams with a third-place finish in the team standings. Elkhorn Valley was fourth, followed by Creighton and Clearwater/Orchard, and Niobrara/Verdigre placed 13th.
“It was a good meet overall,” added OC coach Dan Roeder. “We finished out of the top five, but we’re turning the corners, look out for us after Christmas break.”
Grand Island Northwest won the team title with 279 points. Battle Creek took second with 232.5 points.
The championship finals kicked off with Northwest’s Grady Arends pinning Elkhorn Valley sophomore Hunter Bennett in the second period at 106 pounds.
Neligh-Oakdale senior Cameron Wilkinson continued his hot start to the season with a first-period pin over OC’s Spencer Kester at 113 pounds. Today’s three wins moved Wilkinson to 13-0 on the year
“I started off on the right foot and I’ve kept on going and kept on winning,” Wilkinson spoke. “I’m going to keep it going from here.”
At 120, EV’s Adam Miller fell to Battle Creek’s Caydon McCracken, 13-2. With the win, McCracken became only the third person in tournament history to win four Creighton Invite individual titles.
Warrior senior Andrew Herley fell in the 138-pound title tilt to Battle Creek’s Damien Kersten, 7-1.
Prestin Vondra got the Falcons their first individual title with an 11-5 decision over Randolph’s Alex Schmit. After surrendering the first takedown of the match, Vondra scored 10 unanswered points to take control of the 145-pound match.
“You have to take advantage of mistakes and you can’t get down on bad things in the match,” Vondra noted. “You have to build from what can happen, push and keep going in the match. You can't do anymore."
The 160-pound title went to Falcon senior Josh McFarland after scoring a second-period pin over Norfolk Reserve’s Austin Miller. McFarland got his offense going early and often with a takedown to start the match, and the senior Falcon cruised to the win.
“I feel like a lot of times whoever gets their offense going and can score that first takedown, determines the rest of the match,” McFarland commented. “Just building your momentum and getting that mindset of getting the first takedown and I got my offense going so I could keep scoring.”
In one of the most anticipated matches of the night, Creighton senior Bryce Zimmerer upended Randolph’s Noah Scott, to capture the 170-pound crown. Zimmerer scored an early takedown and picked up a two-point near fall to claim a 4-0 lead in the first. Escapes by each wrestler and some stellar takedown defense by Zimmerer, led the to the senior Bulldog’s 5-1 decision.
“Bryce led the way today and had a really good match,” Kliment said. “He wrestled a full match, which really tested his conditioning against a good Noah Scott.”
A.J. Hawthorne won the 182-pound championship with a first-period fall over EV’s Brock Schaecher.
OC senior Clay Thiele took home runner-up honors at 195 for the third-straight tournament, after falling to Northwest’s Grady Griess.
After a rough semifinal round, the Warriors got back on track in the consolation semis and finals. Following a 2-7 semifinal round combined record, N-O won 14 of its last 20 matches.
“Semifinals wasn’t too hot for us,” recalled N-O senior Jayden Arehart. “We had to pick it up in the consolation rounds. We picked it up, got some medals and got some big team points.”
Cody Booth (106), Kaleb Pofahl (170), Arehart (182) Dawson Kaup (195) and Colton Klabenes (220) were third for the Warriors. Griffin Cluassen (106), Brock Kester (120), Jose Luna (152) and Conor Dempsey (160) were fourth and Dallas Snyder (138), along with Cade Wilkinson (145), was sixth.
Also placing for the Bulldogs were Cody Hanvey (138) in third, Terance Burrell (195) in fourth, Bode Wortman (152), J.D. Kuhlman (160), Brenden Waldow (182) and Brody Vrooman (285) in fifth and Shane Farnik (126) and Sam Vortherms (152) in sixth.
“Our seniors are the leaders of the team,” Kliment said. “Just like they did in football, they show the guys how everything works in the (practice) room. Today some of our best results were from some of those upperclassmen.”
Crofton/Bloomfield’s William Poppe (132) took third, Tyler Janssen (220) finished fourth and Tyson Sauser (138) placed fifth.
For Niobrara/Verdigre, Hudson Drobny (160) and Trey Sucha (152) led the way for the Cougars with a pin each.
For EV, Christian Yaw (285) placed third, Mitchell Petersen (170) took fourth, Caden Reikofski (220) finished fifth and Hunter Klinetobe (132) was sixth.
The Cyclones’ Codey Snider (182) took fourth, Rafe Grebin (120), Eli Thiele (126) and James Kester (132) finished fifth, while Houston Marino (160) and Logan Mueller (285) were sixth.
“We finally got some of our light guys to get some wins,” Roeber remarked. “That’s what we’ve been working on in the (practice) room. They’re freshmen and sophomores and they need to turn the corner. Maybe this is the confidence boost we need for them to get going.”
Neligh-Oakdale, Elkhorn Valley and Niobrara/Verdigre begin their Christmas breaks, while Creighton travels to Orchard to take on OC Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and Crofton/Bloomfield heads to Wakefield Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
“I’m happy with where we are moving,” Kliment concluded. “We’re still building and those seniors do a really good job out here and keeping everyone in it.”
Hot shooting by the Cougars propelled them to a big road win over Neligh-Oakdale on Tuesday, 58-38.
The 20-point victory came just one night after their thriller with Wausa, a game they won by two on a buzzer-beater.
"I told them last night is last night. It's over, it's done, enjoy it, but we knew we Neligh would be tough and we had to be ready to play," N/V Coach Pat Svec said. "We came out on fire tonight, so it must have been some momentum from last night because we shot the ball really well."
The Cougars were on rapid-fire in the first quarter, scoring 16 points before the Warriors put any points on the board. Twelve of those points came from beyond the arc. Niobrara/Verdigre took a 16-7 advantage at the end of the first and then matched their efforts in the second for a 32-16 halftime lead. Tala Henry scored 8 of her 10 points in the second quarter to boost the Cougars.
Niobrara/Verdigre put up 10 points in the third and 16 more in the fourth to seal the team's third-straight win. The victory improved their record to 6-3 on the season.
"I hadn't seen a lot of film on Neligh, but I told the girls I've seen them play man, I've seen them play zone, but we just needed to move the ball because sometimes we get stagnant with the ball and hold it," Coach Svec said. "I told them we also needed to box out and limit Neligh to one shot as much as we can, and they did a real good job of that tonight."
In a balanced scoring attack, three Cougars finished in double figures. Megan Cook led the team with 13 points, followed by Winona Ware with 11, Tala Henry 10, Makenna Guenther 8, Emily Parks and Chaney Konopasek 6 apiece, and Emerson Randa and Wichiana Grant-Wabasha each with 2.
Niobara/Verdigre will host a holiday tournament on Thursday, Dec. 27, playing St. Edward in the first round. Other teams are Osmond and St. Mary's. The team will travel to Wausa's Post-Holiday Tournament on Jan. 3 for a Knox County rematch.
Coach Svec said these past few wins have given his team some confidence heading into the tournaments.
"I told them it's going to be a process and they've bought in and they're doing what we ask them to do," he said. 'And, so far, it's paid dividends. They're having fun and playing hard."
The Wausa and Niobrara/Verdigre girls and boys basketball teams battled for bragging rights on the hardwood Monday night.
The Lady Cougars fended off the Lady Vikings, 44-42.
N/V (6-3) built a 25-17 lead heading into the break. An 18-11 run by Wausa (1-4) in the third, cut the deficit to 1 heading into the final stanza, but the Lady Cougars held on for the win.
Tala Henry recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Megan Cook tallied 14 points and eight boards, Winona Ware accounted for 9 points and four rebounds and Chaney Konopasek netted 7 points.
Paige Nissen scored a game-high 16 points. Morgan Kleinschmit recorded 9 points and five rebounds, Esther Nelson had 6 points, Clara Schindler accumulated 5 points and four assists and Elizabeth Johnson and Ruth Johnson each added 3 points.
In the boys contest, Wausa edged N/V, 46-36.
A 12-5 run in the first quarter, and 17-8 run in the third quarter, proved to be the difference in Wausa’s third win of the year.
Ghatlin Hegge recorded 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and five blocks to lead the Vikings. Drew Munter contributed a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards, Tyson Kaiser scored 6 points and Ethan Baue added 5 points, five rebounds and four assists.
N/V (2-6) was led by Race Vesely with 10 points and four boards. Logan Reynolds pitched in 6 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Camden Eisenhauer and Ken Justo each netted 5 points.
The Niobrara/Verdigre girls team travels to Neligh today at 6:15 p.m., the boys return to action at the Verdigre Booster Club Holiday Tournament Dec. 27 at 2:45 p.m.
Wausa hosts Boyd County Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
the Creighton girls and boys basketball teams split its Monday evening matchup against Elgin Public/Pope John
In the boys contest, a hot start lifted Creighton to a 54-34 win.
The Dogs jumped out to a quick 30-10 lead in the first half, and cruised to their second-straight win.
Conner Hammer led Creighton (2-5) with 15 points and five assists. Alex Homan netted 12 points, Clay Curtis contributed 8 points, two rebounds, four assists and three steals, Carson Lilly had 6 points and six boards and Brayden Zimmerer pitched in 6 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Kyle Schumacher led the Wolfpack (0-6) with 8 points, seven boards and three assists. Conor Ramold recorded 7 points and five rebounds, RJ Lierman scored 7 points, Colton Wright and Adam Dreger each accounted for 5 points and Blake Ofe had 2 points.
A high-powered offense and stellar defense guided the Elgin Public/Pope John girls basketball team to a 61-17 triumph over Creighton.
The Lady Wolfpack exploded for 34 points in the first eight minutes of play, while holding the Lady Bulldogs to just 2 points in the quarter.
EPPJ (6-1) scored 27 points in the next three quarters play, and held Creighton to 15, including shutting out the the Lady Bulldogs in the third.
Ally Selting led the way with 15 points. Allyson Wemhoff recorded 14 points, seven rebounds and five steals, Kirsten Krebs netted 12 points, Kayce Kallhoff scored 8 points, Grace Rittscher added 6 points, while Harlie Bode, Lexi Bode and Araceli Palmer each had 2 points.
Creighton (3-5) was led by Ashtyn Fritz’s 8 points and five rebounds. Jessica Stevens accumulated 4 points and three steals, Maycee Zimmerer tallied 3 points and Brenna Fanta netted 2 points.
Creighton hosts county foe Bloomfield Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Elgin Public/Pope John welcomes Spalding Academy to St. Boniface Gym Thursday at 4 p.m.
The Creighton Holiday Tournament released the girls and boys brackets earlier today.
The Bloomfield and Boyd County girls game opens the tournament Friday Dec. 28 at 2:30 p.m. at Creighton High School.
The boys contest between the Bees and Spartans tip at 4:15 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Vikings square off at 6 p.m., and the Creighton and Wausa boys wrap up the night at 7:45 p.m.
The girls and boys third-place games take place Saturday Dec. 29 at 2:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., respectively.
The girls title game is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by boys championship contest at 7:45 p.m.
The Crofton girls basketball team held their own, and then some, against the reigning South Dakota Class A state champions, St. Thomas More, but ultimately fell, 48-42, Saturday.
The contest was a back-and-forth battle, consisting of 11 times and 18 different lead changes.
After falling behind in the first, the Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Cavaliers, 11-7, in the second to take a 23-22 lead into the locker room.
Trailing by one heading into the final stanza, St. Thomas More used a 15-8 run in the fourth to rally past Crofton.
Lacey Sparkel led the Lady Warriors with 15 points and six rebounds. Danielle Steffen netted 8 points, Josie Sanger tallied 6 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, Kaley Einrem scored 7 points and Alexis Arens added 6 points and five boards.
Crofton (5-2) hosts Ponca Tuesday at 5:45 p.m.
A third-place finish by Jared Janssen led the Crofton/Bloomfield wrestling team at the Wayne Invitational Saturday.
After dropping his first match of the day, Janssen bounced back to run the table in the consolation bracket and take third.
Conner Tarr (120) and William Poppe (132) each finished fourth, while Yuset Arellanes (170), Hunter Hegge (160), Tyson Sauser (138), Calvin Dather (195) and Hudson Barger (106) also competed for C/B.
Crofton/Bloomfield competes at the Creighton Invitational Tuesday at 3 p.m.
All 11 Creighton grapplers placed for the Bulldogs at the Osmond Invitational Saturday.
Creighton finished in second place, behind Pierce which won the team title. Niobrara/Verdigre was 10th overall.
Three different Bulldogs won an individual title. Cody Hanvey (138), Bode Wortman (152) and Bryce Zimmerer (170) each went 4-0 to claim their respective crowns.
Shane Farnik (120), Brenden Waldow (182) and Easton Pavlik (170) placed second, Sam Vortherms (152) and Terance Burrell (195) were third, R.J. Wilmes (145) and JD Kuhlman (160) took fourth and Brody Vrooman was fifth.
For the Cougars, Emil Brandt (220) finished sixth and Hudson Drobny (152) placed seventh.
Creighton hosts its home invite Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The Creighton boys basketball recorded its first win of the 2018-19 campaign with a 46-43 triumph over Niobrara.Verdigre Saturday, in overtime.
A second-half rally helped force overtime. Trailing, 25-17, the Bulldogs used a 20-12 run in the second half to knot the score at 37 at the end of regulation against the Cougars (2-5).
Alex Homan led the Dogs (1-6) with 10 points. Sam Van Metre tallied 9 points and three steals, Clay Curtis recorded 5 points, six rebounds and two assists and Brayden Zimmerer had 6 points, five boards and two steals.
In the girls game, a fourth-quarter rally guided N/V to a 45-36 win over Creighton.
Trailing 32-27, the Lady Cougars went on an 18-4 run to improve to 4-3 on the year.
Chaney Konopasek led N/V with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and eight steals. Megan Cook recorded 15 points, six rebounds and six steals.
Maycee Zimmerer led all scorers with 23 points. Charlize Wilmes added 4 points and eight boards for the Lady Bulldogs (3-3)
Niobrara/Verdigre hosts Wausa Monday at 6 p.m.
Creighton travels to Elgin to take on the Wolfpack Monday at 6 p.m.