Published Friday, January 10, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:28 am
BASKETBALL
Norfolk downs G.I. boys, 59-48

To say that Norfolk plays just like their head coach Ben Ries used to in the 1990s, is both an understatement and a compliment. On Friday night, the Panthers had a fully array of scrappiness and unselfishness on display at Grand Island Senior High.

The Panthers, ranked fourth in Class A (Omaha World-Herald), improved to 10-0 with a 59-48 win over Grand Island that included a blistering 21-for-44 performance from the floor and seven 3-points baskets, six from sophomore Brandon Villalpando.

For Ries, who played on three state tournament teams for former GISH coach Dave Oman at Norfolk and starred at the University of South Dakota, it was much of what he has seen from his team all season.

"For the most part, we’ve shot the ball pretty well all season," Ries said. "Our guys have been pretty unselfish, they share the basketball really well and they’ve been fantastic to coach."

Case in point on Friday was leading scorer, Tyler Hagedorn. The 6’8" junior was bottled up pretty well by the Islanders as he had only seven points and made just one field goal, but he finished with teams highs of seven rebounds and six assists.

The teams played even for the most of the game, save two quick spurts for the Panthers that gave them control. They trailed 12-11 late in the first quarter before scoring the final nine points – six on 3-point baskets from Villalpando – for a 20-12 lead, but GISH cut the lead to 28-23 at the half.

"It was a really good start for us," Islander coach Jeff Hofeldt said. "They got that quick run on us but I thought we did a good job in the second quarter and got great play from our bench, especially Colton Stuhr."

The Islander bench scored nine of 11 points in the second quarter with Stuhr scoring four of his eight points and Lane Uhing getting all five of his points in the frame to help GISH cut the lead to five at the break. The lead was down to three when Tanner Shuck scored on a rebound to start the third quarter.

Then, the Panthers game back to life. They went on a 14-4 run over a six minute span to build the lead to 42-29. In typical, Norfolk fashion six different players scored during the game deciding spurt. Ries said the Panthers were finally able to get GISH off the glass midway through the third quarter.

"They had 16 offensive rebounds for the game and that’s a big credit to their kids," Ries said. "They go after missed baskets. I thought once we finally got some rebounds we were able to get out and get some easier baskets in transition."

Pierce Almond led the Islanders with 16 points, but it came on 4-for-13 shooting as he was hounded by a group of Panthers all evening long. Stuhr added seven rebounds to his eight point performance.

"They did a good job on Pierce," Hofeldt said. "But, we’ve got used to the fact that he is going to get the other team’s best defender every game.

"We’ve lost four games by six points or less. We’ve played against some good competition and that is what we want. We’ve got a chance here moving forward to win some games build some momentum for the rest of the season."

The Islanders will host North Platte next Friday and travel to Kearney on Saturday.

NORFOLK (10-0): Villalpando 6-10 1-2 19, Medel 2-2 0-0 5, Hagedorn 1-7 5-6 7, Reedy 2-6 1-2 5, Reestman 5-7 0-0 10, Strom 1-5 1-2 5, McCallum 2-3 2-2 6, Tatum 1-3 0-0 2, Fuelberth 1-1 0-0 2, Larson 0-0 0-0 0, Maas 0-0 0-0 0, McGinn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-44 10-14 59.

GISH (3-8): Almond 4-13 6-8 16, Shuck 1-3 0-0 2, Ja. Morrow 0-3 0-0 0, Chol 3-6 0-0 6, Wojtalewicz 2-3 3-3 7, Bl. Morrow 0-1 0-0 0, Huston 0-4 0-0 0, Biel 2-7 0-0 4, Uhing 2-5 0-0 5, Stuhr 3-3 2-2 8, Root 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 11-13 48.

Norfolk ................. 20 8 17 14 – 59
GISH .................... 12 11 9 16 – 48

3-point goals—N 7-13 (Villalpando 6-8, Medel 1-1, Hagedorn 0-3, Strom 0-1), GI 3-13 (Almond 2-8, Shuck 0-1, Ja. Morrow 0-1, Uhing 1-3). Fouled out – none. Rebounds— N 25 (Hagedorn 7), GI 34 (Chol 8, Stuhr 7). Assists—N 17 (Hagedorn 6), GI 8 (Almond, Ja. Morrow, Huston 2). Turnovers—N 10, GI 12. Total fouls—N 13, GI 16. Technnicals—None.

GIRLS

Norfolk’s Jaycee Bradley made all the right plays at the right time for the Panthers on Friday night as they defeated Grand Island 63-48 for their seventh straight win.

The junior guard recorded a triple double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as Norfolk held off a late Islander (5-6) rally for the win. Teammate Mariah Buchholtz also scored 15 points all in the second half as the two teams combined for 80 points after halftime.

"The sign of a really great player is one who can make her teammates better," GISH coach Alex Michel said after the game. "Bradley makes her teammates better. I thought we controlled her scoring pretty well, but her ability to pass really hurt us."

Her dagger 3-point shot from the left corner put the game on ice for Norfolk, which improved to 8-2. The shot came with 3:22 left after the Islanders had fought back from a 48-25 deficit early in the quarter to cut the lead to 54-43 on Allie Richardson’s free throw with 3:44 remaining.

The Islanders extended their defense while playing catch-up and forced four Panther turnovers in the final frame, but, most importantly, the ball started going in the basket. GISH made their first seven shots in the quarter while going on an 18-6 run over a span of 4:05.

"We’ve kind of been a second half team all season and we were again tonight," Michel said. "We just could not score in the first half. I was proud of our effort and how we stayed together. We started making the easy plays in the second half and it led to some easy baskets."

Sarah Splattstoesser led the Islanders with 13 points, while Leigh Uhing and Libby Norvell added 12 and 11, respectively. Norvell scored nine of her points in GISH’s fourth quarter run.

NORFOLK (8-2): Bradley 5-10 4-5 15, Buchholtz 7-9 1-2 15, Starkel 3-5 2-4 8, Johnson 6-10 0-0 12, Williams 0-2 1-2 1, Heimes 0-1 2-2 2, Ganesbom 1-1 2-2 4, Larson 0-0 0-0 0, Wattier 2-3 0-0 4, Medel 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 0-0 2-2 2, Jensen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-42 14-19 63.

GISH (5-6): Splattstoesser 5-11 1-2 13, Harvey 0-2 0-2 0, Lib. Norvell 4-6 3-5 11, Al. Richardson 1-4 1-2 3, Uhing 6-12 0-0 12, Peterson 0-0 0-0 0, Jacobson 0-1 3-4 3, Lin. Norvell 2-4 0-0 4, Ka. Richardson 0-0 2-2 2, Wells 0-0 0-0 0, Wooden 0-0 0-0 0.

Norfolk ........................ 9 12 25 17 – 63
GISH ........................... 2 8 15 23 – 48

3-point goals—N 1-8 (Bradley 1-3, Buchholtz 0-1, Starkel 0-2, Williams 0-1, Medel 0-1), GI 2-9 (Splattstoesser 2-5, Harvey 0-1, Lib. Norvell 0-1, Uhing 0-2). Fouled out – none. Rebounds—N 22 (Bradley 10), GI 18 (Splattstoesser 7). Assists—N 17 (Bradley 10), GI 6. Turnovers—N 12, GI 17. Total fouls—N 13, GI 15. Technnicals—Grand Island bench.

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