AURORA — In hoops it’s impossible to win if the ball won’t go in.
The ball would not go in for York’s girls in a 49-28 loss to Fairbury Saturday afternoon in Aurora. The teams met on the final day of a Central Conference Tournament that was unkind to Coach Matt Kern’s Dukes, losers to Holdrege and the Jeffs.
The Jeffs were motivated by the desire to strike back after a recent loss to the Dukes.
York went up early, 7-4, when Emma Grenfell snaked in a three after 2-pointers from Erin Malleck and Aleah Rosenau. The Jeffs would have owned the first-period lead had Hannah Riley not hit two free throws in the final 9/10ths of a second, 11-10 Dukes.
Riley scored on a steal with an assist from Grenfell to keep the Dukes up 13-12, then Veronica Botts made it 16-12 with a trey at 4:40 of the second.
Fairbury went on a 4-0 tear to tie it at 16-all and the first half ended in an 18-18 deadlock.
The situation deteriorated quickly in a third quarter that saw the Dukes go ice cold and score just three free throws to 13 points for the Jeffs. York scored more the fourth, but so did Fairbury. The Jeffs won that period big, too, 18-7.
“We couldn’t make a shot the second half,” Kern lamented. He said the Dukes’ tepid offense made it difficult for his team to transition into its defense, too.
“They’re big and long,” Kern said. “We could not get into a press like we did against them at home.”
Credit Fairbury for coming up with a game plan that turned a 12-point loss to the Dukes on Jan. 18 into a 21-point margin of victory Saturday.
The Pollman family, including Jeffs’ sophomore twins Shelby and Sidney, were encountered while enjoying a meal in York on the way home from Aurora. Asked to explain what brought about a 33-point swing the one-word answer came quickly and quietly: “Revenge.”
Shelby Pollman scored 15 for the Jeffs on four 2-pointers, a pair of threes and 1-2 at the line. Seventeen from 6-2 junior Paige Husa led Fairbury on the scoreboard.
Erin Malleck paced the Dukes with 10 points on a pair of 2-pointers and a solid 6-8 free throws.
The bottom line for the Dukes was seven threes, two 2-pointers and 8-14 free throws. Fairbury won behind 15 twos, the pair of Shelby Pollman threes and 13-19 when toeing the stripe.
York (9-7 in Class B) hosts Central City tonight and has games remaining at Lakeview, Seward at home, at Schuyler, Beatrice at home and Holdrege on the road.
The Jeffs (13-6 in Class C1) will host Schuyler this Saturday and visit Seward next Tuesday.
York (9-7) .............. 11 7 3 7—28
Fairbury (13-6) .............. 10 8 13 18—49
Y: V. Botts 2 (1) 0-0 5, H. Riley 2 2-2 6, E. Lee 0 0-2 0, E. Grenfell 1 (1) 0-0 3, L. Harlow 1 0-2 2, E. Malleck 2 6-8 10, A. Rosenau 1 0-0 2. Totals – 9 (2) 8-14 28
F: M. Carellis 1 0-0 2, S. Schmidt 1 0-0 2, J. Cromer 2 0-2 4, Shelby Pollman 6 (2) 1-2 15, J. Johnson 0 4-4 4, J. Sand 2 1-1 5, P. Husa 5 7-10 17. Totals – 17 (2) 13-19 49