GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — The Grand Island Northwest boys finished Saturday’s game on a 25-11 spurt to pull away from York 64-42 Saturday night.
The Dukes (10-1) scored only 24 points on field goals. Free throws kept York in the contest, as it went 13 of 17 from the line in the first half to stay within seven at intermission. But Northwest’s defense cut down on its fouls in the second half, and those opportunities at the line began to evaporate.
“The main thing we emphasized at halftime was to play smarter on the defensive end and keep them off the line,” Vikings coach Ryan Rathke said. “We had to be more disciplined and quit giving them chances to score. I thought we did a lot better job in the second half.
“We got our transition game going better, because it’s hard to run the court when they’re always shooting free throws.”
Darrek McNelis led Northwest with 19 points.
“We got a lot of production offensively from different people,” Rathke said. “We were able to get tempo in our favor in the second half, and that helped us match their shooting in the third quarter.
“One of the keys for us was playing hard on the boards. Last night we didn’t do a very good job. We limited their second shots, and we were able to convert our opportunities inside.”
GI Northwest girls 53, York 40
Class B No. 7 Grand Island Northwest started strong and held off a second-half surge Saturday.
The Vikings (10-1) scored the first 18 points of the night. York finally got on the board, scoring twice in the final two minutes of the first quarter, but Northwest’s McKenzie Brown grabbed a rebound and went the length of the floor for a bucket and a 20-4 Viking lead.
“Starting strong was a point of emphasis tonight,” Northwest coach Mike Herzberg said. “We had kind of a slow start last night, and we wanted to get our best effort at the start of the game. We did a lot of things well early, and I’d say we got what we asked from the girls.”
The story of much of the game was the same — the Dukes having long offensive possessions that more often than not resulted in single shot opportunities before the Vikings rebounded and went the other way with the ball.
Brown led the Vikings with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Hannah Riley topped York with 22 points.