Grand Island Northwest broke out of an early shooting funk as the team was able to head into a 10-day break on the winning side.
The Vikings defeated Gothenburg 51-30 after shooting just 1 of 9 from the field in the first quarter.
Flipping a switch in the second with the help of a strong defensive effort and a few made shots, Northwest cruised to its second straight girls basketball win after dropping a pair of disappointing matchups with Seward and Columbus.
“I think our defensive intensity, especially our full-court ball pressure was really able to wear into their guards,” Northwest coach Rico Burkett said. “We were able to get them sped up a little bit and that was a big part of our game plan, was to really extend the guards and really wear into their guards because we didn’t feel like they had as much depth behind their starters.”
Gothenburg turned the ball over 25 times with the giveaways often helping create offense the other way for the Vikings.
The Vikings hoped to contain entry passes to Gothenburg’s standout post player Gracie Stienike, who finished with 15 points on 18 shots.
“We got some turnovers and that really allowed us to extend that lead and allowed us to get a little bit of confidence,” Burkett said.
Northwest went the first four minutes of the game before Taryn Mayfield gave the team its first field goal. The Vikings then went the next eight and a half without a field goal but it was Mayfield breaking the ice again, this time with a 3-pointer.
Megan Cooper immediately earned another field goal for Northeast after getting a steal and score following Mayfield’s 3-pointer.
Cooper got another basket by cutting and finishing on a pass from Whitney Brown. In the same run, Brown kicked out to Megan Anderson on the next possession and she buried the 3-point shot to give the Vikings a 19-13 lead.
Cooper, Mayfield and Brown all scored again in the 21-point second quarter as the Northwest lead grew to double digits by halftime.
Brown’s second-half performance helped secure the win. After starting missing her first eight shots, she scored 12 points in the second half on 7 of 10 shooting. Brown also finished with a game-high four assists.
“It was really about confidence and my team helping me out and telling me that I can do it and to get the next basket and believe in myself,” she said.
Brown scored on a drive in the third then scored again soon after when Cooper stole the ball as the Swedes tried to advanced the ball. Cooper got the ball down the court to the wide-open Brown for the layup and suddenly the Vikings were up 40-20 after trailing 9-6 at the end of the first period.
Burkett said eventually the ball movement and shot selection improved, opening things up for the Vikings.
“Overall, we had some good shots, especially from the perimeter. We just didn’t make some shots,” he said. “Seeing the ball go through the hoop gave some players some confidence, but we started to make easy plays. We didn’t settle for as many jump shots.”
The Vikings have been able to put a two-game losing skid behind them with back-to-back wins against Lexington and now Gothenburg. One of those losses came on the road to Columbus. That game remains the Discoverers only win on the season and it is one Burkett said has stuck with the team.
“These last two, I thought that we defended and really played with a high level of intensity the way we did early in the year. That’s a positive,” Burkett said. “It’s going to be important that the girls keep working to give us a chance to jump start ourselves in the second phase of our season.”
Northwest will compete at the Doane Holiday Tournament starting Dec. 29.
“We really needed it,” Brown said of the win. “We’re ready for the winter tournament and we’re excited to play.”
Gothenburg.....9 7 9 5—30
Northwest.....6 21 14 10—51
G: Chiara Richeson 0-2, 0-1, 0; Kenzie Graham 1-2, 0-0, 2; N. Kennicutt 2-3, 0-0, 4; Gracie Stienike 6-18, 3-4, 15l Lauren Johnson 0-1, 0-0, 0; Neligh Anderson 0-1, 0-0, 0; Arleigh Costello 3-6, 1-2, 7; Trystan Baker 1-41, 0-1, 2. Totals 13-34, 5-7, 30.
GINW: Whitney Brown 7-18, 3-4, 17; Megan Cooper 4-8, 2-3, 11; Peyton Traudt 0-0, 0-2, 0; Megan Anderson 1-5. 0-0, 3; Skylee Nelson 0-1, 0-0, 0; Emily Stein 2-2, 0-0, 4; Whitney Jensen 1-5, 2-4, 4; Taryn Mayfield 3-8, 3-4, 10; Lindsey Sonnenfeld 0-1, 0-0, 0; Brynna Lewis 1-1, 0-2, 2. Totals 19-44, 10-19, 51.
3-point field goals—G 0-3 (Richeson 0-1, Stienike 0-1, Johnson 0-1), NW, 3-20 (Brown 0-6, Cooper 1-3, Anderson 1-5, Jensen 0-1, Mayfield 1-4, Sonnenfeld 0-1). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—G 28 (Stienike 9), NW 27 (Jensen 11). Assists—G 9 (Costello 3), NW 11 (Brown 4). Turnovers—G 25, NW 11. Technicals—None.
Grand Island Northwest boys 53, Gothenburg 45
In a close game, Northwest was able to find the offense it needed to hold off Gothenburg.
The Vikings (2-5) defeated the Swedes (3-4) 53-45 to end a four-game losing streak and stop a trend of struggling down the stretch in recent games.
Seniors Brady Glause and Riley Schliep combined to score 18 of the Vikings’ 19 fourth-quarter points, their most productive quarter of the contest.
“Gothenburg and us, to have a close ballgame doesn’t shock me,” Northwest head coach Chip Bahe said. “You have to groups of kids that are proud. (Gothenburg) had a big win over (Lexington) and they’ve had other games where they didn’t shoot the ball as well as they wanted to. I thought it was going to be a four-quarter game.
“There were a few times where I thought we could pull away from them but we were never able to land that knockout punch. I was real proud of how the kids made plays down the stretch.”
After three quarters, the team settled very little with the Vikings holding on to a 34-33 lead. Schliep, who finished with a game-high 18 points, had just one basket since the first quarter, while Glause was 2 of 6 on the night.
They both found another gear as Schliep earned two quick post baskets to start the fourth. Glause took a drive down the left side for a score then hit a 3-pointer to put the Vikings up 44-35.
The Swedes had one more 6-0 run in them that cut the lead to one possession. However, Schliep and Glause scored on back-to-back possessions to open up the lead once again.
Glause hit four free-throws in the final minute, finishing with 17 points and sealing the win.
“We’ve said all year that we’ve got to make big shots at the right time,” Bahe said.”I thought we did a couple times...We’re real proud of those guys. They had awfully good games. I’m real proud of a lot of kids. We’ve been working hard.”
The Vikings will play in the Doane Holiday Tournament after a 10-day break in scheduled games.
“It’s a big win going into Christmas. We’ve felt like we’ve played well and just haven’t put one in the win column,” Bahe said.
Gothenburg.....12 9 12 12—45
Northwest.....16 10 8 19—53
G: Brody Stienike 1-1, 0-0, 2; Bennett Folkers 2-7, 4-7, 11; Maguire Bartlett 1-7, 5-6, 7; Owen Geiken 4-7, 0-1, 9; Logan Carlson 1-3, 0-0, 2; AJ Whiting 2-11, 2-2, 6; Josh Olson 4-8, 2-2, 10. Totals 15-44, 13-18, 45.
GINW: Jakson Foight 0-3, 0-0, 0; Carter Terry 1-9, 5-6, 8; Justin Hiser 1-7, 2-3, 4; Brady Glause 5-11,4-6, 17; Riley Schliep 8-12, 2-5, 18; Jeremiah Ivers 1-6, 2-3, 4; Tyler Hageman 0-1, 0-0, 0; Cal Bosard 1-2, 0-0, 2; Caleb Jacobsen 0-2, 0-0, 0. Totals 17-53,15-25, 53.
3-point field goals—G 2-12 (Folkers 1-5, Bartlett 0-2, Geiken 1-2, Whiting 0-2, Olson 0-1), NW, 4-18 (Foight 0-3, Terry 1-4, Hiser 0-1, Glause 3-7, Ivers 0-3). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—G 36 (Folkers, Olson 8), NW 34 (Hiser 10). Assists—G 7 (Geiken 3), NW 8 (Terry, Glause, Ivers 2). Turnovers—G 17, NW 5. Technicals—None.