Clearwater-Orchard's girls saw their six-game losing skid come to an exciting end on Tuesday in Orchard.
The Cyclones took down Creighton in a thriller, 36-35. The Clearwater-Orchard defense locked down in the first half, allowing just nine Bulldog points to take a 25-9 halftime lead. Creighton mounted a second-half charge, outscoring the Lady Cyclones 26-11, but Clearwater-Orchard was able to hang on in the final moments for the win.
Grace Rittscher and Brooklynn Chipps posted nearly identical stat lines in leading the Cyclones to the win. Each posted 11 points and pulled in nine rebounds while shooting 33 percent from the floor. Taylor Sanne added four more points, while Katie Stearns pulled in six rebounds. Allison Kerkman and Avery Cheatum recorded five boards, each.
The boys completed the sweep for the Cyclones, holding Creighton to nine second-half points en route to a 60-36 victory. Things looked to be on shaky ground at the break as O-C trailed 27-24, but they charged out of halftime with a 21-point third quarter.
As a team, Clearwater-Orchard shot 53 percent from the floor. Four Cyclones finished in double figures, led by Jacob Long's 18 points. Blake Hoke added 15, Ryan Wilhelm had 13 and nine rebounds and Liam Odell finished with 10. Those four kept Chris Kester busy as he dished out four assists along with pulling in seven rebounds.
One of the more challenging meets on Neligh-Oakdale's schedule every year is the Amherst Invite. However, don't tell that to the Warriors.
Neligh-Oakdale's wrestlers were up to the challenge on Saturday, finishing third as a team thanks to seven medalists. Three of those medalists, Brock Kester, Cameron Wilkinson and Andrew Herley, finished as champions in their respective weight classes.
Kester took home the top medal at 106 pounds, putting away Plainview's Eli Lanham in the championship match. Wilkinson pinned all four of his opponents, including Sam Tourney of Shelton in the finals, for the 113 pound gold. Herley also pinned all three of his opponents, in a total of 4:55 seconds on the mat, to take the 132 pound medal.
Kaleb Pofahl earned runner up, Cade Wilkinson and Jayden Arehart each took third and Dawson Kaup finished in fourth.
Amherst Invite 2018 Results for Neligh-Oakdale
106 Cody Booth (2-5) place is unknown.
Clearwater-Orchard wrestlers have plenty to be proud of after a strong showing at the Winside Invite on Saturday.
The Cyclones finished third in the team race at the 12-team meet, fueled by two first-place finishes. Clay Thiele once again earned the gold medal at 182 pounds, pinning Winside's Michael Jensen and Osmond's Alexis Solorzano. Tommie Peed took the championship at 285 pounds as well, earning four victories on the day.
49th Winside Invite Results for Clearwater/Orchard
106 Spencer Kester (4-12) placed 4th and scored 7.00 team points.
Elkhorn Valley wrestling's impressive season continued on Saturday, as they came away with seven medals and a runner up team finish against a field made up of Class B and C teams in Central City.
The Falcons earned three championship medals courtesy of Dillon Stewart, Darren Stewart and Josh McFarland. Dillon Stewart earned his with an 11-0 win over Grayson Fries of Northwest in the 120 pound championship. Darren Stewart pinned Fairbury's Logan Slater to take the 138 pound gold. McFarland pinned all three of his opponents on the way to the 145 pound first place medal.
Prestin Vondra and Shawn Klinetobe took third place in their respective divisions while Hunter Bennett and Adam Miller each finished in fourth.
Central City Invite Results for Elkhorn Valley
106 Hunter Bennett (14-8) placed 4th and scored 10.00 team points.
Another tournament, another medal for Elgin Public/Pope John's Logan Henn.
Henn's fantastic season continued at the Burwell Invite as he took third place at 126 pounds to lead the Wolfpack. He started the day with a pin over Ainsworth's Ty Conroy before a loss to Gage Krolikowski of Valentine sent him to the consolation bracket. He then battled back with two decision victories, including a 6-4 win over Cristian Carranza of Cross County to earn the third place medal.
Results for Burwell Invite - Elgin Public/Pope John
113 Jordan Lindgren (1-10) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
The Neligh-Oakdale basketball teams went 1-1 on the road against Stuart on Saturday.
The N-O girls fell in a hard-fought contest, 49-38, while the boys edged out the Broncos in a defensive battle, 34-26.
It looked like the Lady Warriors were going to close the gap in the third quarter when they pulled within four points heading into the final quarter, 39-35. Unfortunately, they struggled to get their offense going in the fourth, and were unable to get any closer.
Bailey Frey led the team with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, followed by Paige Furstenau with 8 points, Trinity Kurpgeweit 6, Brooke Frey 5, Rachel Higgins 4, and Haley Kerkman and Claire Whitesel with 2 each.
N-O 6 12 17 3 38
Stu 12 13 14 10 49
In the boys game, there was a lot more defense than offense, with the Warriors trailing 15-9 at halftime. Things started clicking a little better in the second half and the N-O boys went on to pick up a 34-26 win.
The Neligh-Oakdale boys and girls will host Osmond on Tuesday night, starting at 4:30 p.m. with the JV girls playing two, 6-minute quarters. The JV boys will play two, 8-minute quarters, and the varsity games will follow.
Elkhorn Valley had hoped for a better finish when they hosted West Holt on Saturday, but it wasn't meant to be.
The girls fell to the Huskies 73-37. The Falcons struggled to keep up from the opening tip, trailing after one quarter 31-14 and unable to pull back into the game.
Elkhorn Valley shot just 27 percent from the floor. Hannah Ollendick had 15 of the 37 Falcon points. Sierra Rystrom added nine and Amber Miller and Haley Fleetwood each added two.
It was a similar result for the boys, as they managed just two first-quarter points in a 76-35 loss. They did pull out a strong second quarter, dropping in 17 points, but they couldn't keep the momentum going in the loss.
Braedyn Ollendick had a team-high 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Brandon Evans and Brayden Effle added five points, each.
Clearwater-Orchard entered Friday night determined to get back into the win column, but unfortunately had the tough boys and girls of West Holt in their way.
Against the Huskies, the Cyclone boys battled shot-for-shot for the first half, entering the break knotted up at 22 all. However, West Holt came out firing in the second half, outscoring O-C 34-21 to put Clearwater-Orchard away 56-43.
The Cyclones kept in the game thanks to a double-double performance from Ryan Wilhelm, who 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jacob Long led all scorers with 15 points, going 7-of-13 from the floor.
The girls game produced similar results for Clearwater-Orchard. The Cyclones jumped out to a 16-10 lead after one quarter of play, but they were unable to keep the scoring up, posting just 12 points over the rest of the game, leading to a 70-28 loss.
Brooklynn Chipps led the Cyclones with 11 points. Katie Stearns added seven and Allison Kerkman pulled in a team-high eight rebounds.
While the boys rested, the Elgin Public/Pope John girls kept themselves busy, racking up two more wins on Friday and Saturday over a pair of O'Neill teams.
On Friday, the Wolfpack turned up the throttle after the first quarter in a 62-26 win over St. Mary's. After one quarter, the two teams battled close, with EPPJ leading just 20-16. However, over the next three quarters, the Wolfpack outscored the Cardinals 42-10 en route to the win.
Three Wolfpack ballers ended the game in double figures, led by 13 points from Allyson Wemhoff. Calli Krebs added 11 points and Lydia Behnk added 10. Paige Meis pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
The next night, O'Neill came to town for an exciting match up. The Eagles led 8-7 after one quarter of play, with the Wolfpack taking a 26-21 into the half. The Eagles won the third quarter 11-9, before a 15-7 fourth quarter in favor of the Wolfpack locked up the 50-39 win for EPPJ.
Krebs was on fire against the Eagles, knocking down a team-high 15 points. Meis added 11 while Kaylee Martinsen and Wemhoff added eight and seven points, respectively. Martinsen also pulled in a team-high nine boards.
The Neligh-Oakdale girls and boys fates against Plainview were both decided late in the game, with the boys going into overtime.
In the final minutes of the girls game, just as the Lady Warriors got within striking distance, Plainview was able to pull away for the 44-32 win.
Paige Furstenau led the N-O girls with 15 points, followed by Brooke Frey with 5, Bailey Frey 4, and Rachel Higgins, Claire Whitesel, Kenzi Tschirren and Trinity Kurpgeweit each with 2.
N-O 4 7 8 13 32
Plv 0 19 8 17 44
In the boys matchup, the Warriors kept a narrow lead for most of the game, but the Pirates outscored them in the fourth to tie up the game, 34-34, at the end of regulation. Neligh-Oakdale came out firing in overtime and clutch free throws by Cole Belitz and Austin Rice put the game out of reach as they rolled to a 48-42 victory.
Belitz led all scorers with 25 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Rice put up a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Other scorers for the Warriors were Julien Hearn with 5 points, Nate Buck 4, and Isiac Kurpgeweit 2.
N-O 8 14 7 5 14 48
Plv 11 10 2 11 8 42
Neligh-Oakdale hits the road again Saturday as they head to Stuart.
While much of the attention was on the varsity wrestlers in Tilden last night, the youth wrestlers were ready to put on a show as well.
Youth wrestlers from Neligh-Oakdale, Elkhorn Valley and Clearwater-Orchard got to experience a big-time dual feel as they took the mat in between the matches of the Elkhorn Valley Triangular.
A trip to North Central on Thursday was not the friendliest of drives for Clearwater-Orchard as both teams fell to the Knights.
The girls started the night off with a 61-13 loss. The Cyclones managed just 23 shot attempts on the night as the North Central defense made it difficult for Clearwater-Orchard from the opening tip.
Katie Stearns led the way with five points. Grace Rittscher added four while Allison Kerkman and Elly Herley added two points, each. Rittscher pulled down a team-high four rebounds. Kerkman, Stearns, Julia Thiele and Taylor Bolling added two rebounds each.
The boys played neck-and-neck with the Knights for much of the night, but a poor third quarter proved to be the difference maker in a 56-50 loss. Both teams entered the half locked up at 25. However, the Cyclones came out of the break slow, with the Knights taking a 15-8 run into the fourth quarter before holding on to the win.
Clearwater-Orchard kept in the game thanks to another strong performance from the trio of Ryan Wilhelm, Jacob Long and Blake Hoke. Wilhelm led the way with a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds. Long added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Hoke finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Liam Odell was also a big factor with a nine point, eight rebound showing. Chris Kester dished out five assists.
Neligh-Oakdale wrestlers got a primer before a tough weekend meet on Thursday as they traveled to Ainsworth for a dual.
The Warriors and Bulldogs went head-to-head in four matches on the night, splitting the series 2-2.
The wins came from Andrew Herley, who pinned Caden Swanson at 132 pounds, and Cade Wilkinson, who took down Colt Temple at 145 pounds with a pin of their own. Caleb Payne and Jose Luna also hit the mat. Payne fell to Oren Pozehl at 138 pounds and Luna was unable to top Ty Richardson at 152 pounds.
Results for Neligh-Oakdale vs Ainsworth Dual
132 Andrew Herley (Neligh-Oakdale) over Caden Swanson (Ainsworth) (Fall 0:37)
138 Oren Pozehl (Ainsworth) over Caleb Payne (Neligh-Oakdale) (Fall 1:44)
145 Cade Wilkinson (Neligh-Oakdale) over Colt Temple (Ainsworth) (Fall 4:27)
152 Ty Richardson (Ainsworth) over Jose Luna Duran (Neligh-Oakdale) (MD 16-3)
All eyes were on Tilden last night as Elkhorn Valley hosted the first meet back from break in the Elkhorn Valley Triangular.
The Falcons welcomed Osmond and Clearwater-Orchard to town. They started off the night against the Tigers, winning the team battle 63-0. Only three head-to-head matches took place, with the Falcons taking all three. Shawn Klinetobe started the meet off with a pin against Alexis Solorzano at 195 pounds. Adam Miller got the win at 120 pounds by pinning Alexander Heiman and Prestin Vondra squeezed out an 8-6 victory over Colton Beacom at 138 pounds.
During the break, the seniors were recognized for parents night. Dillon and Darren Stewart as well as Klinetobe were honored with their parents.
Osmond then took on Clearwater-Orchard, with the Cyclones getting the 54-18 win. Zach King fell via pin to Solorzano at 195 pounds, Heiman topped Rafe Grebin at 120 pounds and Beacom pinned Joseph Ferris at 138 pounds.
The final match up of the night took place between the Falcons and the Cyclones. EV took a slight 38-30 win thanks to five head-to-head wins.
At 106 pounds, Hunter Bennett topped Spencer Kester via pin. Vondra did the same, taking down James Kester. Josh McFarland earned his 100th career victory when he took down Eli Macke by a pin at 152 pounds. Mitchell Petersen earned a tech fall win at 160 pounds over Houston Marino. Brock Schaecher earned the final Falcon win at 170 pounds when he topped Codey Snider in a thrilling match, 7-3.
Clearwater-Orchard finished with wins from Donaven Nolze at 220 pounds over Caden Reikofski and Clay Thiele over Shawn Klinetobe at 182 pounds.
Results for the Elkhorn Valley Triangular
195Shawn Klientobe (Elkhorn Valley) over Alexis Solorzano (Osmond) (Fall 1:59)
120 Adam Miller (Elkhorn Valley) over Alexander Heiman (Osmond) (Fall 2:53)
138 Prestin Vondra (Elkhorn Valley) over Colton Beacom (Osmond) (Dec 8-6)
195 Alexis Solorzano (Osmond) over Zach King (Clearwater/Orchard) (Fall 5:53)
120 Alexander Heiman (Osmond) over Rafe Grebin (Clearwater/Orchard) (Fall 0:45)
138 Colton Beacom (Osmond) over Joesph Ferris (Clearwater/Orchard) (Fall 0:49)
220 Donaven Nolze (Clearwater/Orchard) over Caden Reikofski (Elkhorn Valley) (Fall 1:09)
106 Hunter Bennett (Elkhorn Valley) over Spencer Kester (Clearwater/Orchard) (Fall 1:40)
132 Prestin Vondra (Elkhorn Valley) over James Kester (Clearwater/Orchard) (Fall 2:40)
152 Joshua McFarland (Elkhorn Valley) over Eli Macke (Clearwater/Orchard) (Fall 3:58)
160 Mitchell Petersen (Elkhorn Valley) over Houston Marino (Clearwater/Orchard) (TF 22-5 4:04)
170 Brock Schaecher (Elkhorn Valley) over Codey Snider (Clearwater/Orchard) (Dec 7-3)
182 Clay Thiele (Clearwater/Orchard) over Shawn Klientobe (Elkhorn Valley) (Fall 3:42)
Thanks to a big night by one of their star players, the Elkhorn Valley girls notched another victory for the win column.
Hannah Ollendick dropped in a 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Falcons, all while dishing out four assists and coming away with six steals to lead EV to a 69-33 win over Wausa.
The Falcons shot 46 percent from the floor, including 9-of-19 from Ollendick. Sierra Rystrom and Amber Miller combined to go 9-of-18 while posting 12 points each. Miller also dished out six assists and Olivia Nall pulled down six rebounds.
Despite a strong performance from one of their own, the boys weren't able to duplicate the feat in a 60-51 loss. They started strong, leading 25-23 heading into halftime, but the third quarter proved fatal as they allowed the Vikings to win the quarter 19-9 and hold on for a win.
Brayden Effle posted a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor. Kalen Dittrich added 16 points while Brandon Evans and Braedyn Ollendick each dished out four assists.
Make it six straight for the hot-shooting Clearwater-Orchard boys.
The Cyclones extended their win streak to six games, topping Plainview 67-55 on Tuesday night in Orchard.
The Cyclones were in control for much of the game thanks to a fast start in the first quarter, going up 18-6 before heading into the break ahead 28-19.
The win was fueled by four Cyclones reaching double figures in scoring, led by 16 from Jacob Long. Blake Hoke added 15, Ryan Wilhelm had 12 and Liam Odell had 10 as Clearwater-Orchard shot 52 percent from the floor. Under the net, it was Wilhelm leading the way with eight rebounds followed by seven from Odell. Chris Kester dished out four assists and Kirby Willats had three more.
The girls weren't able to add a win of their own, falling to the Pirates 46-31.
The loss came despite a strong effort from Brooklynn Chipps, who had a team-high nine points and 15 rebounds. Julia Thiele and Grace Rittscher each added six points with Rittscher pulling in an additional 11 boards. Allison Kerkman had a solid performance on defense, finishing with five steals.
It took a bit longer than they had hoped, but Elgin Public/Pope John's boys now have a win on the board.
The Wolfpack earned their first win of the year on Tuesday when they took down Spalding Academy 35-33. The Wolfpack led for most of the game, taking a 17-10 lead into the break before finishing out the win.
Kyle Schumacher led the way for EPPJ, going 6-for-13 for 12 points. Hunter Reestman added 10 points and Liam Heithoff and Ashton Evans each recorded four. Evans also added a team-high six rebounds.
Earlier in the night, the girl set EPPJ up for the sweep with a dominant 60-29 win over the Shamrocks. The Wolfpack had the game in control from the opening tip, leading 13-5 after the first quarter and eventually pulling away in the second half.
The win came courtesy of a pair of double-digit scoring efforts from Allyson Wemhoff and Lydia Behnk. Wemhoff put down a team-high 17 points while Behnk added in 12. Kaylee Martinsen added nine more for EPPJ. Wemhoff completed the double-double, pulling down 10 rebounds while Behnk had eight.
As a team, the Wolfpack came away with 30 steals. Behnk had seven of those, Kayce Kallhoff had five and Calli Krebs added four.
Clearwater-Orchard didn't wait long to get back to the mat after the holidays, taking part in the Ord Duals Tournament on Friday.
As a team, the Cyclones finished fifth out of the six teams. The Cyclones started the tournament with a loss to eventual champion Northwest. They then fell to Connestoga in the second round before being topped by the host school, Ord. Arlington edged out the Cyclones in the fourth round before O-C was able to get the best of Northwest JV in the final round, 45-30.
Individually, Eli Macke led the Cyclones with three victories on the day at 152 pounds. Codey Snider (170), Donaven Nolze (220) and Clay Thiele (182) recorded two wins each. Houston Marino and Tommie Peed each added another win for the Cyclones at 160 and 285 pounds, respectively.
Ord Holiday Dual Tournament - Clearwater/Orchard - 5th place
Match #1 Round 1 - Northwest defeated Clearwater/Orchard 84-0
The Neligh-Oakdale girls and boys teams each dropped three games in three days during the highly competitive Shootout on the Elkhorn Holiday Basketball Tournament in Wisner.
The girls and boys teams both started the tourney by playing the host teams on Thursday. The Wisner-Pilger teams defended their home court and handed the Warriors their first losses of the tournament.
Wisner-Pilger came out firing in the girls game and jumped out to a 21-9 first quarter lead over the Lady Warriors. Neligh-Oakdale struggled to get an offense going and were unable to keep up. They eventually fell, 69-24.
Scoring for N-O were Paige Furstenau with 6, Rachel Higgins and Brooke Frey each with 4, Haley Kerkman 3, and Bailey Frey and Trinity Kurpgeweit each with 2. Claire Whitesel added 4 assists.
W-P 21 15 24 9 69
N-O 9 4 5 6 24
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the boys game was much of the same as Wisner-Pilger led 18-7 after one quarter and 40-14 at the half. The Gators continued to keep the Warriors at bay in the second half and won 66-28.
Scoring for the Warriors were Hunter Charf and Austin Rice with 10 each, Cole Belitz with 4, and Nate Buck and Garret Belitz with 2 each. Rice grabbed 8 rebounds in the contest.
W-P 18 22 14 12 66
N-O 7 7 4 10 28
On Friday, the Lady Warriors fell to Winnebago, 71-53, while the boys dropped a 57-41 game to Battle Creek, one of the top teams in Class C2.
The first quarter of the girls game ended in a tie, 13-13, but Winnebago had other plans and scored 30 points in the second quarter to lead 43-31 at the break. There were 36 fouls between the two teams in the first half in an extremely physical game. Neligh-Oakdale couldn't overcome the scoring deficit in the last half and fell to Winnebago, 71-53.
Trinity Kurpgeweit led the Lady Warriors with a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Paige Furstenau with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Other scorers were Bailey Frey and Jaclynn Hixson with 6, Claire Whitesel 5, Brooke Frey 4, Haley Kerkman 2, and Kenzi Tschirren 1. Kerkman also swiped 4 steals in the matchup.
Winn 13 30 15 13 71
N-O 13 18 8 14 53
In the boys game, Battle Creek got off to a quick start, taking a 19-7 first quarter lead. The Warriors battled back, but couldn't close the gap, falling 57-41
Cole Belitz led the Warriors with 14 points, 4 assists and 2 steals, followed by Austin Rice with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Other scorers were Julien Hearn 8, Nate Buck 5 and Hunter Charf 4.
N-O 7 14 9 11 41
BC 19 10 14 14 57
On Saturday, the boys and girls teams both faced Wakefield in their final games of the holiday tournament. The Lady Warriors were defeated, 50-39, and the boys were edged out, 57-46.
The girls teams both got off to a slow start, finishing the first quarter with N-O leading just 4-3. Wakefield came to life in the second and took the lead that they would never relinquish.
Trinity Kurpgeweit again led the team with 10 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Paige Furstenau with 8, Brooke Frey 7, Rachel Higgins and Haley Kerkman 4 each, Bailey Frey 3, Claire Whitesel 2 and Jaclynn Hixson 1. Furstenau also added 3 assists.
N-O 4 7 13 15 39
Wake 3 13 14 20 50
In the boys contest, the Warriors were within reach the entire game, down by just 3 at the end of the first and trailing by 6 at the half. N-O just couldn't cut down the lead and the boys eventually dropped their final game of the tourney.
Cole Belitz again led the way for the Warriors putting up 20 points, 5 assists and 3 steals, followed by Austin Rice with 9 points and 10 rebounds, and Nate Buck with 6 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals. Other scorers were Julien Hearn with 5, Hunter Charf 4 and Tucker Knust 2.
Wake 12 13 15 17 57
N-O 9 10 12 15 46
The Neligh-Oakdale girls and boys will be back in action on Friday, January 5 when they travel to Plainview.
The Madison Holiday Tournament ended in a thriller on Saturday, with Elgin Public/Pope John and Burwell going two extra frames to decide the game.
The Wolfpack and Longhorns traded blows for four quarters with neither team able to take the advantage as they headed to overtime tied at 33. The first overtime didn't prove to be much different, as each team put in four points to send it to an extra, deciding frame. Unfortunately for EPPJ, Burwell was able to pull away in the second overtime for a 44-39 win.
The Wolfpack didn't have their best game from the floor, hitting just 20.3 percent of their shots. However, they still got an incredible performance out of Lydia Behnk, who recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Calli Krebs added six points while Paige Meis and Allyson Wemhoff each put in five. Meis joined Behnk in double digit boards, pulling in 10 rebounds.
The boys also were unable to come away with a win on Saturday, falling to Emerson-Hubbard in the consolation game 47-40. The Wolfpack started strong, ultimately taking a 16-9 lead into the break. However, a 20-13 third quarter in favor of Emerson-Hubbard gave tied the game up and gave them a platform to take the win.
Kyle Schumacher led the Wolfpack attack with 17 points and Conor Ramold added 10. Ashton Evans pulled down a team-high eight rebounds while dishing out five assists.
It took all they had, but Clearwater-Orchard was able to come out on top of their own holiday tournament.
The Cyclones took home the Cyclone Holiday Tournament championship on Friday with a 49-38 victory over Elkhorn Valley. The Falcons jumped out to a quick lead in the first, but O-C charged back to take a 29-15 lead into the break. Both teams traded blows in the second half, but the Cyclones were able to hold on for the win.
Stats for both teams will be added as they become available.
Earlier in the day, the Lady Cyclones also took on Elkhorn Valley, this time in the consolation game. The Falcons took home the victory, earning third place with a 59-31 win. Elkhorn Valley launched themselves to a 16-2 lead after one and cruised for the win.
They were led by Sierra Rystrom's game-high 17 points. They also got an efficient 12 points from Delilah Sierra, who hit 5-of-6 shots. Olivia Nall added eight more. Hannah Ollendick cleaned up on the glass, pulling in nine rebounds. Bri Werner had four assists and six steals while Amber Miller added four assists and four steals.
For Clearwater-Orchard, it was Julia Thiele leading the scoring with eight points. Julian Tuttle added five and Grace Rittscher, Katie Stearns and Brooklynn Chipps each had four. Rittscher, Chipps and Elly Herley each accounted for eight rebounds for the Cyclones.
Things started a bit slow, but Elgin Public/Pope John's girls were able to shake off the Christmas break rust to advance to the Madison Holiday Tournament championship.
The Wolfpack put in an impressive performance on Friday, using an exceptionally strong transition offense to put away the Madison girls 64-24. The Wolfpack outscored the Dragons 33-5 in the second half en route to the win.
Stats will be added as they become available.
The boys weren't quite as fortunate, however. EPPJ battled Madison closely in the first half, entering the break trailing just 16-14. However, they managed just 11 second-half points while giving up 25 as Madison put down the Wolfpack 41-25.
Hunter Reestman led the way with 11 points, with eight of those coming in the first quarter alone. Ashton Evans added five and Kyle Schumacher added four. Reestman added a team-high five rebounds as well.
Thanks to a dominant performance on Thursday, Clearwater-Orchard will have a chance to win their own Holiday Tournament on Friday.
The Cyclones dominated Chambers/Wheeler Central in the first round of the Cyclone Holiday Tournament to advance to the championship game. O-C led 37-25 heading into the break and continued to pour it on in the third quarter, outscoring the Renegades 21-10, en route to a 61-39 win.
As a team, the Cyclones shot 43 percent from the floor, led by 17 points each from Ryan Wilhelm and Blake Hoke. Liam Odell added 13 and Jacob Long and Chris Kester had seven, each. The Cyclones also cleaned up on the boards, pulling in 30 as a team, led by Long's eight. Odell and Wilhelm each added seven.
Clearwater-Orchard will take on Elkhorn Valley in the boys championship on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Earlier in the night, the Lady Cyclones hit the court against the Renegades as well, unfortunately coming out on the wrong end of the scoreboard. They struggled to find the bottom of the net, shooting just 16 percent in a 55-21 loss.
Only two Cyclones were able to hit multiple field goals, Brooklynn Chipps and Allison Kerkman. Chipps finished with a team-high seven points and Kerkman added five more, including one of the two Cyclones 3s. Brooke Knievel had the other. Katie Stearns led the way on the glass, pulling in six rebounds.
Clearwater-Orchard's girls will take on Elkhorn Valley in the consolation round at 3 p.m. on Friday.
After working out the rust from the holiday break, Elkhorn Valley's boys got rolling to advance to the Cyclone Holiday Tournament championship game.
The Falcons held Ewing in check all night in their semifinal battle, taking home a 50-28 victory. They jumped out to an 8-4 lead over the Tigers at the end of the first and never looked back in the win.
A number of Falcons got in on the scoring. Brayden Effle led the way with 10 points. Braedyn Ollendick added nine, Brandon Evans and Kalen Dittrich added eight each and Bryson Anderson accounted for seven. Ollendick also pulled in a team-high nine rebounds while Dittrich and Julio Sierra had seven each.
Defensively, Elkhorn Valley got impressive performances from Sierra and Ollendick. Sierra rejected an impressive six shots while Ollendick came away with seven steals.
The win advances them to the tournament championship at 7:30 p.m.
Earlier in the day, the girls weren't quite as fortunate as they battled the Lady Tigers. The held a slim 14-12 lead after the first quarter, but trailed at half 30-25. The second half saw Ewing pull away to put Elkhorn Valley away 60-47.
The game was a battle, one the Elkhorn Valley held their own in. Hannah Ollendick led the attack with 16 points while Sierra Rystrom and Amber Miller added 14 and 11, respectively. Rystrom pulled in a team-high seven rebounds while Miller dished out five assists.
The Lady Falcons also played some stingy defense, coming away with 27 steals. Miller led the way, using her quick hands to take away eight steals. Ollendick added another seven.
Elkhorn Valley's girls will play in the tournament consolation game at 3 p.m. on Friday.
In 2017, Neligh-Oakdale’s boys basketball team completed the most successful season in school history. The Warriors won 26 games, set numerous team and individual records and made their first-ever state championship appearance, finishing as the C2 runner up.
While many will point to the consistent improvement over the last few years as a reason for the success, the foundation of that team was built years ago with a strong youth basketball program. For years, Jeff Kerkman led a program that included players such as recently graduated Grant White and Tyson Belitz.
Now, the program has been entrusted to Tanner Knutson, another Neligh-Oakdale alum. As an assistant coach for the varsity boys, Knutson was a perfect option to hand the reins over to. When he took over, he asked a couple of guys he trusted to help him out in White, Belitz and Tyler Doerr.
“All three of them love basketball and know basketball, so I knew they would be perfect,” Knutson said.
The four former Warriors take time out of their own busy schedules to put in work with the fifth and sixth graders three times a week. Aside from being an assistant coach for the varsity boys, Knutson also works full time for the City of Neligh. Doerr works for Pierson Wildlife Museum. White and Belitz, both freshmen at Wayne State, travel back and forth to Neligh from Wayne while juggling their busy college schedules.
“These guys sacrifice a lot to help these kids,” Knutson said.
The team practices twice a week, with a game nearly every weekend from November through March. That takes a lot of time and effort, especially when it includes a two-hour round trip. Thanks to classes getting out in the early afternoon, White and Belitz are able to make the trip. They do it because it is important to them to see the young kids build on top of the foundation they themselves set as players.
“I want to see them keep improving and keep the whole tradition of Neligh-Oakdale basketball up,” White said.
Knutson and Doerr often oversee the entire operation of practice while Belitz works with the kids on fundamentals and White works on their shooting. However, there is much more than just basketball skills that the crew works with the kids on.
“Besides fundamentals, we teach them to be good teammates and be encouraging,” Belitz said. “We always tell them that good teammates and good fundamentals will help you in high school.”
The Warrior alumni have developed a great relationship with their players. With Belitz and White finishing with nearly every individual record in Neligh-Oakdale history, they have given the kids plenty to look up and aspire to. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop the kids from taking a few shots at the boys for finishing second last year.
“I feel like they do look up to us, but we try to be pretty approachable, so they still like to take jabs at us,” White said.
Belitz joked, “Usually they give us a hard time. They’re always like, ‘Why did you lose the state championship game?’ We’re like ‘Don’t want to talk about it!’”
While the Neligh-Oakdale grads are working to continue their own legacy, none of them have forgotten the work Kerkman did to get them to the point of having a legacy. Knutson said that taking over the program from Kerkman was an incredible chance.
“It means everything,” he said. “I love coaching and teaching the game that I love. Doing it with Tyson, Grant and Tyler makes it even more special.”
“Jeff was so good to us, so when Grant and I got the opportunity we couldn’t say no. We had to return the favor,” said Belitz.
“Jeff was a really big influence on all of us. I just hope we can be as big of an influence on these kids as he was on us,” White added.