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Coming off back-to-back home victories, the Lady Warriors fell to a hot-shooting Niobrara/Verdigre team on Tuesday night, 58-38.
The Cougars scored 16 unanswered points to start the contest before sophomore Paige Furstenau finally cracked the goose egg, going 1-2 at the line with a couple minutes left in the first. Neligh-Oakdale went on a 7-0 run to finish out the quarter with two jumpers by Trinity Kurpgeweit and two more free throws by Furstenau to bring the score to 7-16. Brooke Frey started out the second with a trey, followed by a Haley Kerkman jumper in the lane, but the N/V girls fired right back and converted Warrior turnovers into points. Buckets by Furstenau and Kerkman closed out the half with Neligh-Oakdale trailing, 32-16.
Frey started out the second half with her second three-pointer of the game. Kerkman drained another jumper and Furstenau went 5-6 at the charity stripe to go an even 10-10 with the Cougars in the third for a score of 42-26. In the fourth, Furstenau hit one beyond the arc to start off the scoring. Kerkman added two on a put back before Furstenau and Frey each drained another trey. Riley Martensen went 1-2 at the line to add the last point for the home team.
"Tonight was a learning experience for everybody," N-O Coach Christy Knutson said. "We thought we were totally prepared watching game film, but Niobrara-Verdigre came out and shot lights out. Our girls just need to understand how to finish, to come back, not give up. When things don't start falling, they stop. We need to learn how to finish and just stay mentally tough."
Furstenau led all scorers with a double-double—16 points, half of them coming from free throw shots, and 12 rebounds. Rounding out the scoring was Frey with all 9 of her points coming from three-point land, Kerkman with 8 points, Kurpgeweit with 4 and Martensen with 1.
Neligh-Oakdale (2-5) is off until after Christmas when they return to the court for the Shootout on the Elkhorn Holiday Tournament, Thursday, Dec. 27 at 2:30 p.m. against Ponca.