The championship of the Litchfield Thanksgiving Tournament was decided the night before, but there was still a lot to play for when Nokomis and Staunton squared off on Saturday, Nov. 27, at Simmons Gymnasium. Both teams had only lost once at the tournament, to champion Carlyle, meaning that the winner of Saturday’s game would take second.
The game would go down to the final minutes, with Staunton hitting four key free throws late to sew up a 49-44 win and the runner-up spot.
The first quarter would be back and forth, with Nokomis feeding junior Audrey Sabol for their first six points. Staunton countered with a slashing attack by Ele Feldman, who had two old fashioned three-point plays in the first four minutes as the game stood tied at a half dozen apiece.
Staunton would score the next four points, but Nokomis closed out the quarter with five in a row to take an 11-10 lead after eight minutes.
The two teams traded leads in the first two minutes, with Staunton taking a 15-13 lead with 5:40 to play in the first half on a Brooke Kinder three. With the Bulldog defense trying to clamp down on Sabol inside, Hailey Engelman took advantage of her offensive chances. Engelman had seven points in the quarter, the last of which was the first of two straight threes from her and teammate Addison Dangbar.
Emily Cress added in a bucket on an offense rebound to cap off a 12-0 run by the Redskins that allowed them to build up a 25-15 lead. Staunton would score the final three points of the second quarter, but Nokomis still led by seven, 25-18, at the break.
Staunton came out in the second half with an added defensive intensity as they doubled down on Sabol and pressured the Nokomis ball handlers. Sabol would still get her points, netting nine in the second half, but all but two came from the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs chipped away at the Nokomis lead late in the third quarter, getting a pair of free throws from Lilly Bandy and a two from Caidy Tuetken to make it a one-point game. Emma Sneddon hit a free throw to up that advantage to two, but Feldman tied the game in the final minute to make it 34-34 going into the final frame.
Feldman scored again to give Staunton their first lead in more than 13 minutes and Savannah Billings added a two to increase the lead to four. The Bulldogs continued to hold a two possession lead for much of the fourth quarter, going up by five with 1:55 to play on a steal and score by Kinder.
Nokomis wasn’t done yet, though, as Emily Cress hit a three in the next possession and Staunton missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to give the Redskins the ball back. Emma Sneddon cut the lead to one on a free throw after Feldman’s fifth foul (she’d leave the game with 17 points) and Cress picked off the in-bounds pass to give Nokomis a chance at taking the lead.
But Staunton would come up with a steal as the Redskins tried to get the ball underneath, then Tuetken and Bandy salted away the contest with four straight free throws in the final 24 seconds to come away with the win.
Sabol finished with 17 points to tie Feldman for the game-high. She was 7-of-12 from the free throw line for the game, including a 4-for-4 performance in the fourth quarter, and earned all-tournament honors for the event.
Hailey Engelman added in 11 points with Emily Cress (7), Emma Sneddon (6) and Addison Dangbar (3) also scoring for the Redskins.
Nokomis won’t have to wait long to get back on track as they take on Greenville on Monday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Litchfield
Litchfield Thanksgiving Tourney
Nokomis 11 14 9 10 44
Staunton 10 8 16 15 49
Nokomis (44) - Audrey Sabol 17, Hailey Engelman 11, Emily Cress 7, Emma Sneddon 6, Addison Dangbar 3. Totals: 15-37 10-20 44.
Staunton (49) - Ele Feldman 17, Caidy Tuetken 13, Savannah Billings 8, Brooke Kinder 5, Lilly Bandy 4, Haris Legendre 2. Totals: 18 10-14 49.
Three-point field goals: Nokomis 4-18 (H. Engelman 2, Dangbar 1, Cress 1); Staunton 3 (Kinder 1, Tuetken 1, Billings 1).
Records: Nokomis (3-3); Staunton (5-2).
22nd Annual Litchfield High School Girls Basketball Round Robin
Saturday, November 20
• Nokomis 72, Southwestern 22
• Litchfield 53, Carlyle 25
Monday, November 22
• Carlyle 63, Nokomis 42
• Staunton 49, Southwestern 29
Tuesday, November 23
• Carlyle 58, Southwestern 21
7:30 p.m. - Litchfield vs. Staunton
Friday, November 26
6 p.m. - Staunton vs. Carlyle
7:30 p.m. - Litchfield vs. Nokomis
Saturday, November 27
1 p.m. - Litchfield vs. Southwestern
2:30 p.m. - Staunton vs. Nokomis
All-Tournament Team: Audrey Sabol (Nokomis), Hannah Nixon (Southwestern), Savannah Billings (Staunton), Haris Legendre (Staunton), Emma Meyer (Carlyle). MVP: Sophia Hoffman (Carlyle).
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here