For the first time in a long time, the Nokomis boys basketball team didn’t start its season with a side of stuffing.
Instead of playing bigger schools like Granite City, Triad and Civic Memorial at the Stovetop Stuffing Classic, the Redskins opted for a new tournament to begin the 2021-22 season, the Kaskaskian Classic in Carlyle.
That change also allowed the Redskins to get a game in before they made their way to Clinton County as they took on Greenville in a triple header (freshman/sophomore, junior varsity and varsity) on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Nokomis scored first on a leaner by Elijah Aumann, but Greenville came back to take the lead on a Jack Schaufelberger three-pointer. Schaufelberger added two more threes later on, but his nine first quarter points would be all Greenville could muster in the opening frame and they would not hold the lead again after Aumann made it 4-3 on a runner in the lane.
A three by Nokomis’ Cooper Bertolino and a two by teammate Noal Himes helped the Redskins up their advantage to 9-6, but the first quarter and the game, belonged to Aumann. The slashing 6’1” guard attacked the rim and the Comets throughout the game, scoring eight points in the first quarter and 27 in the game.
Greenville got within two in the second quarter, 15-13, but Nokomis scored six of the final eight points in a low-scoring quarter to take a 21-15 halftime lead.
The Redskins stretched the lead out to 19 points with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, thanks in part to a three by Cooper Bertolino and a basket and free throw from Jake Johnson.
Greenville rallied and scored the next six points, then got a three Jaylon Betts to pull within 12, the closest they had been since the midway point of the quarter.
The Comets scored the first points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 10 on a Nathan Grull basket, but that would be the only Greenville field goal of the quarter as they were limited to four free throws the rest of the way out.
On the other side of the court, Nokomis continued to extend their lead, with Aumann leading the charge. The margin would grow to 18 before Greenville got the final two points of the contest in the last minute, accounting for the 16-point final deficit.
In addition to Aumann, who also had four steals in the win, Cooper Bertolino had nine points on a trio of three-pointers, while Nolan Himes had seven points and eight assists. Ryan Eisenbarth and Jake Johnson had four and three points respectively, with Eisenbarth pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Nokomis junior varsity squad also picked up a win over the Comets, 47-32, while the Greenville freshman/sophomore squad started things off with a 39-23 win over their Redskin counterparts.
As luck would have it, Nokomis’ next game was also against Greenville, who they met on Saturday, Nov. 27, in their Kaskaskian Classic debut.
November 23 at Nokomis
Greenville 9 6 13 6 34
Nokomis 13 8 19 10 50
Greenville (34) - Schaufelberger 16, McCullough 6, Betts 3, Grull 3, Gardner 2, Snow 2, Graber 2. Totals: 12 6-12 34.
Nokomis (50) - Elijah Aumann 27, Cooper Bertolino 9, Nolan Himes 7, Ryan Eisenbarth 4, Jake Johnson 3. Totals: 20 7-17 50.
Three-point field goals: Greenville 4 (Schaufelberger 3, Betts 1); Nokomis 3 (Bertolino 3).
Records: Nokomis (1-0); Greenville (0-1).
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