The best rewards often require extra effort.
The Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals were forced to overtime by visiting O’Neill Friday night, but made the additional work pay off with a 42-41 victory. It was the Lady Cards’ sixth win of the season and third straight.
It didn’t look like it would be that difficult early, as Boone Central/Newman Grove raced to a 17-8 lead. O’Neill turned the tables, however, reeling off a 13-2 run that turned that deficit into a 21-19 halftime edge.
The two teams traded blows throughout the second half, with the hosts missing a chance to win in regulation when Lauren Hedlund’s free throw rimmed around and out. The Cards finally got the ‘W’ by outscoring O’Neill 3-2 in overtime, dodging a final bullet when an Eagles’ shot attempt after a last-second steal narrowly missed.
“O’Neill is a much-improved team that plays aggressive, tough defense and has some nice offensive players,” BC/NG Coach Andy Imus noted. “We had a difficult time when they switched to a zone defense that really took away our aggressiveness.
“This was a toughness win that saw our starters play a bulk of the fourth quarter and overtime, where they had to will themselves to a victory. Carsen (Grape) and Jenna (Kramer) did a good job offensively in the paint. Our guards need to continue to get the ball into their hands.”
Boone Central/Newman Grove (6-5) could not quite snare a second consecutive Mid-State Conference victory Saturday, as host Wayne defeated the Cardinals 56-47 behind a 32-point outburst by Kylie Hammer.
The Cardinals cut a ten-point deficit to seven at halftime (29-22) and trimmed an 11-point Wayne lead to just three in the fourth quarter before an 8-2 Blue Devil spurt put the hosts back in control.
“We gave up too many offensive rebounds, 14, and allowed Wayne 12 points off turnovers. That cost us an opportunity for a win against a solid team,” Imus commented. “We also allowed 32 points in the paint. Hammer scored 32 points, as she was able to get to the rim and convert, or get fouled.
“We played well enough on the offensive end, but when you give up too much space, overplay, or are not in proper help-side position, a great player like Hammer will make you pay. Our total team defense needs to improve and execute more consistently.
“Some of it could be weary legs from the night before, but we aren’t making any excuses and needed to be tougher than what we showed on the defensive side,” Imus stressed. “Another opportunity that showed us things we need to continue to work on.”
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