Effingham Daily News
BEECHER CITY —
St. Anthony's defense couldn't be beaten on Saturday, holding Neoga's offense in check in the Bulldogs' 39-28 win to clinch the National Trail Conference tournament championship.
The Bulldogs held the Indians to nine or fewer points in each quarter of the game and only allowed one extended Neoga rally, which was a 7-2 run to end the first quarter.
St. Anthony head coach Bart Wiedman said he was worried about how his defense would matchup against a team that featured a dominant low-post player, Jillian Deters, and two quick guards, Madison Butler and EC Thies — all of whom made the NTC All-Tournament team.
The Bulldogs did just fine.
“We talked about how good it would feel to hold someone under 30 points,” Wiedman said. “It's been our bread and butter the past two and a half years.”
St. Anthony limited the Indians' three star players. Deters led the team with 11 points, while the three players were the only ones to score for the team. Thies finished with 10 points, while Butler had seven.
The Bulldogs held Neoga to a game-low four points in the second quarter, to take a 23-13 lead into halftime. The Indians came within eight points multiple times in the second half, but didn't get any closer.
“You have to credit (St. Anthony's) defense,” Neoga head coach Kim Romack said. “They know us just about as well as we know them. Typically when we play these guys, the score isn't high.”
Kate Richards and Megan Nuxoll, both All-Tournament team players, led the Bulldogs on the offensive end. Nuxoll finished with a team-high 17 points. Richards had 14.
Richards, who led the Bulldogs in scoring in their win over Dieterich on Friday, has taken a leadership role with two the of the team's top players out with injuries.
“Kate was wonderful,” Wiedman said. “That's the best basketball I've seen her play in four games to start this year. She's probably put a lot on her shoulders with Makayla (Walsh) and Lexie (Niebrugge) out, but she's still doing a great job playing within herself.”
The tournament title is St. Anthony's first, while the Bulldogs finished second four times since 2007.
The Bulldogs won the consolation bracket two years ago, with a 8-20 team, and placed second in the tournament last year after losing to Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City.
“To take the next step this year feels really good,” Wiedman said. “It's a credit to the ladies. They know it's all for a purpose.”
Altamont vs. Dieterich
Madison Ohnesorge took home most valuable player honors from the NTC tournament and led her team to a 51-46 victory over Dieterich on Saturday to clinch third place.
Dieterich took a late fourth-quarter lead on two Mallorie Vahling free throws, 46-45, but Ohnesorge scored four of the final six points to finish off the Movin' Maroons.
However, Altamont was on the brink of losing control of the game when Dieterich started the second half on a 10-2 run that gave them a 10-point lead – making every shot along the way.
Altamont head coach Katie Lurkins called a timeout, but said she didn't have to say anything. The players commanded the huddle.
“There's a big difference between people saying Altamont should be good and Altamont is going to be good,” Lurkins said. “We talked about how you have to earn that. The girls took over at the timeout and talked about what needed to be done.”
The Indians scored six unanswered after the timeout, as a part of a 14-2 run that gave them a 37-35 lead. Dieterich tied the game at the end of the third quarter, 37-37.
Altamont took an early 45-41 lead in the fourth quarter, but a 3-pointer by Rachel Schmidt put the Maroons within one point. The two teams battled in a one possession game for most of the quarter, until Ohnesorge made a layup off of an inbounds pass to give them a 51-46, two-possession lead.
Dieterich head coach Donetta Ohnesorge said she thought her team could still come back from the two-possession lead, but Altamont kept the score the same for the final minute of the game.
“I really thought that we could come out ahead,” Ohnesorge said. “We fell short in the wrong places.”
Brownstown/St. Elmo vs. CHBC
Brownstown/St. Elmo's Bethany Oberlink scored 20 points in the Bombers' consolation championship victory over Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City on Saturday.
Molly Hill and Audriana Pruett joined Oberlink, scoring in double figures, in the Bombers' 60-30 win during which the Bombers scored all but four of their points in the first three quarters.
The Bombers outscored CHBC 20-1 in the first quarter and 34-13 by halftime.
CHBC, which won the last two NTC championships, left Beecher City without a trophy on Saturday. Summer Riley led the Hornets with nine points.
Ohnesorge takes MVP
Madison Ohnesorge's 20-point game against Dieterich on Saturday capped off her most valuable player campaign in the NTC tournament.
“Madi has just done an outstanding job stepping up and becoming an all around player,” Lurkins said. “She's not only improving skill-wise, but improving game-wise.”
Ohnesorge joined two other Altamont player on the All-Tournament team. Macy Wendling and Gabby Alwardt, who scored 11 points on Saturday, also made the team.
Altamont was joined by Neoga as the only two teams to put three players on the squad. Neoga's Madison Butler, EC Thies and Jillian Deters made the team.
Kate Richards and Megan Nuxoll made the All-Tournament team from the NTC champion Bulldogs, while Mallorie Vahling and Courtney Flach represented fourth-place Dieterich. Also, Bethany Oberlink and Molly Hill made the team from Brownstown/St. Elmo.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neoga 9 4 8 7 28
St. Anthony 13 10 8 8 39
Neoga: Butler 7, Thies 10, Deters 11
St. Anthony: Gardewine 2, Wendt 2, Mumm 4, Nuxoll 17, Richards 14
Dieterich 10 13 4 9 46
Altamont 11 10 16 14 51
Dieterich: Abbott 2, Flach 12, Schmidt 15, Heuerman 6, Vahling 11
Altamont: M Ohnesorge 20, L Ohnesorge 13, Laatsch 2, Vaughn 2, Smith 1, Wendling 2, Alwardt 11
BSE 20 14 22 4 60
CHBC 1 12 10 7 30
BSE: Pruett 12, Oberlink 20, Austin 5, Fitch 5, Hill 11, Brown 7
CHBC: Morrison 4, Miller 2, Riley 9, Adams 4, Herrmann 7, Meek 4