FAIRFAX, Mo. - The North Nodaway Mustang girls and boys teams entered Tuesday night's opening round game of the Fairfax Tournament facing teams that had already beaten them earlier in the season. The girls team opened the night with a 39-20 win over St. Joseph Christian. It was the Mustangs’ sixth win in their last seven games.
“Having Jadon and Saylor back and back in the groove has really given us a little more depth,” Mustangs coach Sami Jackson said. “It’s still not much depth, but it gives us a chance to rest them and give us more offensive threats and that’s been huge for us.”
North Nodaway flipped the script on the Lions in the tournament’s opening round after a 14-point loss earlier in the season. The Mustangs made eight three-point shots in the first half. Jacquelyn Cline and Jadon Dobbins each had three.
“Knowing that I can take advantage of having those girls back gives me confidence in my shot,” Cline said.
The Lions’ offense averaged 30 points per game coming into the matchup, but North Nodaway held them to well below that pace in the first half. St. Joseph Christian scored just five points in the first half. Jackson said it shows growth in her young team.
“It showed a lot and not just our growth, but just our mindset since Christmas,” Jackson said. “We knew coming in that we had lost a big one against them earlier in the year and we knew that we weren’t just going to come in and win it. We came humble, we came in confident and we were able to put it away.”
Cline scored eight more points in the third quarter, giving the Mustangs a 25-point lead, their largest of the game. The freshman guard led North Nodaway with 18 points.
“It’s really hard to look at Jacque and say that she’s a freshman,” Jackson said. “We have to remind ourselves and remind her that you are a freshman and you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to get in positions that you’re not comfortable with yet, but you’re going to grow and I think she’s starting to learn that and put some of the mistakes behind her.”
Dobbins scored 12 points, while Brown finished with six points. Since their loss to North Harrison, the Mustangs have averaged 49 points per game. North Nodaway averaged just 28 points over their first four games.
“Having those extra two players, knowing they’re reliable and being able to incorporate them in and get more points from the outside has really helped,” Cline said.
North Nodaway boys 46
South Holt 40
The North Nodaway boys team took down the South Holt Knights 46-40 in double overtime. Tyler Bix led the Mustangs with 17 points, giving North Nodaway its second-straight win and avenging an 11-point loss to the Knights on Dec. 20.
“Tyler didn’t miss a free throw in overtime and free throws win games,” Mustangs coach Jake Shipman said. “We won by six and we made nine of 12 free throws in overtime. I think all around we were comfortable, Tyler was comfortable. He’s a senior, he’s experienced it and it showed up at the free throw line.”
The first half was a struggle offensively for both teams. South Holt held a small, 7-4, lead at the end of the first quarter.
The first basket of the second quarter came at the 4:16 mark on a three-pointer from Bix. Andrew Blackford answered the Knight’s second basket with another three for the Mustangs, giving them a 10-9 lead with three minutes left in the half.
North Nodaway took a five-point lead into halftime at 14-9.Bix led the Mustangs to that point with five of the team's 14 points.
Neither team led by more than three in a third quarter that saw two ties and three lead changes. The Knights scored 14 points in the third quarter, with six of those points coming from Brody Scroggins. South Holt led 23-20 at the end of the quarter.
Riley opened the fourth quarter with five-straight points to give North Nodaway a 25-23 lead. The tussle for the lead continued in a quarter that saw four ties and two lead changes.
The Knights led by two with 13 seconds remaining, but Bix’s drive to the basket tied the game at 30. Bix then came up with a steal with 1.7 seconds left in the game. Austin Bird stepped out of bounds after the inbound and South Holt was unable to score on a last-second possession.
North Nodaway fell behind at the start of the first overtime, but regained the lead with a 4-0 run. South Holt tied the game once again with 30 seconds left in the period, sending the game to a second overtime.
Bix made sure there was no need for a third overtime, scoring six points in the second overtime period. The Mustangs never trailed in the second overtime.
“Tyler did a good job of attacking and getting deep into their defense,” Shipman said.
North Nodaway was set to face the East Atchison Wolves in the second round at 6 p.m. Wednesday night. The Wolves are 10-3 this season and coming off of a 69-25 win over Nodaway-Holt.
“At the beginning of the season we were just going with the game plan and not making adjustments on the fly,” Shipman said. “That’s something that good teams have to do and I felt like we did that tonight and I like where we’re heading.”