Viking Amanda Kuehner finds open space to the lane around South Winn’s Gracie Schmitt. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Viking Amanda Kuehner finds open space to the lane around South Winn’s Gracie Schmitt. (Photo by Becky Walz)

A solid defensive second-half stand was what the South Winn girls basketball team (5-4, 4-3 UIC) needed Thursday night in non-conference action as the Warriors defeated Decorah (0-11, 0-5 NEIC), 41-37, in Calmar.

Sadie McGee got the action kicked off in the first quarter. The senior scored twice for the Warriors, and combined with MaKayla Hageman, Shira Hageman and Liz Tieskoetter for 12 first-quarter points. Decorah’s Ambria Pipho, Amanda Kuehner and Emma Nierengarten kept the Vikes in the thick of it, dropping in seven points. South Winn beat the boards on both ends of the court, going on an 8-0 run in the middle of the second frame, allowing the Warriors to go ahead 31-18 at halftime.

Neither squad had a solid offensive second half; however, Decorah managed to squeeze out 10 points in the third quarter to pull to within 37-28. 

The Vikings held South Winn off the board for nearly the entire final frame, while connecting on 5-for-9 free throws, to narrow the gap to 37-33, in favor of the Warriors. An Emma Nierengarten basket with 25 ticks remaining on the clock left Decorah trailing, 37-35. As time continued to wind down, South Winn sophomore Ali Hoffert converted on a pair of free throws for the Warriors’ first points of the fourth quarter, moving back out front, 39-35. Nierengarten found the rim again with 13 seconds remaining to keep the hope alive. After tying up the ball with eight seconds left, South Winn’s M. Hageman had another look at the hoop to finish the game for a 41-37 win.

South Winn had six players score. M. Hageman led the team with 12, with McGee close behind with 10. Hoffert added nine, while S. Hageman connected for six. Adding two each were Gracie Schmitt and Liz Tieskoetter.

The Vikes had five players in the scorer’s book. Nierengarten had the solid hand with 16 points. Abigail Milburn added eight, while Pipho found the basket for seven. With four points it was Skyler Malone, with Amanda Kuehner putting in two.

“We continue to see improvement with every game as we begin to carry over concepts we have worked on in practice into competition,” said Viking Coach Shannon Quandahl. “In fact, in the 3-of-last-5 games, the differential has been five points or less. Thus, we still have a lot to learn, as there are many games yet to be played. We will continue to improve, stay focused, play with heart and maintain resilience. I am proud of my team and how they continue to persevere through adversity.”

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