Tahlequah Daily Press


January 17, 2014

Kearney conquest

NSU teams snap losing skids with pair of wins against Nebraska Kearney


NSU (women) 64, Neb. Kearney 61

The deficit was 15 points with less than 10 minutes to play. It seemed like the NSU women’s basketball team was on its way to a third straight loss. Nothing was going right for the green and white.

But then something happened; a shot found the bottom of the cup. And then another. And Nebraska-Kearney began to collapse. And the next thing they knew, the RiverHawks (7-8, 4-4 MIAA) found themselves ahead before stealing a 64-61 victory from the Lopers (6-8, 3-5 MIAA) Thursday evening inside the NSU Event Center.

NSU outscored UNK 26-8 in the final nine minutes of regulation, but it also took an 11-2 run in the last 3:29 to get past the visitors from Nebraska.

The final fire was lit by Fontana Tate, who nailed 3-pointers at both 3:29 and at 2:39 to bring the home team to within three at 59-56. A defensive rebound by Tate on UNK’s next possession and two-straight assists from the junior guard to Che’Ron Lewis gave the RiverHawks a one-point advantage with a minute left in regulation. The lead was the first of the game for NSU.

The Lopers were completely out of sync during the run and finished just 1-of-8 from the field in the final three minutes. A fast-break layup with 16 seconds left and two free throws with six seconds remaining — all by Tate — sealed the comeback.

She finished with a team-high 12 points, but the comeback would not have been possible without the defensive presence of senior forward Carrington Fox.

“The three by Fontana (at the 3:29 mark) is probably what sparked the comeback,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “Fontana hitting those two big shots rubbed off on her teammates. Carrington also played hard and led the defensive effort down the stretch. She played like you want your senior leader to play, and that inspired us.”

Fox finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and five assists. She also ended the game with eight blocks, which tied the school record that was set way back in 1983 by Kathy Brock.

“We’re thrilled with the way our kids hung in the game. Any win is big for this team,” Gipson said. “Hopefully we gained a little optimism after tonight.”

NSU has little time to celebrate as No. 23 Fort Hays State comes marching into Tahlequah for a 1:30 p.m. tip Saturday. The Tigers are coming off a 64-38 drubbing of Central Oklahoma Thursday night. They also feature the nation’s leading shot blocker in Kate Lehman.

NSU (men) 90, Neb. Kearney 85

Nebraska-Kearney              35        50         85

Northeastern State              35        55         90

Neb. Kearney (5-9, 2-6): Davion Pearson 20, Ethan Brozek 18, Connor Beranek 13, Tyler Shields 10, Glidden 9, Dineen 7, Dentlinger 6, Thomas 2.

NSU (11-4, 6-2): Bryton Hobbs 27, Dalen Qualls 18, Marcus Sheppard 12, Curtis Evans 12, Keon Littleton 11, McDonald 6, Harmon 3, DeMasters 1.

NSU (women) 64, Neb. Kearney 61

Nebraska-Kearney              35        26        61

Northeastern State              27        37        64

Neb. Kearney (6-8, 3-5): Sydney Seberger 17, Amarah Williams 11, Arp 9, Hix 6, Fitzgerald 5, Lewis 5, Mathieu 3, Zimmerman 3, Hogberg 2.

NSU (7-8, 4-4): Fontana Tate 12, Che’Ron Lewis 10, Beathard 9, Fox 9, Jackson 8, Cowan 7, Walker 6, Bellamy 3.

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