A strong defensive effort and a variety of scoring methods helped Northwest top Aurora 50-28 Saturday in a meeting of teams looking to gain momentum in January.

The Huskies were limited to 18.4% shooting from the floor (9-for-49) and only scored five unanswered points twice, once coming to close the game.

“We just worked hard,” Northwest coach Chip Bahe said. “The fun thing was to watch us work hard two nights in a row. I said after (Friday’s win against Gothenburg), it wasn’t surprising with how well we had practiced. It’s a tribute to what they’re doing Monday through Thursday.”



Northwest senior guard Tyler Hageman said holding Aurora post Nate Boerkircher to six points was a big part of shutting down the Huskies (3-6).

“We were really scheming on their big (Boerkircher),” he said. “We doubled him every time he touched the ball.”

Aurora coach Tom Leininger said several factors played into his team’s offensive struggles.

“Poor shot selection, a lot of 1-on-1 — like I told the kids, I thought we had some decent looks in the first half, and they just didn’t go,” he said. “In the second half, we tried to force everything and had no patience.”

Hageman led the Vikings (5-4) with 19 points and Alex Brandt added 17, but they scored in very different ways.

Hageman did most of his damage driving to the basket.

“It really spaces out the floor for my teammates,” he said. “Me scoring isn’t the biggest thing, but it does space out the floor for my teammates.”

Brandt had a big game from the outside while connecting on all four of his 3-point attempts.

“We keep saying that we think we have a lot of pieces of the puzzle, and we just have to continue to string together moments when they all put it together in the same night,” Bahe said. “We did that this weekend, and I’m proud of them.”

Leininger said: “They hurt us inside, they hurt us outside, they hurt us in transition. They hurt us in a lot of ways tonight.”

Northwest extended its winning streak to three games heading into Tuesday’s home contest against Grand Island Central Catholic.

“It just really strengthens our mojo and helps us moving forward,” Hageman said.

Bahe said the back-to-back wins this weekend were big steps for the Vikings.

“It gives us that confidence that we can do that,” he said. “That’s what good teams do — good teams win Friday and Saturday or Thursday and Saturday.”

Aurora — which was led by freshman Carlos Collazo’s nine points — is still undergoing a learning process after having to replace five starters from last season.

“It had been getting better until today,” Leininger said. “That is the worst we have played without a doubt this year. It was our third game this week, and we did lose one of our guys to influenza for today, but no excuses. They guys we have have to play better than that.”

Northwest 50, Aurora 28

AURORA (3-6)

Kaleb Moural 0-5 0-0 0, Jameson Herzberg 0-7 0-0 0, Andrew Bell 3-6 0-0 8, Carlos Collazo 2-7 4-7 9, Nate Boerkircher 2-13 2-4 6, Preston Ramaekers 0-3 0-0 0, Bryce Barger 0-1 0-0 0, Drew Knust 0-2 0-0 0, Mitch Pachta 1-1 0-0 3, Koby Nachtigal 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Shaw 1-1 0-0 2, Wade Ohlson 0-2 0-0 0, Carsen Staehr 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 9-49 6-11 28.

NORTHWEST (5-4)

Parker Janky 0-2 1-2 1, Colby Hayes 1-8 0-0 2, Tyler Hageman 8-16 3-5 19, Alex Brandt 5-5 3-3 17, Sean Juengst 2-4 0-0 5, Michael Buhrman 0-0 0-0 0, Riley Anderson 2-3 0-0 6, Sam Hartman 0-0 0-0 0, Isaiah Winton 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Mosely 0-0 0-0 0, Wyatt Jensen 0-2 0-0 0, Cooper Garrett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-40 7-10 50.

Aurora 5 10 8 5—28

Northwest 10 16 17 7—50

3-point field goals—Aurora 4-23 (Moural 0-3, Herzberg 0-7, Bell 2-4, Collazo 1-2, Boerkircher 0-2, Barger 0-1, Knust 0-2, Pachta 1-1, Staehr 0-1), NW 7-16 (Janky 0-1, Hayes 0-3, Hageman 0-1, Brandt 4-4, Juengst 1-2, Anderson 2-3). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—Aurora 30 (Bell 10), NW 39 (Hageman, Brandt 7). Assists—Aurora 5 (Collazo 2), NW 8 (Hayes, Hageman 3). Turnovers—Aurora 9, NW 15. Total fouls—Aurora 13, NW 14. Technicals—none.

GIRLS

Northwest 47, Aurora 33

Ten unanswered points to close out the game helped Class B No. 2-rated Northwest deny Aurora’s upset bid and pull out a 47-33 victory.

The Huskies (1-6) trailed 33-22 entering the third quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Cassidy Knust sparked a 12-4 run that pulled them to within 37-34.

Aurora missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Claire Caspersen scored on the other end to kickstart Northwest’s final run. Whitney Brown scored the final six points to finish with a game-high 18 points.

“I thought we were a little out of sorts offensively early and I think we got better as the game went on,” Vikings coach Russ Moerer said. “Credit Aurora — they play really, really hard, they’ve got athletes and they defend really well. Some of our offensive struggles were definitely related to their defense.

“We just had to kind of settle in a little bit, I think. We finished well on a 10-0 run and closed it out.”

The gas tank was a little low for Aurora after battling back over the first half of the fourth quarter.

“We had to use up a lot of energy to make up some ground and get back into it,” Huskies coach Cole Carraher said. “We played seven, eight girls for the most part so for the most part don’t have a ton of depth. Then you have to speed up the game a little bit to try to get it out of (Brown’s) hands. We gave up some easy baskets off of our press, and that led to the separation.”

Caspersen and Shanae Suttles both added 12 points for the Vikings (8-2), who did commit 16 turnovers, almost twice their season average.

But Northwest made up for that with another strong performance on the defensive end.

“I think defensively we are pretty locked in,” Moerer said. “They say defense wins championships because defense can travel. So on nights when maybe you’re not flowing as well offensively or not shooting the ball very well, you can still rely on your defense to give you a chance.

“That’s kind of what happened tonight. Our defense kept us in it until our offense kind of caught up. Then we were able to stretch it out a little bit.”

All six of Aurora’s losses have come to teams with winning records, and only one of those wasn’t close.

Carraher said the Huskies are confident and did a lot of good things to stick with Northwest.

“We just hit shots when we needed to,” he said. “I told them in the locker room (after the game) that we made a big run at York when we played them right before the Christmas break. Then that got away from us similar to this one.

“Against Northwest tonight when we were down seven and had to have a bucket, we got it. We got within five, got within four, got within three. I was proud of the fact that we were taking care of the ball, not turning it over under pressure.”

Raina Cattau led Aurora with 10 points.

Northwest 47, Aurora 33

AURORA (1-6)

Cassidy Knust 3-18 0-3 9, Jaylee Schuster 1-7 0-0 2, Paxtyn Dummer 0-0 0-2 0, Kassidy Hudson 1-5 2-2 4, Raina Cattau 5-8 0-0 10, Emily Erickson 0-0 0-0 0, Rylee Olsen 2-4 5-5 9, Lexi Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Kasey Schuster 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-42 7-12 34.

NORTHWEST (8-2)

Whitney Brown 6-15 4-6 18, Claire Caspersen 6-7 0-0 12, Lauren Hauser 0-0 2-2 2, Shanae Suttles 3-7 5-6 12, Skylee Nelson 1-3 0-2 3, Adriana Esquivel 0-2 0-0 0, Ellie Apfel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-34 11-16 47.

Aurora 7 8 7 12—34

Northwest 7 15 11 14—47

3-point field goals—Aurora 3-11 (Knust 3-9, J. Schuster 0-1, Cattau 0-1), NW 4-12 (Brown 2-6, Suttles 1-3, Nelson 1-2, Esquivel 0-1). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—Aurora 22 (Dummer 4), NW 33 (Caspersen, Hauser 7). Assists—Aurora 3, NW 6 (Nelson 3). Turnovers—Aurora 12, NW 16. Total fouls—Aurora 12, NW 12. Technicals—none.

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