This is Nokomis’ first year in the MSM Conference, but just two games into the 2021 basketball season the Lady Redskins already have a signature win, and the conference’s traveling trophy to prove it.
Nokomis would put together a strong second half to hand Tri-City/Sangamon Valley its first conference loss in six games as they defeated the Tornadoes 50-46 in Buffalo on Monday, Feb. 8.
Tri-City would hold a slim 12-10 lead after the opening eight minutes, but ramped up their offensive production and went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line to take a 31-21 lead at halftime.
Sophomore Natalie Engelman would do her best to keep the Redskins close, hitting four threes in the first half, including three in the second quarter to keep Tri-City from running away with their second win of the season.
The Redskins, getting big points from senior Kristen Stauder, made their move in the third quarter to cut the lead down to two points at 40-38. Stauder, who missed all but two games due to injury in 2019-20, scored eight points in the quarter, hitting a three, two field goals inside the arc and a free throw to provide a spark for Coach Brandon Engelman’s team.
After giving up 31 points in the first two quarters, Nokomis held Tri-City to single digits in the third, then replicated the feat in the fourth by limiting the Tornadoes to two field goals by Jordan Closs and Rebecca Moxley and two free throws by Sarah Finley.
The staunch defensive effort was part of the equation for the win, while a big quarter from sophomore Audrey Sabol also helped. After being limted to just three points in the first half, Sabol scored five in the third quarter and six in the fourth to help push Nokomis past the host school. Natalie Engelman also chipped in a three, her fifth of the game, as Nokomis surged to a four-point come-from-behind win.
Engelman would finish with 15 points to lead Nokomis, just a point behind Sarah Finley for the game-high. Sabol would add in 14 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double in as many games this season.
Stauder added in a free throw to finish with nine points, equalling her scoring total from all of last season, and also had seven rebounds and three assists.
Mia Fesser (six), Addison Dangbar (two), Emily Cress (two) and Hailey Engelman (two) also scored for Nokomis, with Engelman leading the team in assists (four) and steals (three).
The win over Tri-City, coupled with their opening victory over Staunton gives Nokomis a 2-0 start for the first time in over a decade, with the Lady Redskins usually facing a tough test in Litchfield in the first game or two.
They will look to continue that winning streak on Thursday, Feb. 11, when they take on South Fork on the Ponies’ home court. South Fork, who co-ops with Edinburg and Morrisonville for girls basketball, picked up their first win of the season on Monday, Feb. 8, with a 52-33 victory over Lincolnwood.
February 8 at Buffalo
Nokomis 10 11 16 12 50
Tri-City/SV 12 19 9 6 46
Nokomis (50) - Natalie Engelman 15, Audrey Sabol 14, Kristen Stauder 9, Mia Fesser 6, Hailey Engelman 2, Addison Dangbar 2, Emily Cress 2. Totals: 18 8-20 50.
Tri-City/Sangamon Valley (46) - Sarah Finley 16, Rebecca Moxley 9, Grace Blair 8, Jordan Closs 8, Kamryn Sturdy 5. Totals: 15 14-22 46.
Three-point field goals: Nokomis 6 (N. Engelman 5, Stauder 1); Tri-City 2 (Closs 2).
Records: Nokomis (2-0); Tri-City (1-1).