Redskins Slam Birds In Litchfield Opener


The Litchfield Thanksgiving Tournament hasn’t been particularly kind to the Nokomis girls basketball team in the past. Since 2007, the Redskins have won more than half of their games in Panther Country just once, in 2012 when they finished second to Litchfield after going 3-1.

Most of the time, the Redskins are around .500 in Simmons Gym during the turkey tourney, having gone 2-2 in five of their last seven trips.

This year may be different, though, as the Redskins have an experienced lineup that appeared to be clicking on all cylinders in their opening win over Southwestern on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Taking on a shorthanded Piasa Bird squad without Steve Wooley at the helm for the first time since 1996 (the long-time coach retired after last season), Nokomis turned a seven-point first quarter lead into a 72-22 thrashing of the visitors from Macoupin County.

The Birds hung close in the first quarter, getting threes from Hannah Nixon and Whitney Keith, but Nokomis countered with three threes of their own (two from Emily Cress and one from Hailey Engelman) and an inside presence from Audrey Sabol, who scored four points in the opening frame. 

The inside-outside attack paid dividends throughout the game as Nokomis put together their most complete performance of the young season.

The Engelmans, cousins Hailey and Natalie, rained down two more threes in the second quarter, while Sabol dominated the paint, scoring eight more points to give her 12 for the half.

That total was nearly more than Southwestern scored in the first two quarters as the Redskins held the Piasa Birds to just five second quarter points to take a commanding 33-15 lead.

Any hopes of a Southwestern comeback were quickly dashed as Nokomis scored eight straight before the Birds got on the board. They would only get two more points in the quarter as the Redskins went on a 19-2 run, with Sabol putting in nine of her 11 points in the quarter during the run.

Up by 41, Coach Brandon Engelman used his bench liberally in the fourth quarter as Nokomis continued to add to their lead. The closest the Piasa Birds got within 44 for a brief moment, before Lizzy Hill and Grace DeWerff combined to score the last six points and finish off the 50-point win.

Nine different Nokomis players would score in the win, with Audrey Sabol leading the team with 23 points and six rebounds in the win. Natalie Engelman led 12 points, with Hailey Engelman chipping in 11 as Nokomis hit nine threes on the day.

Of the six others who scored, five picked up at least two baskets as Emily Cress had six, Addison Dangbar and Carley King finished with five and Emma Sneddon and Lizzy Hill had four. DeWerff’s steal and score in the final 40 seconds rounded out the scoring.

With win number one at Litchfield under their belts, the Redskins have three more games to go to prove that they have the skills to take the title this year. The first of those opportunities comes Monday, Nov. 22, against Carlyle, who beat Litchfield 53-25 in the second game on Saturday.

Nov. 20 at Litchfield

Litchfield Tournament

Nokomis 17 16 27 12 72

Southwestern 10 5 4 3 22

Nokomis (72) - Audrey Sabol 23, Natalie Engelman 12, Hailey Engelman 11, Emily Cress 6, Carley King 5, Addison Dangbar 5, Emma Sneddon 4, Lizzy Hill 4, Grace DeWerff 2. Totals: 27 9-12 72.

Southwestern (22) - Morgan Durham 5, Hannah Nixon 4, Tristyn Ditterline 4, MaCaylin Day 4, Whitney Keith 3, Gracie Darr 2. Totals: 9 1-2 22.

Three-point field goals: Nokomis 9 (H. Engelman 2, N. Engelman 2, Cress 2, Dangbar 1, Sabol 1, King 1) ; Southwestern 3 (Durham 1, Nixon 1, Keith 1).

Records: Nokomis (2-1).

22nd Annual 

Litchfield High School

Girls Basketball Round Robin

November 20-27

Saturday, November 20

• Nokomis 72, Southwestern 22

• Litchfield 53, Carlyle 25

Monday, November 22

6 p.m. - Carlyle vs. Nokomis

7:30 p.m. - Staunton vs. Southwestern

Tuesday, November 23

6 p.m. - Carlyle vs. Southwestern

7:30 p.m. - Litchfield vs. Staunton

Friday, November 26

6 p.m. - Staunton vs. Carlyle

7:30 p.m. - Litchfield vs. Nokomis

Saturday, November 27

1 p.m. - Litchfield vs. Southwestern

2:30 p.m. - Staunton vs. Nokomis

Nokomis Record At Litchfield Tournament Since 2007-08

2021-22 - 1-0*

2019-20 - 2-2

2018-19 - 0-4

2017-18 - 2-2

2016-17 - 1-3

2015-16 - 2-2

2014-15 - 2-2

2013-14 - 2-2

2012-13 - 3-1

2011-12 - 2-1

2010-11 - 1-2

2009-10 - 1-2

2008-09 - 1-2

2007-08 - 2-1


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