For the third game in a row the Nokomis boys basketball team had a different player atop their scoring list, with senior Seth Johnson leading the way with 14 points.
The Redskins would need all 14 of those points on Tuesday, Feb. 9, as they snuck past a senior-laden Gillespie squad 51-49 at the Pit in Gillespie.
With this year’s returning leading scorer Evan Herpstreith out with an injury, Nokomis spread the points around in the first quarter, with four players netting ten points to give the Redskins a one point lead.
Brock Fredericks, one of six seniors on the eight man roster, would have eight of Gillespie’s nine points in the first quarter, but was held to three free throws in the second frame.
With the defense holding Fredericks at bay, Nokomis would put some distance between themselves and the Miners. Ben Clavin torched the hosts for nine points in the quarter, while Seth Johnson hit a pair of threes and a two for eight more points.
With Jake Johnson (four) and Aumann (three) also contributing, the Redskins doubled up the Miners 34-17 by halftime and looked well on their way to their second victory of the season.
Gillespie had other ideas though, as they held Nokomis to just five points in the third quarter, a three by Clavin and a two by Ryan Eisenbarth. Fredericks would tack on six more points to his total and Tanner Whitfield chipped in four points to help cut the Nokomis lead from 17 to just six points at 39-33.
The comeback continued in the fourth quarter for the Miners as they went on a 7-2 run in the first two and a half minutes to cut the margin to 41-40.
Nokomis would answer with a free throw from Jake Johnson and a two from Eisenbarth, but Gillespie scored the next two baskets on a offensive rebound by Fredericks and a three from Zane Cunningham.
Down 45-44, Nokomis dodged a bullet in Gillespie’s next possession after a miss as a Fredericks layup rolled out that would have put the Miners up three.
Gillespie’s missed opportunity turned into gold for the Redskins as Jake Johnson put back an offensive rebound to allow Nokomis to retake the lead, 46-45, with 1:45 to play.
The game was far from decided though as Gillespie pulled back out in front with two free throws by Cunningham with 1:23 on the clock. The Miner senior had a chance to add to the lead after Gillespie got the ball back, but Cunningham would miss the front end of a one-and-one to keep it a 47-46 Gillespie lead.
Jake Johnson would snag the rebound on the miss and was rewarded on the other end when Seth Johnson found him underneath to give Nokomis a 48-47 lead with 40 seconds to play.
Ben Clavin would pick up a steal on the defensive end and a Kendall Knodle two made it a three-point game 25 seconds later as Nokomis looked to be in control after some tense moments.
Gillespie would cut the lead to one with a pair of free throws by Fredericks, but a Seth Johnson free throw gave Nokomis a 51-49 lead and some breathing room.
With 11 seconds on the clock, Gillespie worked for a game-winner as Fredericks took a heavily contested three, which came up short and fell into the hands of Knodle.
Knodle would be fouled immediately with 1.7 showing on the clock; he would miss both free throws, but Gillespie had only one option, a three-quarter court heave, which missed its mark at the buzzer.
Seth Johnson scored 14 points to join Herpstreith and Elijah Aumann as a top scorer this season. Ben Clavin would also reach double figures with 11 points, while Jake Johnson added nine and Aumann had seven. Ryan Eisenbarth (six), Cooper Bertolino (two) and Knodle (two) rounded out the scoring.
Gillespie was led by Fredericks, who scored a game-best 23 points, going 6-of-7 from the free-throw line with two three-pointers.
Now 2-1 on the season, Nokomis will host Lincolnwood on Friday, Feb. 12, in a game that will be streamed live on the Nokomis school district’s YouTube site. The Redskins also play Calhoun on Saturday Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. in Hardin.
February 9 at Gillespie
Nokomis 10 24 5 12 51
Gillespie 9 8 16 16 49
Nokomis (51) - Seth Johnson 14, Ben Clavin 11, Jake Johnson 9, Elijah Aumann 7, Ryan Eisenbarth 6, Cooper Bertolino 2, Kendall Knodle 2. Totals: 20 6-9 51.
Gillespie (49) - Brock Fredericks 23, Zane Cunningham 10, Tanner Whitfield 9, Anthony Ribes 3, Joe Baglin 2, Kamryn Link 2.
Three-point field goals: Nokomis 5 (S. Johnson 3, Clavin 1, Aumann 1); Gillespie 3 (Fredericks 2, Cunningham 1).
Record: Nokomis (2-1); Gillespie (1-2).
JV: Nokomis 35, Gillespie 22.