Soaring Cardinals

Nedrose GBB wins home tourney opener, off to best start in program history

Alex Eisen/MDN Nedrose junior Hailey Roberts (23) guards Rolette/Wolford's Shelby Johnson (left) in a Class B girls basketball game Thursday evening at Nedrose High School.

Taking over the hosting rights for the former Sawyer Invitational Tournament, the Nedrose High School girls basketball team fed off the home crowd support to secure a spot in the semifinals of its early season Nedrose Invitational Tournament.

The Nedrose Cardinals (3-0) flew past the Rolette/Wolford Comets (1-2) on Thursday evening, 58-43, in the first round of the eight-team tournament.

It’s the first time in program history (founded in 2015) that the Cardinals have won their first three games to start a season.

“It’s a good start, we can’t complain,” Nedrose head coach Charles Miller said. “It’s been a slow three years of getting better and better. The girls are improving all the time. They work hard and I enjoy being around them.”

Early on the Cardinals looked to run the floor at every chance. With a handful of transition layups and a three-point play completed by sophomore Alisha Cannon, Nedrose led 18-12 after the first quarter.

Bruising 6-foot sophomore center A’Lexis Crawford opened the second frame with a three-point play of her own for the Cardinals.

Keiara Grant got the Comets back within four points at 27-23 on a 3-pointer that rattled around the rim before dropping.

Nedrose then launched a 13-0 run to close out the first half. The offensive explosion included a stretch with three straight successful and-one finishes at the hoop from Crawford, Hailey Roberts and Madison Hayes.

The Cardinals led, 40-23, at halftime.

“We are really pushing to make regionals this year,” Roberts said. “That lost (a 60-58 defeat to TGU in a region qualifier) last year really hit us hard. We are ready to eat.”

The third quarter belonged to Roberts. She scored the first eight points for Nedrose with a pair of 3-pointers, plus a steal for a fast break layup. Roberts picked up 11 of her game-high 24 points in the third quarter.

“It was nice that my teammates would trust me to make (shots),” Roberts said. “I play off of them and I trusted them.”

Both offenses went ice cold in the fourth quarter, as the two teams combined to score 11 points.

Nedrose, however, did surpass its previous season-high point total of 56 on a layup by Roberts with 30 seconds left.

“I got a little nervous there in the second half when we started shooting so poorly,” Miller said. “We didn’t look like ourselves at all. It got really sloppy. We got tired, I could see it. It’s early in the season. Hopefully, they can get a good night’s sleep and it will get better tomorrow… (Rolette/Wolford) was a little flat the second half too, fortunately.”

Brenna Boucher led the Comets with 15 points. Crawford also finished in double figures with 13 points for the Cardinals.

The semifinals of the Nedrose Invitational Tournament will be this evening. It will feature Nedrose against Our Redeemer’s (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. and No. 6-ranked Velva (4-0) against Surrey (3-0) at 6 p.m.

Consolation games will also take place earlier in the day with Lewis & Clark North Shore-Plaza (0-3) against Lewis & Clark-Berthold (2-1) at 3 p.m. and Rolette/Wolford against Powers Lake (0-1) at 4:30 p.m.

The tournament will conclude on Saturday with the championship game scheduled for 6 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.