Pirates plunder win over Nedrose

James Jackson/MDN Tioga’s senior guard Joel Holmen (33) and Nedrose’s junior guard Keaton Cole (4) served as prime contributors on the offensive side of the ball for their teams in Tuesday night’s Class B showdown.

Motivated to reverse course after a recent stretch of regional boys’ basketball defeats, a hungry Nedrose squad welcomed equally-focused Tioga to town on Tuesday night as both teams hunted for the winning momentum needed to break their current losing streaks.

After putting together a three-game run of victories against Berthold, Trenton, and New Town, the visiting Tioga Pirates (7-6 overall, 3-5 Region 8) had dropped their last four contests prior to capturing a 74-50 win over a struggling Nedrose Cardinals (3-7 overall, 1-2 Region 6) team having now lost three games in a row, and six of their past seven matchups since Jan. 2.

Setting the mood for a rousing night of Class B basketball action, a Jimi Hendrix-like rendition of the national anthem from the strings of Peyton Fontenot’s electric guitar brought the student section and others in attendance alive just in time for tipoff.

Putting five of the first ten points of the game on the board for Tioga and anchoring the offense both inside and outside the arc, sophomore stretch four Brennan Johnson’s combo of turnaround layup in the paint and subsequent 3-point bucket fueled the Pirates to a quick 10-2 advantage heading into the 4:30 mark of the first quarter.

Assisting Johnson in scoring for Tioga was senior guard Joel Holmen, whose five-point burst via a deep three and transition layup in the final 90 seconds stretched the Pirates lead to double-digits at 21-10 heading into the second quarter.

Continuing to apply suffocating offensive pressure, Tioga remained relentless in their up-tempo attack, needing just the first 1:27 seconds of the new quarter to generate a 6-0 run before Nedrose junior forward Sawyer Bloms and eighth grade guard Izaac Strandlien retaliated with a 5-point combo of their own to bring the score to 27-15.

Yet, still serving as the pillars of the Pirates’ offense, Holmen and Johnson’s potent dual-threat scoring presence proceeded to keep a Cardinals unit searching for points and rebounds at arm’s length heading into halftime, resulting in a 37-24 Tioga lead on the scoreboard.

Wasting no time adding to their lead to begin the second half, the familiar face of Johnson christened the final 16 minutes of action by converting an and-1 free-throw opportunity into three Pirates points to fuel the seemingly exponential scoring momentum of Tioga.

Despite Nedrose facing a long road to a comeback, Cardinals’ junior guard Keaton Cole utilized a number of blazing drives through the paint to attack the rim, in return engineering a number of strong finishes at the basket and drawing fouls that forced the Pirates to remain vigilant on both ends of the court.

However, in spite of Cole’s spark-plug efforts to ignite a fourth quarter scoring resurgence for Nedrose, the unyieldingly efficient offensive play of the Pirates, coupled with a significant advantage on the boards in rebounding, ultimately cemented their 24-point, 74-50 victory over the Cardinals.

Brennan Johnson’s 18 points, Joel Holmen’s 16 points, Hunter Davis’ 15 points, and Kasey Odegaard’s 10 points exemplified Tioga’s balanced offensive attack in the win, with Reed Kruger’s eight points and Branssen Volz’ seven points rounding out the Pirates’ scoring.

Josh Kalamaha, Keaton Cole, and Izaac Strandlien paced the Cardinals on the scoreboard with 12 points each, along with six points for Trevor Hansen, four points for Sawyer Bloms, and two points apiece for Kaleb Eggen and Kaedin Bader.

Staring down the remaining regular season games on their schedule, this Friday will see Tioga head to Ray for more District 12 action at 7 p.m., while Nedrose hosts District 11 foe Westhope/Newburg at 7.15 p.m.


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