Simpson’s milestone guides Bottineau to win

Sean Williams/MDN Kylie Simpson (2) of the Bottineau Stars looking to make a move to the basket against the Nedrose Cardinals on Saturday.

Saturday featured the final time the Nedrose Cardinals girls’ basketball team (9-8 overall, 1-5 District 11) would take their home court during the 2022-23 season, as the Cardinals celebrated the career and accomplishments of Piper Stein during a Saturday matinee against the Bottineau Stars (13-4 overall, 5-1 District 11) for Senior Day.

Overall, it’s been a successful season for the Cardinals, who are looking to avenge their two-game losing streak and get back on track before district tournament play begins. On the other side of the matchup, the Stars enter play winning two in a row with the hopes of continuing to build momentum.

In an afternoon full of celebrations for both teams, Kylie Simpson of the Stars would reach a career milestone in the first quarter and help guide Bottineau to a 54-37 win over Nedrose on Saturday afternoon.

Needing just six points to reach the milestone of 1,000 career points, Simpson would surpass that total quickly, scoring 10 in the first quarter alone. Simpson’s surge, plus an early seven points from Hallie Nero would push the Stars to a 19-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Cardinals got going courtesy of two quick buckets from Lilly Nelson, while having Ashley Roberts, Kaydee Boyce, and Stein chip in as well, as they came out of the gates to the tune of a balanced attack. Despite keeping it close at the end of the first quarter, the Cardinals had to find an answer, or a way to slow Simpson down, as she was catching fire.

Putting on a show again was Simpson in the second quarter, who scored all nine points for the Stars heading into the final minute. On the other side, Maecey McKibbin did the same for the Cardinals, netting three points. It wasn’t until the final minute of the first half that both teams would see other players get involved, as Nelson of the Cardinals and Kyra Beckman of the Stars added baskets in the final minute.

The overall size and rebounding ability of the Stars was giving the Cardinals a lot of trouble, as they would find themselves down double digits heading into the break. Accounting for over half of the Stars points with 19, Simpson helped lead the team to a 30-19 lead at the half.

After a brief pause in the action, the Stars quickly came out on a 6-0 run to begin the second half. The Cardinals, however, would begin getting stops defensively and cashing in on the other end on a handful of possessions, with McKibbin, Nelson, Boyce, and Roberts helping craft another balanced attack.

Despite the improved play in the third quarter, the Cardinals would find themselves trailing 42-28 heading into the final frame. Nelson would once again prove to be a force for the Cardinals on both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter. On her last bucket at home, Stein gifted fans in attendance with a gritty floater to make it a 52-37 game with 1:45 to play.

The Stars would go on to outscore the Cardinals 12-9 during the final quarter of play, closing out strong for a 54-37 win. With the win, the Stars’ winning streak extends to three games.

Nelson led the Cardinals with 12 points, followed by Boyce with nine, Roberts with six, and McKibbin and Stein with five each.

Simpson’s 21 points led the way for the Stars, while 19 from Nero, four from Erin Guariglia, Madeline Guariglia, and Beckman, and two from Soland totaled the Stars scoring.

The Cardinals will stay local for their next matchup when they head to Bishop Ryan to take on the Lions at 7:15 p.m. tonight. The Stars will head to Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood to face the Mavericks at the same time on the same night.


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