When the going gets tough …

By: 
Sonja Karp

Mercedes Voelker dials in on the rim as she prepares for a layup in Big Horn on Saturday. Though the Lady Rams got the better of the Lady Dogies, Newcastle put up a good fight in the loss. (Photo by Bob Bonnar/NLJ)

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter

 

… the tough get going.

Last weekend the Lady Dogies were dealt a classic 1-2 blow with back-to-back defeats. The aftermath of those losses could have sent the team into a tailspin, but the squad proved they are tough enough to overcome and rebounded well to defeat the Torrington Lady Trailblazers on Friday. They then played the Lady Rams of Big Horn pretty strong on Saturday before falling to the ranked 2A team.

There is no question that Torrington lives by out-rebounding their opponents on offense to get their points. The last time these two teams met, the Lady Blazers’ second chance opportunities gave them the advantage over the Lady Dogies.

On Friday, Newcastle turned the tables on Torrington, pulling down defensive boards to force them into one-and-done situations on offense.

That made all the difference.

“Friday night was a lot of fun,” smiled head coach Chad Ostenson. “We had a really good crowd and the girls really enjoyed that, and they really worked hard and did some really good things.”

The Lady Dogies got off to a fast start, leading the Blazers 6-4 at the end of the first quarter. Torrington then went on a 9-4 run against Newcastle to take a slim 13-10 point lead into the locker room.

The third quarter blues once again struck the home team as they came out for the second half, and their opponent used the lag to extend their lead to nine by the end of the third frame. Torrington pulled ahead by double digits in the fourth, but credit Newcastle for fighting and clawing their way back into the contest.

“We were down 12 in the fourth, then we started mixing things up and made a little run on them,” Ostenson began. “I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a little worried as the game got later and we were behind by double digits. Sometimes we get to looking at the scoreboard and it can get a little discouraging, but it’s a game of runs and it’s possible to put some points up in short order and that’s what we did.”

The Lady Dogies didn’t roll over and kept chipping away at the Lady Blazer’s lead, and all of a sudden they were getting rebounds and blocks, and defensive stops and steals. Ostenson’s team also shot free throws well down the stretch, which ultimately gave them the 38-34 win on the night.

“It wasn’t a pretty game by any means, but we did some good things,” Ostenson nodded. “We still had more turnovers than we would like, and we still have work to do, but we executed our game plan the way we wanted to which was a really good thing.”

Lexus Voelker was a force for her team, filling up nearly every column in the stats. She finished the night with 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists, four steals and two blocks. 

Makenzie Wagoner also showed up big, finishing with one of the best games of her career by scoring 10 points, pulling down two rebounds, nabbing one steal and rejecting four Blazer shots.

Though Grace Coy only scored two points on the night she was huge on defense, racking up seven blocks and pulling down eight rebounds.

Mercedes Voelker went two for three from beyond the arc for her six points and she added six rebounds, two assists and one steal to her team’s totals.

Riding high from the win, the Lady Dogies traveled to Big Horn to take on the Lady Rams on Saturday. Though the Rams are in 2A, Ostenson and his crew were by no means overlooking their “smaller” opponent.

“Big Horn is really athletic and are ranked among the top five in 2A,” Ostenson explained. “They have five seniors, so they have experience and they shot the
ball well.”

The Lady Dogies once again started strong and were up 6-1 early in the first quarter. Unfortunately, Big Horn went on a 19-0 run to finish the first frame up 20-6. From that point on, Newcastle went toe-to-toe, and even outscored the Lady Rams 17-14 in the fourth quarter. However, time ran out before they could make up the difference established in the first eight minutes of play, so they dropped the contest 36-50.

“We cut their lead to six or eight in the fourth quarter,” Ostenson exclaimed. “It ended up being a 14-point game, but a lot of that was us having to foul and then they hit a three at the buzzer.”

In both contests, Ostenson noted that rebounding played a huge role in the level of success his team enjoyed. He also pointed out the resiliency his squad showed in the fourth quarter when it would have been very easy for them to hang their heads and give up in both contests.

Once again, Lexus Voelker led her team in scoring with 15 points. However, from there it was pretty evenly distributed. Wagoner finished the night with seven, Lauren Steveson had six, Kaylee Sweet added five points and Mercedes Voelker rounded out the scoring for Newcastle with three.

This week the team will head to Chadron to take on take on the Lady Cardinals. Ostenson admitted that the Nebraska team will present some challenges to his squad, but that he likes the direction his Lady Dogies are heading.

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