The 57th Annual Northwestern Invitational Basketball Tournament is now in the books. Friday and Saturday night saw the trophy games played for Consolation, Third Place, and First Place. Nearly all of these games saw a Linn County area team vie for the gold.
In the girls consolation game, the Linn County Lady Mustangs took on Brunswick. The Lady Mustangs struck first with a free throw by Maci Hullinger, but Brunswick took off from there on a 4-0 run early in the game. A run from Hullinger broke the dry spell, tied the game up, and gave Linn County the lead. Another late 9-0 run by Linn County, featuring a steal by Kerstin Wilson, and some offensive rebounds by Mindy Hayes, extended the lead. After one quarter, the Lady Mustangs led 15-6.
A steal early in the frame by Britane Hubbard led to a Wilson basket in the second quarter. This started Linn County on a 5-0 run in the frame. Another late run by the Lady Mustangs extended their lead to double digits. At halftime, the Lady Mustangs led 33-16.
In the girls third place game, the Meadville and Northwestern girls dueled in a "Battle of the Eagles." Meadville opened on a 4-0 run off of baskets by Emilie Cowan and Halee Neal. Northwestern battled back with a 5-0 run to take the lead. A late three pointer by Erin Shiflett gave Meadville an 8-5 lead after one quarter.
Northwestern scored first, and Haley Fitzpatrick answered back for Meadville. Northwestern went on a 9-0 run from there to take a lead at the half. At halftime, Meadville trailed 17-12.
On Saturday night, the Bucklin/Macon County Raiders took on the Northwestern Eagles. Northwestern scored first and went on an opening 8-0 run, ending with a pair of free throws from Dillan Nolte. This set the Raiders off on a 5-0 run to pull themselves into the game. After one quarter, BMC trailed 13-6.
Northwestern scored first in the second frame, and was answered by Nolte for BMC. A three-pointer by Lake McCollum drew the Raiders back within single digits. Shots from downtown later in the frame by McCollum and Nolte helped get BMC back into the game, and within one point of Northwestern. The Eagles re-extended their lead to five points, but a late basket by Alex Porter drew the Raiders within one. At halftime, BMC trailed 26-25.
In the girls championship game, the Bucklin/Macon County Lady Raiders took on Hale. Hale opened on a 4-0 run, ending with a free throw from Kelsey Almond. BMC battled back, but still trailed 11-5 after one quarter.
Almond scored first in the second quarter, and the teams exchanged baskets in the beginning of the frame. The Lady Raiders held a one-point scoring edge in the second quarter to cut their deficit to five points. At halftime, BMC trailed 23-18.
Page 2 of 2 - In the boys championship game, a pair of local teams battled for the title. Meadville and Linn County expanded their rivalry in this early season test.
Ty Stillwell scored first for Linn County, and Derek Smith answered with two three-pointers for a 6-0 Meadville run. A run in response by the Mustangs gave them a lead after a basket by Bryar Bookout. Another three-ball by Smith would give the Eagles back the lead. After one quarter, Meadville led 13-9.
Meadville opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run, ending with a three-pointer by Josh Allen for Linn County. Another shot from downtown by Allen shrunk Meadville's lead to three. The Eagles extended their lead back to five points, and the teams scored evenly for the remainder of the frame. At halftime, Meadville led Linn County 26-21.