February 3, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Lopers Split At Home With Riverhawks

Kearney, Neb. – Junior guard Trinity Law scored 15 points and No. 26/29 Nebraska Kearney held Northeastern State in check, 79-46, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lopers (10-1) start the conference season at 2-0 while the RiverHawks fall to 4-3 (1-2). This was the only meeting between UNK and NSU this winter. Holding a foe under 49 points for the fifths straight game, the Lopers still had to work a bit as they led by just a 20-14 margin at the end of the first quarter. However, NSU tallied only 18 points over the next 20 minutes of game action. Thus, by the end of the third quarter, UNK held a comfortable 31-point lead.

“They (NSU) play really hard. Offensively they play fast, they cut and are active. It’s not an easy team to defend and takes quite a bit of energy,” said Loper head coach Carrie Eighmey. “We did a good job defensively again. Good execution and effort.”

Law (Brandon, SD) tallied five in the first 10 minutes and the erupted for 10 in the second. She made 4 of 9 shots and went 2 of 2 at the line during this span as UNK grabbed its first double digit lead and never relinquished it. Law ended the day 6 of 11 (1 of 3 threes) from the field in 22 minutes of work.

“We got off to a bit of a slow start offensively. But we able to get things going and had a lot of people score in the end. We were able to get good looks in a lot of different ways,” said Eighmey. “Trinity got us going. She was being aggressive but still playing with good pace. She also had some incredible passes and, with Sarah (Schmitt) in foul trouble, came in and ran the point well in the second quarter.”

UNK out shot NSU by a 46-37 percent margin while being plus seven on the glass and having 10 fewer turnovers. The Lopers out scored the ‘Hawks 23-0 in points off turnovers in addition to getting 32 points from its bench.

Starting forward Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) had a game-high 17 points thanks to 7 of 10 shooting with reserve forward Maegan Holt (Council Bluffs, Ia.) going 4 of 4 from the field to tally 10 and be the other Loper in double figures. Finally, senior wing Klaire Kirsch (Rapid City, SD) had nine rebounds and seven points with reserve froward Lexi Moes (Smithville, Mo.) at seven points and three boards.
NSU was paced by starting forwards Courtney Lee (13 points, four rebounds). UNK is at defending Central Region champ Missouri Western (6-3, 1-1) on Thursday night.

Kearney, Neb. – Grad transfer Tristan Green scored a game-high 20 points and Northeastern State shot 62 percent from the field to pull away from Nebraska Kearney, 85-62, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center. The RiverHawks improve to 5-2 (2-1) while the Lopers fall to 2-6 (0-2). This was the only meeting between UNK and NSU this season.

Both teams were on fire over the first 20 minutes, NSU making 59% of its shots and UNK connecting of 56% of theirs. The ‘Hawks led 43-39 as they hit two more shots and a free throw while also being plus six on the glass. Redshirt sophomore forward Ryder Kirsch (Rapid City, SD) had all 17 of his points in the half with sophomore guard Sean Evans (Parker, Colo.) netting 12.

“(Green) came out and did a great job. They were able to get him around the rim and anytime they got in the paint, their bigs finished,” said UNK head coach Kevin Lofton. “Their guards drove on us quite a bit and got opportunities at the rim. Their motion gets you out of position, gets you in rotation and then they attack.”

NSU started the second half on a 7-0 run and never looked back. Like the first half, they made 17 shots and ended up 34 of 55 (.618). Four of those makes were threes and they also went 13 of 17 at the line. Finally, NSU tallied 21 points off 15 Loper miscues and had a plus 10 rebounding margin.

Super senior forward Darrian Nebeker (West Jordan, UT) had 12 of his 14 points after the break but UNK cooled off to an 8 of 25 (2 of 15 threes) effort from the floor.
A 6-9 springy forward who played three years at Division I Denver, Green reached his point total by making 9 of 11 shots. Having four dunks, he scored 10 points in each half. Fifth-year guard Tylor Arnold (13) and sophomore guard Christian Cook (11) also were in double figures with a total of 11 ‘Hawks in the scoring column.

Kirsch reached 17 points on 7 of 13 (3 of 7 threes) shooting with Evans at 17 thanks to 6 of 9 (4 of 6 threes) marksmanship. Next, Nebeker was 5 of 8 from two-point land and also tallied five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Off the bench, true freshman guard Jamison Gruber (Council Bluffs, Ia.) scored 11 thanks to 5 of 5 free throw shooting.

“They did to Ryder what teams have been doing to Darrian. They load the box on them and what we have to do is recognizing that, kick it out and then be able to knock down the shot,” said Lofton.

UNK heads to Missouri Western (5-2, 2-0) and three-time defending national champ Northwest Missouri (8-0, 2-0) next weekend.


Source: Regional Sports