H.J. Phelps Gymnasium was the place to be Tuesday evening, as the Norris City-Omaha-Enfield Fighting Cardinal Basketball team welcomed Greater Egyptian Conference rival Crab Orchard to town.
NCOE came into the game with a 1-2 record following the Christopher Turkey Tournament and was hoping to even that out along with hitting the undefeated level in conference play as they kicked off regular season action.
NCOE used a balanced approach in the first quarter of play as five players hit the scoring column while just one player recorded points for the Trojans lifting the Fighting Cardinals to a 16-10 first quarter lead. Second quarter action was a little slower on the offensive end for NCOE and improved slightly for their opponent as the Trojans narrowed the Fighting Cardinal lead to just five points at the halftime break.
When play resumed in the third quarter, it appeared the Fighting Cardinals were ready to take control of the game and claim a double digit victory as they erupted for 18 third quarter points. This along with stepping their defense up a notch to hold Crab Orchard to just nine points found NCOE possessing 44-30 lead heading into the final quarter of play. This final 8:00 of play would find the Fighting Cardinal lead swell to as many as 16 points. At this time, the Fighting Cardinal defense began to get a little complacent which allowed the pesky Trojan team to march right back into the game and narrow the score to just three points. NCOE would then wake up and hold off the Crab Orchard squad to claim the victory by the score of 55-50.
Jack Riggs had the hot hand offensively for the Fighting Cardinals (2-2, 1-0) as he led the team with 21 points (14 of those coming in the third quarter alone). Trey Simmons followed with 10 points while Colton O’Neal added eight, Brandon Skaggs seven, CJ Richardson three, Houston Money three, Jaden Barton two, and Ty Money one.
Coach Jordan Johnson’s Jayvee squad was ready to start their season as they had a commanding first quarter by outscoring the Trojans 18-7. Second quarter action would find the offense slowing down for NCOE but they did manage to hold their own and once again top the Trojans 11-10 to claim the 29-17 halftime lead.
Second half action was not as favorable for the Fighting Cardinals as that of the first half as the Trojans would manage to outscore the home team in both the third and fourth quarter. However, the first half lead was large enough to allow NCOE to weather the storm as they held on to claim the 7-point victory, 51-44.
Jacob Richerson and Ty Money had the hot hands for NCOE (1-0) as each posted 13 points to lead the scoring. Others scoring in the game were Ty Lane with seven points, Eli Brown six points, Brendan Frost six points, Jace Johnson four points, and Bryce Jolley two points.
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