The Norris City-Omaha-Enfield Fighting Cardinal basketball team started Greater Egyptian Conference play Tuesday evening when they traveled to Crab Orchard to take on the Trojans. The contest started out favorable for NCOE when they knocked down a three pointer to take the early 3-0 lead, however, Crab Orchard did not let this advantage stand for long as they went on to outscore the Fighting Cardinals 16-5 the remainder of the way to leave NCOE trailing 16-8 following one quarter of play. Second quarter action was a little better on the offensive end for NCOE but unfortunately it was a little more favorable for their opponent as well, which left the Fighting Cardinals facing a 13-point halftime deficit (33-20).
Following halftime, shooting woes continued for the Fighting Cardinals as they would have several open looks along with several second chance opportunities that came up empty which enabled the Trojans to stretch their lead even more. Crab Orchard would manage to top NCOE 20-12 in the third quarter and 16-14 in the fourth quarter to hand the Fighting Cardinals their first GEC loss, 68-46.
Brandon Skaggs was the leading scorer for the Fighting Cardinals with 14 points followed closely by Evan Healy with 12 points. Others scoring for NCOE (1-3 overall 0-1 GEC) were CJ Richardson nine, Trey Simmons five, Jeb Baumgart four, and Joe Melton two.
The Junior Varsity contest was much more favorable for the Fighting Cardinals for even though they fell behind following one quarter of play they bounced back with a monstrous 19 point second quarter to claim the halftime lead 28-27.
Second half action was very balanced in the third quarter with each team adding 12 more points to their total to keep the game at a 1-point differential. The fourth and final quarter had the appearance of NCOE dropping their first game of the year but a gutsy team effort prevailed as they rallied back to claim the 56-51 victory.
Eli Brown led the scoring for the Jayvee with 12 points. Others scoring were Joe Melton 11, Ty lane 10, Jacob Richerson 10, Gavin Dauby four, Bryce Jolley three, Nathaniel Wilson two, Prestyn Karns two, and Devon Robinson two.
Following the game, Coach Jim Tucker stated, “For the first game of the season, I was pleased with the overall performance of the team. We were down eight points midway through the fourth quarter, and they battled back and showed great poise and character to regain as well as maintain the lead in the end.”
NCOE will be back in action Friday when they host Thompsonville in another GEC battle.