DENISON, Texas — They didn’t have anything to show for it, but the Northeastern A&M Lady Norse basketball team showed some mettle during the Grayson College Classic.
The Lady Norse dropped a 63-50 decision to host Grayson County (Texas) College Friday, Nov. 1, and then suffered a 90-70 setback against Blinn (Texas) College on Saturday, Nov. 2.
“I came into this weekend knowing what these two teams were going to play like,” Lady Norse coach Jim Rowland said. “That’s what I wanted for this group: to go across the border and play some Texas teams that are always athletic and always physical.
“Our girls responded. I really liked that. We played tough. We played hard on a lot of possessions — and on some possessions we were on our heels.”
He said he saw a lot of good things from his freshman-dominated squad, “things that I am really, really excited about.”
Things don’t get any easier for NEO, which opened the regular season with the junior varsity of Oklahoma Wesleyan on Monday, but travel to Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College Tuesday and then the Hutch Classic on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9.
“I could have scheduled some jayvee teams over the weekend or other teams that I we could beat,” Rowland said. “But you know, there is nothing wrong with that. I am not afraid to play anybody. I am not going to load my schedule up, but I really thought it was an eye opener for us.”
Grayson 63, NEO 50
The Lady Norse were unable to dig out of a 21-13 first-quarter hole.
Each team scored 17 points in the second then Grayson pulled away with a 16-9 edge in the third frame.
“I thought we played well enough to win the game,” Rowland said. “We just gave up too many second-chance points and turned it over a little too much. They are a very good team, but we were right there in the game. When you have empty possessions consecutively against a team like that, it hurts you. You’ve got to put the ball in the hole.”
NEO had three players score in double figures.
Kayla Shepperd had 11 while Kiarra Brooks and Koreea Kirksey added 10 each.
Ivvana Murillo and Kaitlin Benge had five each followed by Eliska Stebetakova with four, Caleigh Stevenson and Alexiss Johnson, two each, and Gabriela Chivata chipped in with a free throw.
Manna Nensah and Nahemia Johnson scored 16 and 11 for the Lady Vikings.
Blinn 90, NEO 70
The Lady Norse were down by nine after one, then Blinn coasted into the half with a 45-28 advantage in a game that started at 11 a.m.
It was 73-48 heading into the final stanza.
“When you are dealing with 10 new people, understanding how to get prepared for another big game with that quick turnaround is important,” Rowland said.
Again NEO had three players in double digits, topped by Kirksey with 17. Stevenson and Murillo scored 14 and 11, respectively.
Others scoring for the Lady Norse were Shepperd with seven, Emily McAdams with five, Chivata, Stebetakova and Benge with four each and Marliah Johnson with two.
Kristine Ezimako and Hailey Atwood combined for 29 points to lead the Blinn scoring. Gabriela Bosquez added 12 and Alanna Spencer chipped in with 10.