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Girls basketball: Late rally lifts Nevis past Verndale

The Tigers trailed 47-43 before going on a 5-0 run in the final minute for a 48-47 victory in the season opener.

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Kayli Bessler (left) and Mya Stacey (right) trapped Verndale's Madison Schmitz during Nevis' 48-47 victory at the Tiger Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Kayli Bessler’s 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining and Maggie Carrier’s steal with :02 left lifted the Nevis girls basketball team to a 48-47 victory over Verndale at the Tiger Arena in the season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

This game between Section 5A West teams featured three ties and 11 lead changes before the Tigers closed the game with a 5-0 run to rally for the win.

Verndale jumped out to an 8-2 lead before jumpers by Bessler and Liddy DeWulf along with a pair of 3-pointers by Mya Stacey and a 3-pointer by Emily Funk gave Nevis a 15-10 lead with 10:16 to play in the first half. The Pirates claimed a 20-17 lead before 3-pointers by Maggie Carrier and Funk put Nevis in front 24-20 at the 1:25 mark. Verndale closed the half with a 5-0 run for a 25-24 advantage.

Despite a jumper by Ava Isaacson, a pair of layups by Stacey and a 3-pointer by Bessler, Nevis trailed 37-34 with 5:58 to play. Layups by Bessler and Isaacson and a jumper by Marley Mitchell gave the Tigers a 42-39 edge with 2:36 remaining before a 3-pointer and a three-point play by Reagen Ludovissie put Verndale in front 47-43 with 1:12 left. After a layup by Isaacson made it 47-45 with :55 remaining, Stacey’s steal set up Bessler’s game-winner before Carrier’s steal sealed the win.

Bessler (14), Stacey (12) and Isaacson (9) combined for 35 points for the Tigers, who made 18 of 57 field goals (including going 7 for 29 on 3-pointers). Bessler had eight rebounds, Isaacson and Stacey had five assists each, and Bessler (6), Isaacson (5), Stacey (4) and DeWulf (3) combined for 18 steals as Nevis’ defense forced 30 turnovers.

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Ludovissie finished with 24 points, Madison Schmitz scored 10 points and Katie Blaha grabbed 11 rebounds for the Pirates, who made 20 of 26 free throws.

“We went into the first game knowing that we would not have a three-year starter in Makenna Frazier (who is out with a knee injury). Thus we knew Marley and Liddy would be seeing a lot of quality time on the varsity level in the first game. Both girls ended up playing a solid game for us. We were also without our four-year starter at point guard Addison Lindow. Mya filled that tough role for us and performed well to help us get the victory,” said Nevis head coach Paul Schroeder. “It may not have been a super pretty win, but the girls played their hearts out with a lot of adversity thrown at them and got the win. All the girls that played contributed in one way or another to get our first win. It was a hard-fought win for the girls and we'll take that.”

VERNDALE: Kern 1 2-2 4, Schmitz 3 3-6 10, Uselman 0 4-4 4, Blaha 1 3-4 5, Ludovissie 7 8-10 24. Totals: 12 for 34 (FG), 20 for 26 (FT).
NEVIS: Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Funk 2 0-0 6, Isaacson 3 3-8 9, Bessler 5 2-2 14, Stacey 5 0-0 12, Carrier 1 0-0 3, DeWulf 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 for 57 (FG), 5 for 10 (FT).
Halftime: Verndale 25, Nevis 24. Three-pointers: Schmitz 1, Ludovissie 2, Funk 2, Bessler 2, Stacey 2, Carrier 1. Team fouls: Verndale 10, Nevis 17. Rebounds: Nevis 20 (Bessler 8, Mitchell 5, Isaacson 5, Stacey 1, DeWulf 1). Assists: Nevis 13 (Isaacson 5, Stacey 5, Bessler 2, Mitchell 1). Steals: Nevis 19 (Bessler 6, Isaacson 5, Stacey 4, DeWulf 3, Carrier 1). Blocked shots: Nevis 3 (Mitchell 1, Bessler 1, DeWulf 1). Turnovers: Verndale 30, Nevis 15.

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Marley Mitchell and Maggie Carrier (right) defended Verndale's Keara Kern during Nevis' 48-47 victory in the season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

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1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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