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Lady Bulldogs, Eagles come out on top in county rivalry action

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By Taylor Crombie

After nearly two weeks off due to inclement weather, high school basketball resumed Friday night with a county rivalry matchup between Oakdale and Wartburg. The hosting Lady Bulldogs took the girls’ game 50-43, while the visiting Eagles defeated the Bulldogs 81-67 for the district split.

Both the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Eagles were slow out of the gate and it took two full minutes for either team to put points on the board. Oakdale’s Hannah Coffey made the first basket of the game right at the six-minute mark. Wartburg’s Hannah Hurtt answered with a bucket, but neither team could really find its rhythm on offense. Delaney Hicks put up 4 points and Coffey added 2 more to give the Lady Eagles an 8-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Bulldogs started to take control of the game in the second quarter as Madison Holley and Jacey Gouge combined for 7 unanswered points to open the period. The Lady Eagles outscored Wartburg 5-4 for the rest of the frame, but the Lady Bulldogs held a 17-15 lead at halftime.

Wartburg led by six after Hurtt and Callie Johnson made three free throws to start the second half, but Oakdale wasn’t ready to hand over the game. The Lady Eagles battled back to tie the game 23-23 after putting up 6 unanswered points. Mackenzie Armes ended Oakdale’s run with a basket and returned the lead to the Lady Bulldogs. Coffey made another bucket and a free throw to momentarily give the lead back to the Lady Eagles, but Hurtt and Johnson drained back-to-back three’s, then Erica Jones put up 5 points to give Wartburg a 36-28 lead headed into the final frame. Coffey led the Lady Eagles in the period with 8 points.

Holley scored for Wartburg to kick off the fourth quarter and give the Lady Bulldogs a 10-point lead, but the Lady Eagles still weren’t finished. Oakdale went on a 9-point run to cut the Lady Bulldogs’ lead down to one. Hicks was a factor during that stretch, scoring 7 of the Lady Eagles’ 9 points.

“Delaney Hicks has been having to play more minutes and she did a really good job,” Oakdale head coach Fred Snow said.

Holley took control of the game with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to put the Lady Bulldogs back up by six. The Lady Eagles ended up outscoring Wartburg 15-14 in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs still won 50-43.

“I just don’t think mentally we were ready to play at the pace we were trying to bring,” Wartburg head coach Jason Davis said. “I thought we made some bad decisions defensively, but the energy came up late in the game and we did get enough shots, so I’ll take the win any way I can get it.”

Davis was happy to get production from the bench as he rotated players throughout the game.

“Erica Jones gave us a good lift there in the second half, Megan Williams early in the game got a couple points off of free throws, and got five or six rebounds. . . we did get some contributions off the bench, Jacey Gouge hit a couple big threes,” Davis said. “Really, that’s what we need to do. If everybody does a little bit and that will take care of us.”

Coffey led all scorers with 20 points, while Hicks was right behind her with 16. Hurtt led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points, while Holley also reached double digits with 11.

Oakdale (43) Francis 1, Ruppe 2, Coffey 20, James 4, Hicks 16.

Wartburg (50) Johnson 7, Holley 11, Hurtt 13, Madison Williams 1, Armes 2, Gouge 8, Jones 6, Megan Williams 2.

The Eagles had no trouble getting their offense going at the beginning of the boys’ game and took a huge 31-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Dawson Smith led Oakdale with 8 points, while Nate Arrowood put up 7 and Jackson Hicks added 6. Dillon Fountain led the Bulldogs with 9 points.

Oakdale slowed down substantially in the second quarter, while Wartburg kept grinding. Both teams scored 15 points in the frame, allowing the Eagles to maintain a 46-32 lead at the end of the first half.

Wartburg came out of the locker room ready to go and outscored the Eagles 14-8 through the first half of the third period to cut Oakdale’s lead down to 54-46.

“I think we kind of took the foot off the gas a little bit,” Oakdale head coach Travis Nelson said. “We made some not so great decisions…when they run the offense the way it’s supposed to be run, it looks really good. When they don’t, it looks like we don’t have a clue what we’re doing.”

The Bulldogs were dealt a major blow around the halfway point of the quarter when Darren Decker went down with a leg injury. Wartburg wasn’t able to maintain the momentum after the game resumed and only scored 6 points for the remainder of the period. The Eagles put up 6 points of their own to hold onto a 60-53 lead headed into the fourth quarter. Hicks began to be more of threat on offense and led the team with 9 points in the period.

The Bulldogs had trouble keeping Hicks contained in the fourth quarter as he scored 11 of the Eagles 21 points to help Oakdale run away with the 81-67 win.

After a quiet first half, Hicks finished the game with a team-leading 28 points. Arrowood and Smith scored 15 points apiece, while Rhett Nelson added 13. Fountain led all scorers with 33 points and went 12 for 17 from the free-throw line.

“I’m proud of my guys,” Wartburg head coach Joe Layne said. “We kept it respectable at the half, then came out after the break and really fought hard.

“Oakdale is just a little better than us right now, but it was an improvement over the first time we played. The biggest thing this time was we didn’t give up, we didn’t quit and we just kept fighting. We made a game of it, but we just couldn’t finish it off.”

Oakdale (81) Hicks 28, Arrowood 15, Barber 3, Bingham 7, Smith 15, Nelson 13.

Wartburg (67) Decker 4, Davidson 2, Harlan 2, Justus 2, Fountain 33, Constant 7, Barnette 6, Branstetter 9.