COLO - If the season opener is any indication of how things will go for the Colo-NESCO girls’ basketball team this season, the Royals have to be feeling pretty good about themselves.
Colo-NESCO, ranked No. 12 in Class 1A to start the season, snapped a four-game losing streak against rival West Marshall with a 35-27 victory over the Trojans Friday in Colo.
After making state for the third year in a row in 2015, the Royals had sputtered against more physical and athletic teams in the postseason each of the past three seasons. On Friday, they passed their first test against such an opponent, winning a gritty defensive battle on the strength of a great fourth quarter.
“This is a very big win for us,” Colo-NESCO junior forward Rylee Purvis said. “It’s going to fuel our fire for this whole season.”
The Royals outscored West Marshall 12-3 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Purvis was the main catalyst, putting up six of her 11 points in the period and also coming up with several key rebounds. She finished the game with nine boards, four steals and one block.
“I knew that my team had been working really hard for me and I just wanted to work even harder for them,” Purvis said. “I always work hard for my team because everybody out there is always putting in all of their effort and they all trust me, so I want to put in my share.”
A Purvis basket gave Colo-NESCO a 29-27 lead with three minutes, 27 seconds left in the fourth, and the Royals led the rest of the way. Lauryn Hill scored a big basket off a steal to put them up by four and Purvis followed with two more baskets to ice the game.
Colo-NESCO had led 19-13 at the half behind the hot shooting of veteran guard Faith Vincent, who ended up with 11 points, six assists and three steals. But in the third quarter, West Marshall’s physical play got to the Royals and they got sloppy with the basketball.
Kayla Cripps scored seven of her 11 points for West Marshall in the second half to help the Trojans move in front.
In need of a boost, Colo-NESCO went to 6-3 center Emma Stalzer. Stalzer scored two big baskets in the third quarter — her team’s only points of that period — to keep the Royals afloat offensively until they could regroup in the fourth quarter.
“Being so tall is an advantage,” Stalzer said. “They had a lot of tall and bigger girls too, so there was competition between all of us and it was good. I worked really hard.”
Vincent said it was nice to finally get a win over the Royals’ rivals from the east.
“The past three years we’ve lost to them, so beating them my senior year feels really good,” Vincent said. “We’ve just been waiting for this.”
Hill finished with three points, two steals and a block, and Megan Carlson, McKenzie Niemeyer and Gracie Kettwig each added two points apiece for Colo-NESCO.
Teresa Disney and Renae Schaper each finished with four points and Avril Sinning and Jaiden Hart chipped in three apiece for West Marshall in a losing effort.
Colo-NESCO 35, West Marshall 27
WM 9 4 11 3 - 27
CN 9 10 4 12 - 35
West Marshall (27) - Eliza Girard 0 0-0 0, Avril Sinning 1 0-0 3, Kayla Cripps 5 1-3 11, Avery Randall 0 0-0 0, Jaiden Hart 1 0-0 3, Abby Green 0 0-0 0, Teresa Disney 1 2-5 4, Grace Girard 1 0-0 2, Renae Schaper 2 0-0 4. Totals: 11 3-8 27. 3-point field goals (2): Sinning, Hart. Fouls: 13.
Colo-NESCO (35) - Faith Vincent 3-11 2-2 11, Lauryn Hill 1-4 1-3 3, Emmy Hostetler 0-3 0-0 0, McKenzie Niemeyer 1-1 0-1 2, Rylee Purvis 5-6 0-1 11, Megan Carlson 1-3 0-0 2, Gracie Kettwig 0-2 2-4 2, Emma Stalzer 2-6 0-0 4. Totals: 13-36 5-11 35. 3-point field goals (4): Vincent 3, Purvis. Rebounds (27): Purvis 9. Assists (10): Vincent 6. Steals (14): Purvis 4. Blocks (3): Hill, Purvis, Stalzer. Fouls: 14.