April 17, 2024

BOYS HOOPS: NV/OM’s season ends after loss to East Mills

Paul Berg (left) and Jacob Mangels (right) battle for a rebound against East Union in the first round of Class 1A district tournament action.

Class 1A No. 9 East Mills used a decisive fourth quarter to pull away from Nodaway Valley/OM Monday, Feb. 12 in a playoff game at Malvern to end the visiting Wolverines’ season.

NV/OM fell 71-40 in the game. East Mills led 20-11 after the first quarter and 35-26 at halftime on a long 3-pointer by senior Jacob Mangels. In the fourth quarter, East Mills hit three 3-pointers and outscored NV/OM 21-4.

The Wolverines end the season 3-19 overall and say goodbye to seniors Dawson Nelson and Mangels.

The loss didn’t come before some playoffs fun. The Wolverines beat East Union in a thriller Friday on the road at Afton.

Nelson took a feed from a teammate just beyond the top of the key and swished a shot through the net that gave his Wolverines a win.

The Wolverines recorded just their third win of the season and it was perhaps their biggest to date. In the opening round of Class 1A, District 14 action, Nodaway Valley/OM earned a 45-44 win and lived to play another game.

With free throws at the 6:16 mark of the third quarter, Nelson also became the latest Wolverine to break 1,000 career points.

“I thought we executed well. I didn’t think we had a very good third quarter, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” said Nelson, who scored 27 on the night. “They were in a box-and-1 all over me. The guys just kept giving me screens, trying to get me open. The ball movement was very important tonight to keep the defense moving around.”

Nelson scored 44 in a non-conference, regular season game with Interstate 35 last Thursday, which the Wolverines won 64-66, so he needed 13 points Friday to reach the 1,000-point mark.

NV senior Dawson Nelson (middle, with the ball) celebrates with his teammates and coaches reaching 1,000 career points in a playoff win Friday over East Union. He is the son of Curtis and Ashlee Nelson.

“I’m grateful for it, it’s a great accomplishment, and I’m happy to get the win too,” Nelson said. “I’m happy to get over that milestone. I wanted to get it, but I mostly wanted to win tonight.”

The game didn’t always come easily for NV/OM, which led 8-6 after the first quarter and 17-14 at halftime.

East Union got two shots from long range from senior Seth Hudson, which put the Eagles up 33-32 at the end of the third.

Trailing in the early stages of the fourth quarter, Nelson got the ball on an in-bounds play with 42 seconds left and took it coast to coast for a layup and a 42-42 tied game. Jase Pettit put the Eagles back up 44-42 on the next possession. That’s when Nelson connected on his game-winner.

NV/OM head coach Thad Tussey said that when a player starts thinking, they play slower, so the goal was to keep the ending sequence simple, yet aggressive.

“We drew a basic set we run with a basic action out of it, with a little movement and cutting. If we didn’t score on the initial action, we were just going to attack because they were aggressive on defense, but there were also things to take advantage of,” Tussey said. “We didn’t get our initial look off our initial action, but luckily we’ve got Dawson, and he can make things happen.”

Tussey said that he was not only proud of Nelson for scoring his 1,000th point, he is proud of how Nelson has involved his teammates in the games throughout the season, including the district win.

Junior Paul Berg was big inside the post under the basket both offensively and defensively. Sophomore guard Titus Hamer was especially active on defense in the game. Senior Jacob Mangels and junior Ben Hoover were each instrumental in rebounding and getting putbacks. Freshman guard Ty Rardin had a big second-quarter shot to keep the Wolverines in the lead.

Tussey hoped his team would play good complimentary basketball against East Mills.

“That’s what we’ve talked about all season, getting better week to week, game to game, and play your best at the end of the season,” Tussey explained.

Wolverine junior Ben Hoover faces pressure in the back court from an East Union defender Friday night.
Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.