Sweet victory at last: Decorah girls basketball comes from behind to beat Charles City

Posted: Fri, Jan 11, 2019 9:11 PM
Decorah's Abigail Milburn (15) drives for a layup in the 4th quarter of the Vikings 41-35 win over Charles City (Photos by Decorahnews.com's own Dirk Umbanhowar)

It took until the 14th game, and the calendar had to flip to 2019, but Decorah Viking girls basketball head coach Shannon Quandahl and the rest of her team finally had something to smile about Friday night, as the Decorah girls basketball won its first game of the year, a 41-35 come from behind victory over the visiting Charles City Comets, who were also looking for their first win on the year.

Decorah had to come from behind, but kept the game close throughout. After a sloppy start by both teams, Decorah's Skyler Malone got the scoring started on a driving layup with 5:37 to go in the first quarter that also drew a foul on Charles City. The Vikings led the Comets at the end of the first quarter by a score of 9-8, thanks to six points by Malone. Charles City was led in the period by Lynn Hoeft, who had four points.

The second quarter would be defined by runs, as Charles City's Jodie Sindlinger helped to lead a 8-0 Comets run to put them up 16-9 with 3:15 to go in the half. The Vikings would respond, however, as a Malone basket would kickstart a 9-0 Decorah run to take the lead back, 17-16, with about a minute left in the half. The run included an and one converted by sophomore Abigail Milburn, and a putback off a missed free throw by fellow sophomore forward Emma Nierengarten, who would finish the game as Decorah's leading scorer with 13 points. A two point jump shot by Lisabeth Fiser with 35 seconds remaining would end up giving Charles City the 18-17 halftime advantage.

A back and forth 3rd quarter included the game's first three-pointers, as the Comets Lydia Staudt hit two for her six points in the third, and Decorah's Ambria Pipho hit the Vikings' first with just five seconds to go to make the score 31-30 in favor of Charles City going into the 4th. The Vikings' Emma Nierengarten scored eight points on her own in the quarter, including four in a row at one point.

In a close game with six minutes remaining, Decorah's Abigail Milburn made arguably the play of the game as she made up for her two missed free throws just seconds earlier with a steal that she took all the way to the bucket to give Decorah a 31-30 lead with 5:30 to go. Decorah's Abigail Kuehner would break another tie two minutes later with two free throws to give the Vikings a 36-34 lead with just under four minutes to go, and the Vikings didn't look back, scoring five of the game's final six points to lock up the 41-35 victory.

As the clock hit zero at Decorah High School, there was utter jubilation among the Decorah girls basketball team, their parents, fellow classmates, and those from Decorah in attendance who witnessed the first win of the varsity girls' season.

Along with Nierengarten's 13 points, Skyler Malone also reached double figures for the Vikings with 10 points. The Comets were led by 12 points from Sindlinger, along with 9 in the game for Lydia Staudt. Decorah improves to 1-13 on the season, with Charles City dropping to 0-12 on the year.

The Vikings will be back in action next Friday, as they travel to Waverly to take on the Go-Hawks. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Waverly-Shell Rock High School.

Decorah's Emma Nierengarten (31) goes up for a layup. Nierengarten led all scorers with 13
Decorah's lone senior Skyler Malone (53) goes up for a tough shot it traffic on Friday in Decorah
Decorah head coach Shannon Quandahl looks on from the sidelines
Decorah's Amanda Kuehner (21) drives the baseline