By John Burbridge firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLES CITY — Down by as many as 20 points and scoring just 6 in the first half, the Charles City Comets girls basketball team stormed back while scoring a second-half season-high 43 points while hosting Northeast Iowa Conference foe Decorah during Friday’s regular-season finale.
But while taking advantage of late free-throw opportunities and persistent foul trouble that plagued several of the Comets’ key players, the Vikings were able to weather the storm while hanging on to win, 51-49.
The 2-point loss was the Comets’ closest game of the season thus far as they closed the regular-season portion at 0-19 overall and 0-12 in the NEIC. They have at least one more game remaining when they host Waterloo East in the first round of the Class 4A-Region 4 bracket on Wednesday.
Charles City senior Jodie Sindlinger scored a game-high and team season-high 21 points while recording a double-double with 11 rebounds.
Before her final home regular-season game, Sindlinger — who has played varsity since her freshman year — was honored before the varsity game with several of her fellow senior teammates as part of “Senior Night”.
The other seniors included Kara Hoffman, who was also honored as the recipient of the Amy Boley Heiter Memorial Scholarship Award before the game; and Cinnamon Evans, who sang the national anthem before tip-off.
With the end result of the game having been considered a foregone conclusion among many in the Decorah cheering section, the Comets slowly began to make things interesting.
With Lynn Hoeft’s steal and overhand dish to lane-filler Lydia Staudt, who somehow was able to catch Hoeft’s high-velocity pass and finish the layup in one motion, the Comets pulled within 8 (44-36) with a little more than three minutes remaining in regulation.
Soon after, Sindlinger was able to seize an offensive rebound for a put-back bucket and foul as the eventual 3-point play drew the Comets within 4 (47-43) with just under a minute left.
Staudt and fellow freshman Rachel Chambers, whose aggressive defense and fist-pumping threatics added fuel to the surge, each scored 10 points making it the first time all season that the Comets boasted three double-figure scorers.
Ashlyn Hoeft, another Comet freshman, had a rare game where she didn’t contribute to the scoring column but had 12 rebounds.
Abigail Milburn and Emma Nierengarten scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, for Decorah (4-17, 3-9)
* In the boys varsity game featuring the same schools and played in Decorah, the Vikings defeated Charles City, 61-51, while dropping the Comets’ record to 12-7 and 7-5.
DECORAH 51, CHARLES CITY 49
Scoring by Quarters
DECORAH 15 9 15 12 — 51
CHARLES CITY 4 2 20 23 — 49
DECORAH — Ambria Pipho 9, Abigail Milburn 15, Amanda Kuehner 5, Emma Nierengarten 14, Skyler Malone 9.
CHARLES CITY — Lydia Staudt 10, Rachel Chambers 10, Mackenzy Bilharz 4, Liz Fiser 4, Jodie Sindlinger 21.