Wolfpack Wins NVC Tourney Opener

ELGIN — The Wolfpack outscored Niobrara 16 to six in the second quarter and went on to claim a 70 to 31 victory in the opening round of the NVC Conference Tournament.

Playing Saturday night on their home court, Elgin Public-Pope John led by just two points, 12 to 10, after one quarter.

The Wolfpack pulled away in the second quarter and then dominated the second half. Over the final two quarters, EPPJ outscored Niobrara 42 to 15.

“This was a good test for us in the first round of conference,” Coach Tory Gilson said. “Niobrara’s record is not good, but they are going to bring a different kind of basketball that will make you see different things for your team. They were very scrappy for the first half, playing with fire and working the ball into the post to get open shots. We pressed them at first and they scored at will.”

At halftime, Gilson said the team made an adjustment, deciding to play man defense. As a result, the intensity picked up which helped the Wolfpack outscore Niobrara in the second half.

“Jeff Starman is playing top notch basketball,” Gilson said, “while J.J. Reestman is finding his shot … Evan Parks is quietly beginning to be the leader on the floor and play good defense. Tyler Johnson is being very scrappy on offense and picking up points off of rebounds and hard work. 

“After getting an earful in the locker room they really stepped up their play and pounced on the Lions to finish the game strong. I was proud of the effort.”

Starman led all scorers with 24 points. Johnson and Reestman each had 10 points.

Niobrara was led by Josh Kemp with 10 points, Curtis Dather had eight.