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N-K’s balance too much for North Union boys cagers

BEHIND-THE-BACK SAVE — North Union’s Aidan Fries (left) prevents the basketball from going out-of-bounds and makes a behind-the-back pass to Warrior teammate Gage Madden during Top of Iowa Conference action Monday night in Armstrong. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — The Northwood-Kensett starting boys basketball lineup found the Armstrong gymnasium to its collective liking Monday night.

The visiting Vikings scorched the nylon nets on 23 of 38 field-goal shooting, including 7 of 12 behind the 3-point arc, to coast to a 61-36 Top of Iowa Conference triumph over the North Union Warriors.

Northwood-Kensett opened the game with a 9-1 surge before capping its 19-7 first-quarter lead with back-to-back 3s from Caden Roberts and Cade Hengesteg, respectively.

Guard Gage Madden generated six of the Warriors’ first seven points to keep the hometown lineup within 13-7 near the end of the opening segment before Roberts scored three of his 15 points.

Roberts hit a pull-up trifecta from right of the key, and later spotted Hengesteg for a buzzer-beating trey for a 12-point lead.

Jay Heinen tossed in a 10-foot left-wing jumper to open the second quarter for North Union, but Jason Hanson’s passing ignited the Vikings’ ensuing 14-0 run to build a 33-9 margin.

Hanson, who produced eight points and seven rebounds, converted one of Hengesteg’s four assists for a layup to trigger the double-digit outburst before Roberts converted a rare 4-point play to fuel back-to-back 3-pointers for Northwood-Kensett.

Kael Julseth, who netted 10 points, buried a left-wing 3 off a Hanson kickout pass before Hanson tipped the basketball to Te’Juan Whitelow for two of his game-best 17 points on a low-post lay-in. Julseth added another left-wing trey off an assist from Whitelow to create the 24-point lead with 3 minutes left in the opening half.

Nick Schiltz then poured in eight of North Union’s 18 third-quarter points on the strength of two 3-pointers to trim the Vikings’ lead to 51-29, but it was not enough down the stretch.

Madden finished with 12 points to top the Warriors, Schiltz netted nine points, Logan Odegaard pulled down six rebounds and Aidan Fries pocketed three steals.

Whitelow neared double-double territory by grabbing a game-best eight boards to complement his 17-point effort for the Vikings, while Roberts added seven rebounds to his 15-point performance. Hengesteg and Julseth each tallied 10 points.

North Union (0-5) plays host to Belmond-Klemme tonight in Armstrong, while Northwood-Kensett (1-4) hits the road to Mason City, Iowa, on Friday night to face Newman Catholic.

NK 19 20 12 10 — 61

NU 7 4 18 7 — 36

NORTH UNION (36)

Schmidt 1-2 0-0 2, Schiltz 2-8 3-4 9, Odegaard 1-6 1-2 3, Fries 1-10 0-0 2, Madden 6-12 0-0 12, Heinen 1-4 0-0 2, Anderson 1-1 0-0 2, Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Neusch 0-1 0-0 0, D. Fothergill 0-2 2-4 2, Lofstrom 1-3 0-0 2, Hagedorn 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-51 6-10 36.

NW-KENSETT (61)

Roberts 5-9 2-3 15, Julseth 3-5 2-2 10, Whitelow 7-9 3-6 17, Hanson 4-8 0-0 8, Hengesteg 4-5 0-0 10, Sims 0-1 1-2 1, Yezek 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-38 8-13 61.

3-pointers: NK 7-12 (Roberts 3-7, Julseth 2-2, Hengesteg 2-2, Sims 0-1); North Union 2-11 (Schiltz 2-4, Fries 0-3, Heinen 0-2, Jones 0-1, D. Fothergill 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: NK 28 (Whitelow 8, Roberts and Hanson 7 each); North Union 21 (Odegaard 6). Assists: NK 9 (Hengesteg 4); North Union 2. Steals: North Union 7 (Fries 3); NK 3.

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