Norwalk girls take down Pella Christian, boys stumble and wrestling takes its first loss

Zach Jevne
| Special to the Register

After winning two games earlier in the week, the Norwalk boys’ basketball team lost in a road conference game at Pella Christian Friday night losing 55-51. The loss sends Norwalk to 8-4 overall and 4-2 in the Little Hawkeye conference, which puts them in third place behind Dallas Center-Grimes and Pella, who are both undefeated in conference play (6-0).

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak after Norwalk beat Carlisle, 56-20, and Grinnell, 56-38, on Jan. 17 and 18.

In the game against Pella, everything looked to be going as planned for Norwalk as they took a 34-23 lead at half and were poised to sweep the season series with the Eagles. The Warriors beat Pella Christian handily back on Dec. 4, 79-56, in Norwalk’s highest-scoring game of the season to date.

Instead, Pella Christian turned in a third-quarter comeback that would send them all the way to victory.

The third is the tell-tale quarter for this year’s Warriors team. When Norwalk wins the third quarter, they are 8-0. When losing or tied in third quarter points, 0-4. Friday night Pella Christian won the third, 18-5.

In the wins over Carlisle and Grinnell, both at home, Norwalk looked like the defensive team coach Chris Larson has been working on and developing this year. After a tied first quarter, 14-14, against Carlisle (2-10), the Warriors only gave up six more points in the game and only two in the second half. Evan Borst led with 16 points off the bench and Joe Brown added 13 as Carlisle shot just 24% (8-for-33) from the field and committed 17 turnovers.

In a make-up game from the previous week versus Grinnell, Norwalk’s Cole Tunender scored 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting to lead the Warriors to a 56-38 win. Grant Larson tallied six points, five assists and four steals while Borst got another double-figure game with 10 points.

Norwalk girls’ basketball wins

The girls’ team won both its games this week with a 52-37 win over Carlisle on Jan. 18 and beating Pella Christian for the second time this year with a 41-34 comeback win Friday night, Jan. 22, on the road. It was the fifth-straight win for the girls over the Eagles dating back to Feb. 2019. The girls are now back over .500 on the season at 7-6.

Norwalk got four players in double figures in the win over Carlisle as the Warriors outscored the Wildcats 19-6 in the third to take command of the game. Bren Moritz scored 13 with seven rebounds, Jocelyn Bice added 12 points and five steals, while Jayden Lammers scored 11 and Ava Johnson 10.

Carlisle (1-10) was led by sophomore Katie Keeney’s 18 points. The Norwalk basketball teams played at Indianola on Saturday, Jan. 23 before two more conference games this week with Pella on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and at Oskaloosa on Friday, Jan. 29.

Wrestlers lose first dual of season

The Norwalk wrestlers got a taste of the top-end of Class 3A when they took on No. 3 Waukee and Dowling at a double dual on Thursday.. The Warriors couldn’t stay with Waukee in the night’s first dual, dropping its first of the season, 51-18. Norwalk would bounce back with a come-from-behind win in the final three matches to beat Dowling Catholic, 46-29. Norwalk is now 12-1 in duals this year.

“We knew it would be a test against a couple of very talented teams,” Norwalk coach Brandon Schmitz said. “If we’d been able to flip a few of those matches I’d feel a little better today but we showed some grit and resiliency. We know those are the teams we’ll have to beat so it’s better to figure it out now then on the fly in February.”

Norwalk got out to a great start versus Dowling with the match starting at 145 pounds. The Warriors built a 22-4 lead after pins at 160 (Cade Schmidt), 170 (Tristan Duncan) and 182 (Nick Marker). Dowling, however, would rally and win five of the next six matches from 195 to 120 and take the lead, 29-28. Norwalk’s only win in those weights was Maddux Borcherding-Johnson, who remains undefeated on the year at 285.

Norwalk’s Donovan Card got the team back on top with a pin at 126, which was followed by pins from Grant Harbour and Austin Brenzier at 138 to capture the victory.

On Saturday, Jan. 16, Norwalk won the Bob Sharp Invitational in Ankeny and crowned three champs. Borcherding-Johnson (285), Schmidt (160) and Marker (182) all took first place, while Jacob McKenzie (113) and Jason Kritzler (195) placed second for the Warriors. Trent Harper (120) and Landon Card (145) finished third place to help the Warriors take the team title over Linn-Mar.

Wrestlers also attended the Ed Winger in Urbandale, on Saturday, Jan. 23 and will attend a conference showdown with Indianola on Thursday, Jan. 28.

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