The Norris City-Omaha-Enfield Fighting Cardinal got their 2019-20 season underway Tuesday evening when they traveled to Christopher to play their first round game in the 45th Annual Christopher Turkey Tournament.  This year the Fighting Cardinals would open play against the Ziegler-Royalton Tornadoes. First quarter action kicked off in NCOE's favor when they won the tip and quickly converted to claim the early 2-0 lead.  The remainder of the quarter would witness both teams trading baskets and the Tornadoes claiming the 11-10 advantage when the buzzer sounded.  The second quarter was very similar as the first for both teams but as the 8:00 would wind down it would be Z-R outscoring the Fighting Cardinals 11-9 to leave NCOE facing a three point deficit, 22-19, as they headed to the locker room. Following intermission, both teams would hit the court with better intensity than either had shown thus far.  However, the Tornado offense would be a little sharper than the Fighting Cardinals as Ziegler-Royalton was connecting from long range where NCOE was not.  This offensive struggle would find the Fighting Cardinals being outscored yet once again and now facing a six point deficit heading into the final frame of action.  This fourth and final quarter would finally see NCOE picking up their offense and following a 7-2 run the Tornadoes were forced to call a timeout.  Following the making of a front end of a 1-1 the Fighting Cardinals would tie the game at 39-all with 5:49 left to play.  The game would bounce back and forth for quite a while and see Z-R extend their lead back out to four points until CJ Richardson would connect on a three pointer to bring the game down to one point, 44-45.  Ty Money would follow this with a layup of his own to put the Fighting Cardinals back on top 46-45, and it appeared NCOE had the game in wraps when Trey Simmons would connect to put NCOE up 48-45 with just second remaining.  The Tornadoes did not let down one bit and found a weakness in the NCOE defense and hit the open man who would knock down the uncontested three pointer to knot the game at 48 and force overtime. Overtime would find both teams struggling to get a shot to fall and as the first extra period would expire both teams would add four more points to their totals to find the game still tied, 52-52, forcing yet another overtime period.  This extra session would be a little faster paced on both ends of the floor as the lead would bounce back and forth.  This pattern would continue until Ty Money would connect on two free throws with 33.9 left to give NCOE the 58-55 lead.  Money would then come up with a steal and drive getting fouled and returning to the charity stripe.  This time he would only make one but this would stretch the Fighting Cardinal lead to 59-55 with just 9.6 seconds remaining.  The Tornadoes would go down the floor and make an uncontested basket to bring the game within two points, but all NCOE had to do was inbounds the ball and hold it until the buzzer sounded to claim their first victory of the season and move into the championship bracket with a 59-57 victory. Ty Money and Joe Melton led the scoring for NCOE (1-0) with 18 and 17 points respectively followed closely by Trey Simmons with 12 points. Others scoring for the Fighting Cardinals were Eli Brown five points, CJ Richardson four points, and Ty Lane three points.

 

             1       2       3       4        OT    OT    Final

Z-R        11      11      15      11         4       5       57      

NCOE    10      9       12     17         4       7       59