Clarinda found some holiday cheer Thursday, Dec. 19, as the Cardinals collected their first victory of the season.
Since Clarinda and South Page are sharing athletic programs, a girl/boy doubleheader was held against Bedford Thursday at College Springs. The Cardinals emerged with a 40-28 win over the Bulldogs in the girls’ contest.
Sparking the offensive attack for Clarinda was Faith Espinosa. The junior posted a team-high 12 points, including one of the two three-pointers the Cardinals had against Bedford, and four rebounds. She was also credited with two steals and one assist.
Jessalee Neihart, who played for South Page as a freshman and sophomore, found the familiar surroundings to her liking as she delivered nine points for Clarinda. Neihart also provided the other three-pointer for the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Neihart joined Hallee Fine with a team-high 10 rebounds and led the team with three steals. Fine contributed eight points, three assists and one steal as well.
Taylor Cole was credited with six points, six rebounds and one steal. Chloe Strait rounded out the Clarinda scoring with five points. She also tallied five rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Jillian Graham and Jordan Van Gundy chipped in with four rebounds apiece. Madison Morgan recorded two caroms, while Cheyenne Sunderman finished with one rebound. Sunderman also played for South Page last season.
Clarinda then journeyed to Denison Friday, Dec. 20, for its final game before the holiday break. However, the Monarchs held serve in the Hawkeye 10 Conference battle with a 54-23 win over the visiting Cardinals.
Denison seized early control of the game as the Monarchs scored the first 13 points of the night. Neihart finally got the Cardinals on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws. Neihart paced Clarinda with nine points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
The Monarchs extended the lead to 18-2 before Strait hit a jumper along the baseline to make the score 18-4 heading to the second quarter. Denison opened period number two with a conventional three-point play.
However, Fine answered with a free throw to make the score 21-5. Besides her lone point, Fine contributed 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one blocked shot on the night.
Following a bucket by the Monarchs, Strait hit her second shot of the game as she finished with four points. Strait also provided six rebounds, two steals, two blocks and one assist.
However, Denison countered with seven unanswered points to stretch the advantage to 29-7.
Cole snapped the surge by the Monarchs. Neihart tacked on one more basket down the stretch as the Cardinals found themselves trailing 32-11 at halftime.
Following the intermission, Clarinda put together its best effort of the night with 10 points in the third quarter. Still, the Monarchs maintained a 44-21 edge heading to the final period.
Denison put the first four points of the quarter on the scoreboard before Espinosa opened the scoring for the Cardinals. A short time later, Neihart connected on the lone three-pointer of the game for Clarinda to trim the margin to 20 points, 36-16.
After a made shot for the Monarchs, Espinosa was fouled on a three-point attempt. She went to the line and converted all three attempts. She ended her night with five points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Neihart cut the lead to 39-21 before Denison scored the final five points of the quarter to reclaim a 44-21 advantage. The Monarchs then sealed the win by opening the fourth quarter with 10 unanswered points.
Cole hit the only basket of the period for Clarinda as she finished with four points. She was also credited with six rebounds and one assist.
Van Gundy also chipped in with four rebounds, while Graham and Sunderman added three and two rebounds respectively. Morgan also pulled in one board for Clarinda.