GOOSE LAKE — It did not take long for the Northeast girls basketball team to seize back control of Saturday’s River Valley matinee with Wilton.
One two-minute burst did the trick.
Tied with the Beavers at 34, the Rebels erupted for 11 points in the final two minutes of the third quarter, including six in the last 60 seconds, to jump out to a lead they would not surrender in a 62-50 victory.
Up one at the half, the Rebels created some early breathing room, using separate hoops by Neveah Hildebrandt and Alexis Ehlers with a three-point play by Claire Abbott sandwiched between to extend their lead to 34-28.
Northeast, though, then went cold and remained stuck on 34 points for the next three-plus minutes, allowing Wilton to surge back and tie things up at 34.
The Rebels, though, regained their energy after a block-or-charge call went against them and responded with their big run.
Ehlers set the tone, burying a three-pointer, while Hildebrandt turned a quick steal into a lay-up. Abbott added her own hoop, and so did Ellie Rickertsen before Abbott scored again to make it 45-34 Northeast in the blink of an eye.
Wilton stopped the push with two late free throws, but Northeast picked up where it left off in the fourth quarter, opening the stanza with a 7-2 run — highlighted by another three by Ehlers — to take its biggest lead of the night, 52-38.
The margin would briefly fall to eight points, but it would not get any lower as the Rebels outscored the Beavers, 10-6, the rest of the way to clinch the win.
After trading points early, the Rebels were forced to play catchup in the first quarter, thanks to a 12-4 Wilton run.
Northeast, though, pulled within five (19-14) at the end of the stanza on an Abbott hoop and then proceeded to score the first six points of the second quarter — on a Hildebrandt hoop and four combined free throws from Emma Fowler and Abbott — to take the lead.
The Rebels led by as many as four points in the quarter, after a Valerie Spooner three-pointer, but settled for a 27-26 lead at the half.
Ehlers led a balanced Northeast attack with 16 points, while Abbott was right behind her with 15. Fowler chipped in seven points, while Hildebrandt and Spooner both had six.
Fowler added nine rebounds to her seven points (Abbott grabbed eight) and also paced the Rebels with four assists and five steals.
All told, nine different Rebels saw action in the game and every single one produced at least one assist and one steal. Ehlers had four steals, while Makenzie Petersen had three. Four Rebels (Hildebrandt, Ehlers, Abbott and Petersen), meanwhile, dished out two assists.
It was the second game in less than 24 hours for the Rebels, who welcomed Mid-Prairie on Friday night for both teams’ 2020 opener.
Once again, a big third quarter proved to be key for Northeast.
The Rebels outscored the Golden Hawks, 19-11, to start the second half, turning what had been a three-point halftime lead into a 43-32 advantage heading to the fourth. Northeast kept the visitors at bay in the final stanza for a 60-47 victory.
Fowler sparked the Rebels’ big third quarter, knocking down three three-pointers and scoring 14 of her career-high 28 points in the stanza.
Fowler added 11 rebounds for good measure, giving her a double-double.
Ehlers added seven points and three steals (Fowler also had three steals), while Hildebrandt and Rickertsen both had five points and Abbott matched Fowler by grabbing 11 rebounds.