NECEDAH — After finding themselves in a 14-point deficit halftime, the Cardinals nearly rallied all the way back in the second half.

But after getting themselves within two points of Alma Center Lincoln, the comeback bid ran out of steam.

The Hornets (3-2) pulled away to top Necedah (3-2) 50-36 Tuesday, Dec. 5 in a non-conference matchup at Necedah High School. It’s the Cardinals’ second straight loss after a 3-0 start to the season.

Lincoln stormed out to an early lead and controlled the game throughout the first half, eventually holding a 27-13 advantage at the break.

“(It was a) slow start,” said Necedah head coach Pete Lowery. “We did not play good basketball in the first half. We gave them too many opportunities. We had the turnovers — empty possessions killed us.”

Necedah flipped the script in the second half, playing stingy defense that forced a string of turnovers and empty possessions by the Hornets. The Cardinals slowly chipped away at the Lincoln lead, getting it all the way down to 38-36 with 4:45 remaining after a pair of free throws by senior guard Lindsey Murphy.

“I thought we brought the energy in the second half,” Lowery said. “We cut (the deficit) down to two, and that was through getting after it on defense and getting stops.”

However, the Necedah rally would quickly come to a screeching halt.

After clawing their way back to make in a one-possession game, the Cardinals fell apart on both sides of the ball. Turnovers and empty possessions on offense combined with a flurry of fouls on defense allowed the Hornets to end the game on a 12-0 run. In total, Necedah went scoreless on its final eight offensive possessions of the night.

“When you have empty possessions, you lose the momentum,” Lowery said. “And we lost the momentum on a couple possessions where I think, if we could’ve kept going, we could have completed the comeback. But it just wasn’t meant to be and (Lincoln) hit the free throws down the stretch. They did the stuff they needed to do.”

Murphy finished the night with 12 points to lead Necedah. Sophomore guard/forward Miah Hansen and sophomore guard Danielle Becker each added seven points as well for the Cardinals. For Alma Center Lincoln, senior guard Cassidy Huber and junior point guard Paige Sheffer scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Necedah will hit the road to play its second conference game Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. against Bangor.