The start and finish were fine.
Boone Central/Newman Grove might like to forget the middle two quarters of the Great Northeast Nebraska Shootout championship game, however.
Wayne built leads as large as 24 points as BC/NG scored just four second-quarter points and tallied only 19 through three quarters of play Monday, Dec. 30, at Wayne State College.
Although the Cardinals exploded for 25 points in the final stanza, they couldn’t completely overcome the deep mid-game hole and dropped a 55-44 decision to their Mid-State Conference rival.
BC/NG began the game in good shape, taking an 8-7 lead with solid defensive play in the opening period. That’s when Ben Hoskins warmed up. Hoskins scored all 13 of Wayne’s second-quarter points while Boone Central/Newman Grove went ice-cold offensively, boosting the Blue Devils to a 20-12 halftime advantage.
That trend continued into the second half. Hoskins added six more points in the third period as Wayne expanded its lead to 37-19. The margin grew to 24 early in the fourth as Kaje Maly buried a pair of 3-point baskets for the Blue Devils.
BC/NG didn’t go down quietly. Pierce Koch (3) and Tyler Hedlund (2) combined to hit five 3-pointers – the Cards’ only 3-point baskets of the game – and whittled the Blue Devil lead to nine during the final five minutes of play before Maly and Jalen Barry sank five final free throws to seal the verdict.
Boone Central/Newman Grove opened the holiday tournament event at Wayne State Dec. 26, pulling away from Laurel-Concord-Coleridge for a 70-45 victory.
After trailing early, BC/NG pushed to a 30-24 halftime lead, then used a 22-12 third-period run to take command. Koch led the surge with seven points in the quarter.
Despite a slow start against West Point-Beemer’s zone defense and a woeful game at the free throw line, Boone Central/Newman Grove advanced to the Great NEN Shootout title game with a 68-54 victory over the Cadets Friday.
BC/NG used a 13-1 run in the second quarter to overcome a 21-15 deficit, then cranked up its defensive pressure in the second half. The Cardinals also got hot from long range, sinking seven 3-point field goals to spark a 40-point second half.
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