The Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals are a work in progress.
BC/NG did show some progress Friday, bouncing back from its first loss of the 2014-15 season to clip Mid-State Conference rival Norfolk Catholic in Albion.
The week did not start on a positive note, as Twin River hung on after a strong start and handed the Cardinals a tough 46-44 homecourt loss.
BC/NG scored just five points in the opening period on two free throws by Scott Ketteler and a Damian Backus three-pointer. After taking a 10-5 lead, Twin River extended its advantage to 23-16 by intermission.
“Being mentally and physically ready to play an athletic contest is a vital part of competing. Against Twin River, we were not mentally ready to start the game,” said Card Coach Dan Zoucha. “We were 0-of-14 on two-point field goal attempts in the first quarter. You will always have a difficult time winning with those numbers.
“Teams can overcome an average or poor shooting night with a ‘lockdown’ attitude on defense. Too many times – six, to be exact – we did not have that attitude and Twin River was able to score easy layups with no defensive effort or ‘lockdown’ attitude by us.”
Boone Central/Newman Grove stormed back with a 17-9 run in the third period, but the Titans sank 7-of-8 free throws in the quarter to avoid complete collapse, then got 10 points from Ty Taylor in the final stanza to hold on for the win.
Boone Central/Newman Grove applied some of the lessons learned Tuesday in Friday’s contest against Norfolk Catholic.
The Cardinals got off to a much better start and overcame a third-period point drought to knock off their conference rival, 48-41, in Albion. BC/NG improved to 5-1 with the victory.
With Travis Kennedy and Keaton Henry each scoring four points, BC/NG took a 14-11 first-quarter lead and extended it to 27-19 by halftime as Ketteler (6) and Zac Glidden (4) combined for 10 second-period points.
“Norfolk Catholic and our team match up very well. Both have good size and good athletes,” Zoucha noted. “In order to have the outcome we wanted, we spoke of a good start and great finish.
“We felt our full-court pressure could cause some problems – and it did. At times, however, we got out of position and they were able to get some transition baskets.
“We really battled ourselves in the third quarter. We forced a few shots and gave Catholic a chance to get back in the game.”
Indeed, BC/NG scored just three points in the third – all at the free throw line – and the visitors trimmed the Card lead to just two. BC/NG regrouped in the fourth and used an 18-13 finish, with Kennedy knocking down a three-pointer and hitting two free throws, and Henry adding four points.
Further details in Print & Online editions of Albion News