Final regular-season game.
Last tune-up for postseason play.
Friday was an important night for the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals, even though Class C2 foe Crofton sported only a 3-16 record entering the contest.
BC/NG, striving to build momentum, took care of business, hitting on all cylinders early and for most of the night, and sprinting away to a 72-45 victory over the visiting Warriors in Albion.
The Cardinals now hope to begin a run to a third straight state tourney berth in this week’s C1-8 Sub-District tournament, needing to string together three straight victories for just the third time in 2014-15.
Boone Central/Newman Grove (12-9) opened sub-district play Tuesday night against Mid-State rival Pierce (16-7). The winner will face the winner of Tuesday’s other contest between Stanton (21-3) and Norfolk Catholic (13-13) Thursday at Norfolk High School (7 p.m.).
BC/NG did a good job of not allowing pesky Crofton to build any false hopes in the regular-season finale.
The Warriors had played tight contests against a number of Mid-State Conference foes, losing four recent games by six points or less. The Cardinals dampened any upset hopes by racing to a 20-6 lead in the opening quarter, while parlaying aggressive, pressure defense and an up-tempo offensive attack. Scott Ketteler was the driving force in the period, tallying nine points for the Cards.
BC/NG did have a bit of a lapse on the defensive end in the second period, but still held a 36-23 halftime advantage and refocused to outscore Crofton 36-22 following intermission. That included a 22-12 sprint to the finish in the final stanza, fueled by 12 points from senior Colt Mangus.
The performance left Coach Dan Zoucha pleased, for the most part.
“Playing a complete game has been our main topic over the past few weeks. We have been close several times and, against Crofton, it was pretty close,” Zoucha commented. “Crofton has played other conference schools very close and we knew we could not overlook them.
“We got out to a very nice start. We scored in various aspects of the game. The second quarter was one where we lost our focus a little and allowed too many drives to the hoop.
“The second half was a very good two quarters of basketball. We had a lot of different combinations on the floor,” he continued. “This was a great way for our seniors to end their regular season at home.”
Further details in Print & Online editions of Albion News