Having won four of five games, including a 27-point thrashing of Crofton in the regular-season finale, the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals felt poised for a postseason run and possible third straight trip to the state basketball tournament.
Mid-State Conference rival Pierce had other ideas.
With a dazzling display of offensive execution and shooting prowess – as well as their trademark, harassing, man-to-man defense – the Bluejays raced to early leads in a C1-8 Sub-District contest Tuesday at Norfolk and ended BC/NG’s season with a 20-5 blitz that capped a somewhat-shocking 65-39 victory.
Certainly different than the Cardinals’ 60-54 overtime victory over Pierce in December.
Pierce (17-7), with just one starter as tall as 6-foot-1, appeared to be at a disadvantage, at least in the paint, to a Cardinal line-up featuring two 6-foot-6 starters and none under 6-foot-3.
The Jays battled Boone Central/Newman Grove evenly on the boards, however, and used their quickness to get open shots, while forcing BC/NG out of its offensive comfort zone.
That led to a decisive shooting disparity.
Pierce sank as many three-point field goals (9) as two-pointers and went 20-of-22 at the free throw line. Meanwhile, BC/NG struggled to 33 percent overall accuracy, including 3-of-12 from behind the arc, and made just 8-of-17 foul shots.
“We never could get a flow on offense, and we couldn’t do the things we wanted to do,” Cardinal Coach Dan Zoucha told reporters after the game. “They played great defense, but sometimes we were our own worst enemy.”
Further details in Print & Online editions of Albion News