With the 2015-16 season hitting the homestretch and postseason play looming, the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals faced an important week against a pair of stout opponents.
Suffice it to say, the Cardinals came through with flying colors.
BC/NG improved to 13-7, with one regular-season game remaining, by defeating Class B Grand Island Northwest and Class C2 #4 Ainsworth on the Cardinals’ home court in Albion Tuesday and Saturday.
Boone Central/Newman Grove ratcheted up the pressure Tuesday to key a 57-43 win over the Northwest Vikings (9-12).
The Cardinals forced numerous Northwest turnovers with full court trapping defense, fueling a 13-3 run to open the contest. Northwest battled back from a 27-16 halftime deficit to close within two in the third period, but three consecutive 3-point baskets by Damian Backus and Scott Ketteler restored a double-digit BC/NG margin. The Vikings never seriously threatened from that point on.
“We did a great job in our press, which forced them into turnovers. We came out strong and had a good first half,” Cardinal Coach Justin Harris praised. “Northwest made a run to start the third quarter, but we answered with three 3-pointers – one by Damian Backus and two from Scott Ketteler – on three straight possessions to push our lead back over 10.
“After that, we seemed to be in complete control of the game. Keaton (Henry) was extremely efficient on offense, only missing two shots in the game.”
Local fans were treated to a high school basketball version of a ‘Wild West shootout’ Saturday, as Boone Central/Newman Grove outgunned C2 Top 10 Ainsworth (16-5) 80-77.
The Cardinals went eye-to-eye, possession-to-possession, shot-to-shot with the hot-shooting Bulldogs to deliver one of their most impressive triumphs of the season. Both teams sank eight 3-point shots and Ainsworth outscored the Cards by five at the foul line, but BC/NG made four more shots inside the arc, shooting 50% on 2-point attempts, to earn the win.
“That was a great, fun high school basketball game,” exclaimed Harris. “I thought we did a great job of pushing the ball and running the floor all night.
“I thought we played pretty good defense, despite giving up 77 points, as we forced their best player to work extremely hard to get any good looks. Ainsworth hit some tough shots and hustled to get some rebounds for extra opportunities.
“Dylan Gentrup had a great shooting night, with 27 points. Jessie Sullivan came in and gave us some great minutes by being aggressive offensively.”
Further details in Print & Online editions of Albion News