A tough-luck skid by the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals reached four games over the weekend with losses to Mid-State Conference foes O’Neill and Wayne.
The cumulative record of BC/NG’s four opponents during this recent stretch is 35-9, and only the loss Friday to Class C1 #0 O’Neill was by more than five points.
The Cardinals have certainly been on the cusp of several victories and Coach Justin Harris feels his team is close to getting back on the winning track.
“I thought we played with more intensity on the defensive side this past weekend,” Harris said. “We struggled shooting vs. O’Neill, while they shot above 40 percent outside the paint.
“I thought we did a nice job bouncing back Saturday night. We did a lot of things well and we had 17 offensive rebounds in the game. We need to finish better around the rim, even with contact.
“There are a few things we have to correct that will make us better in the future.”
Boone Central/Newman Grove saw first hand, this fall, the athleticism O’Neill currently has, as the Eagles rolled through Albion on their way to an undefeated season and Class C1 state football championship.
The Eagles were back in town Friday night and showed in a 66-50 win over BC/NG that they may have the ammunition for a rare football-basketball title double.
O’Neill shot 52 percent overall and sank 6-of-13 3-point attempts, while also gaining a 36-28 rebound advantage over BC/NG. The visitors took an 18-13 lead in the opening period and used a strong 19-8 second period to build a 37-21 halftime advantage.
Boone Central/Newman Grove pushed host Wayne to the limit Saturday before the Blue Devils were able to pull out a 68-65 overtime victory in Mid-State play.
Wayne jumped out to an early 15-7 lead and was up 18-11 after one period, but BC/NG rattled off 20 second-quarter points to take a 31-27 halftime edge.
The Cardinals maintained a five-point advantage, 45-40, entering the fourth quarter, but Wayne rallied behind turnovers to take a 53-50 lead with an 11-0 run. BC/NG fought back again, tieing on a late 3-point basket and just missing the victory when a potential game-winning shot came just after the buzzer.
The Blue Devils took a three-point lead late in overtime with a forced turnover and layup, then blocked a final Cardinal shot attempt.
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