Small, but mighty.
Although the 2017 Holiday Hoops at Boone Central tournament included just four teams, it was a grouping considered one of the strongest in holiday events involving mid-class schools in the state.
Undefeated Broken Bow. Bennington, ranked #3 in Class B. Class C1 #4 Adams Central. And host Boone Central/Newman Grove, rated #9 in C1.
In a pair of tense, hotly-contested battles, the BC/NG Cardinals handed Broken Bow its first loss Friday, then fell just short against the Bennington Badgers in Saturday’s championship tilt.
Boone Central/Newman Grove (6-2) capped Friday’s first round of games with a strong second half and 49-45 victory over the Broken Bow Indians.
The Cardinals trailed 22-16 at halftime, but opened the second half with a 19-11 third-period run and made the necessary clutch plays in the fourth quarter to earn the ‘W.’
“We got off to a hot start the first few minutes, then struggled with turnovers and shot selection the rest of the half,” noted BC/NG Coach Justin Harris. “We did a great job the second half attacking and finishing. Broken Bow did a great job doubling on Jessie (Sullivan). The guards did a good job attacking when the ball was kicked out.
“Defensively, we were pretty sound the entire game against a team that has six capable scorers.”
In a battle of point runs in Saturday’s Holiday Hoops championship game, Bennington made the final and decisive one in a 57-46 victory. Boone Central/Newman Grove fought back from a 41-31 deficit to trail by just two points with five minutes to play, but the Badgers finished the contest with a 14-5 burst.
“They are a good team. I thought we executed some things very well,” Harris commented. “We played great defensively, especially in the second quarter.
“We had a few miscommunications that gave up easy shots. The biggest letdown was allowing a few offensive rebounds in the third quarter that led to easy scores.
“We made a great run in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get the key stop we needed to get the lead.”