A combination of travel and competition made for a fairly grueling week for the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals.
BC/NG trekked west to Kearney to make up a previously postponed contest Tuesday, made another long trip to O’Neill Friday to face Class C1’s #2 rated team, then turned around to entertain Wayne in a “home” game at Newman Grove Saturday.
The result was a pair of competitive, but disappointing Mid-State Conference losses after notching an exhilirating overtime victory at Kearney.
Although this was not the same Kearney Catholic team that defeated BC/NG in last year’s district final, Stars Coach Bob Langan said his 1-8 squad had shown significant improvement lately.
With a young Catholic team making strides, it took all Boone Central/Newman Grove (7-4) had to bring home a 72-65 overtime victory Jan. 2.
Senior Jessie Sullivan was dominant for the Cardinals inside, while Catholic retaliated with long-range bombing to keep pace. Catholic’s Cole Staab drained a trey with 1:14 to play to put the Stars on top 62-60 and BC/NG’s Carter Henry answered with a bucket to tie with :47 to play. Catholic had a final shot to win, but Matt Masker’s 3-point attempt fell short.
Sullivan then scored back-to-back baskets to open overtime and the Cardinals drained 6-of-8 free throws to secure the win.
“This was a great battle between two good teams,” said Harris. “We had a poor second quarter that gave them a comfortable lead. We battled back in the third and had it tied. Then they made a run to finish up the quarter. We would get it down to a two-possession game, but they seemed to capitalize on our risks.
“They were able to shoot 59 percent on two-point field goals and had some bench players do exactly what they needed them to do.”
Sullivan scored six first-quarter points and Gentrup five, as BC/NG trailed by just a point early. Alex Thramer’s six points help O’Neill expand the lead to seven, 32-27, by halftime. Sullivan poured in eight points in a strong third period, but O’Neill regained the lead with a late flourish, Thramer scoring nine points in the period. The Eagles scored 25 points in the final stanza to close out the win, as Thramer added another six points and Justin Appleby seven.
Perhaps feeling the accumulated strain of the busy week, Boone Central/Newman Grove dropped a 56-55 decision to Mid-State foe Wayne (6-6) Saturday at Newman Grove.
Sullivan (6) and Gentrup (5) again got the Cardinals off to a good start and BC/NG took a 15-10 lead after one quarter of play. Wayne closed the margin to two, 21-19, at halftime and kept pace in the third period behind four 3-point field goals. The Blue Devils continued to stay hot in the fourth quarter, sinking three more 3-point field goals and scoring 21 points to offset Nelson’s eight points and rally for the win.
“We played really solid for three-and-a-half quarters against a good team. We fell short of making the plays we needed in the last part of the game on both ends of the floor,” Harris noted. “We need to learn from this and become better and more consistent throughout games.”
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