Slow start, strong finish.
That was the narrative for the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals in the 2015 Adams Central Holiday Tournament Dec. 29-30 at Hastings.
Class B Top 10 Bennington thumped BC/NG 65-48 in the opening round Tuesday, but the Cardinals bounced back – as they had several times during the first month of the season – to defeat Broken Bow 45-32 in Wednesday’s consolation contest.
Boone Central/Newman Grove actually hung with Bennington in the first half, trailing by just three points (31-28) at halftime despite allowing 21 points in the second quarter.
The Badgers racked up another 21-point stanza in the third, but worse for BC/NG, the Cardinals could tally just five in the period, turning a competitive contest into a lopsided decision.
“We had a tough matchup against Bennington,” acknowledged Cardinal Coach Justin Harris. “We were down only three at half, but we didn’t make shots early in the second half and that, unfortunately, led to some defensive miscues. Our biggest issue was giving up too many second chances to a good team. We just couldn’t afford to do that.”
It took a while for BC/NG to kick into gear Wednesday, but a 16-6 second-quarter run and a sterling defensive performance paved the way for a 13-point victory over Broken Bow.
Trailing 14-8 after one quarter of play, the Cardinals forged a 24-20 halftime lead with the second-period surge, then held the Indians to just 12 additional points following intermission.
“I was pleased with the way we bounced back vs. Broken Bow,” Harris said. “We had a poor first quarter, but our defense was solid. Patience on offense, with crashing the boards, led to a comfortable win. Keaton (Henry) and Kyle both had excellent games.
“We have a tough month ahead and we’ll look to continue to improve on what we learned from this tournament.”
The Boone Central/Newman Grove girls opened the holiday event with a desultory effort against host Adams Central, then came back in better form the following day despite dropping a competitive contest to Broken Bow.
The Cardinals were never really in a 65-26 loss to Adams Central Tuesday. The Patriots raced to a 22-5 lead by the end of the first quarter and had a 36-10 advantage at halftime.
It was a performance Card Coach Andy Imus found disappointing.
“I thought the girls came out pretty flat vs. Adams Central,” Imus said. “We stressed limiting their offensive rebounds and, halfway through the first quarter, we allowed four. They had possessions they would have 2, 3, 4 offensive rebounds, and we can’t allow that to happen.”
Imus did see some improvement Wednesday, although Broken Bow downed the Cardinals 51-41. The Indians expanded a 26-21 halftime lead with a 14-7 third-period run and BC/NG could not dig out of that hole despite recording their highest-scoring quarter in the fourth, with 13 points.
“We came out much better vs. Broken Bow, as we took a quick 6-0 lead, compliments of 3-pointers by Ashlynn Baker and Esmer Arreguin,” Imus noted. “The second half saw some more of the same from the previous day. We would get a defensive stop and turn it over, or we’d score and come back on defense to give up 2, 3, 4 offensive rebounds. We just couldn’t sustain any momentum.”
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