Perhaps using two disappointing Mid-State Conference tournament losses as fuel for fire, the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals rebounded to score a pair of impressive victories this past week.
Boone Central/Newman Grove (12-8) used strong starts in each half to defeat Class B Northwest 65-51 Tuesday at Grand Island. The Cardinals opened with 20-point burst in the first quarter and continued to build a 32-24 halftime lead. BC/NG then gained separation with an 18-11 run in the third period.
“Northwest was a good ‘bounce back’ game after a let down in the conference tournament,” Card Coach Justin Harris said. “We did a better job on defensive transition and rotated well in our press and half-court defense.
Carter (Henry) hit some big shots to push our lead at the end of the third quarter. We have put emphasis on trying to extend leads to the next tier, instead of letting teams hang around.”
BC/NG made 8-of-23 3-point field goal attempts and 15-of -21 free throws, while outrebounding GINW 39-29. Henry led scoring with 19 points and Jessie Sullivan tallied 16.
Facing a 2016-17 schedule that could fall somewhere between challenging and brutal, Boone Central/Newman Grove has not enjoyed many ‘romps’ this season. The Cards got that chance Saturday at Ainsworth.
BC/NG exploded for 62 first half points – 31 in each quarter – and finished with a 94-46 rout in its most complete offensive performance of the campaign.
“We did exactly what we needed to to start the game, applying pressure and getting easy shots,” Harris commented. “We continued to get great looks at the basket all game long, but especially in the first half, scoring 31 points in each of the first two quarters.
“We finished with 28 assists, which is very impressive and shows our ability to share the ball.”
Ainsworth (3-16) had no answer for the Cards inside, as BC/NG scored 62 points in the painted area. The Cardinals also tallied 34 points off turnovers, as they sank 33-of-43 2-point shot attempts. BC/NG again dominated the boards, with a 30-21 rebound advantage, and forced 21 turnovers with 13 steals.
Sullivan led balanced scoring with 21 points, getting ample support from Stuhr (17), Dylan Gentrup (14) and Henry (11).
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