NEW KNOXVILLE — The New Bremen Cardinals were able to stay one step ahead of New Knoxville the whole night to defeat the Rangers 50-42 Friday in a MAC Contest at New Knoxville.
“We just stayed in front of people on defense,” Cardinals head coach Adam Dougherty said. “We stayed in our gap and followed our rules and if we would have done that all night it might have been a different kind of game.
“We are a real aggressive and real physical team and maybe we play with our hands too much,” Dougherty said. “But when we decide to lock people down we can be pretty good defensively.”
“We couldn’t emphasize enough to our guys that every possession counts,” Rangers head coach Kort Fledderjohann said. “We had four or five between late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter where we got the deficit down to two points. We forced them to shoot the shot we wanted, but we just didn’t get the rebound.”
Aaron Clune scored 20 points for the Cardinals.
New Knoxville’s Lucas Leffel also scored 20 points.
New Bremen had a slim 34-30 lead going into the fourth quarter, but New Knoxville had a couple of opportunities to close the gap as Seth Kuck missed two free throws in the first minute however Andrew Arnett scored on a layup with seven minutes left to cut the lead to 34-32.
With 6:18 left in the game the Cardinals missed a shot and the Rangers got the rebound but Ethan Elshoff stole the ball and scored on a layup to put the lead back to four and with five minutes left Elliott Westerbeck scored for a 38-32 lead.
“When New Bremen got the momentum,” Dougherty said. “Ethan Elshoff makes a gutsy play and takes the ball out of the kids hand and scores and that changes the game.”
The remainder of the game New Bremen outscored the Rangers 12-10 for the 50-42 victory limiting the Rangers to 10 free throws down the stretch.
Both teams traded leads in the first quarter with New Knoxville leading 9-8 with 2:50 left, but the Cardinals scored three layups in the final 1:45 to grab a 14-9 lead after one quarter.
The Cardinals kept the lead 19-13 with five minutes left, but New Knoxville went on a 5-2 run to cut the lead to 21-18 at halftime.
“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Fledderjohann said. “We tried to open up the floor more and drive more and we got some calls to go to the line.”
New Knoxville got the Cardinals into foul trouble throughout the third quarter as New Bremen was called for 10 fouls in the quarter, but New Knoxville could only cut the deficit to two and trailed after three quarters 34-30.
“I thought we beat them to spots as much as we could tonight,” Dougherty said. “One of our keys was to beat them to spots and force them to reverse the ball.”
The Cardinals (6-3, 2-1) entertains Covington tonight, while New Knoxville (4-5, 0-2) hosts Jackson Center tonight.