ST. MARYS — The New Bremen Cardinals have reached the halfway point of the season a team to be reckoned with.
The Cardinals shook off a slow start to win their fourth straight game and move to 8-2 on the season with a 50-40 win at St. Marys to wrap up a double weekend of road wins.
“I’m really pleased with where this team is,” New Bremen head coach Adam Dougherty said. “And the thing is, we’re still getting better. When things go bad, when adversity happens, we just keep playing. I think that showed tonight. In that first half, we were in a low-scoring dogfight and we’re not scoreboard watching. We’re just competing. We just got to the half, fixed some things at the half and the kids responded. These kids have completely bought in.”
Luke Schwieterman led New Bremen with 14 points. Carson Manger added 12 points and Ben Homan had 10 points and eight rebounds.
St. Marys played well at home against a pair of good teams on Friday and Saturday. Even though they didn’t have a win to show for it, St. Marys head coach Dan Hegemier thinks the losses to Elida and New Bremen were steps forward.
“You know, we didn’t win this weekend, but we played two quality teams,” Hegemier said. “Our team has battled and battled and battled. All we have to do is keep working hard and we will win some games.”
St. Marys senior Garet Fledderjohann led all scorers with 19 points.
A night after beating Fort Recovery 65-61 in an emotional overtime win, the Cardinals shook off a jagged start to outlast the Roughriders.
St. Marys led 6-3 after eight minutes of play. New Bremen shot just 1-of-8 from the floor in the first quarter.
New Bremen head coach Adam Dougherty refused to blame the tough start on playing five quarters the night before in an emotional overtime victory against Fort Recovery the night before.
“I give St. Marys all the credit,” Dougherty said. “They scouted us really well and had a really good gameplan. We were ready to play. Maybe we did some things poorly in the first quarter, but give them a lot of credit for that.”
The Cardinals looked good the rest of the night. They outscored St. Marys 12-9 in the second quarter to go to the half tied, 15-15, and wrested control of the game away from the Riders in the second half.
The two teams went back-and-forth early in the third quarter before the Cardinals got breathing room with a Luke Schwieterman 3-pointer that gave the Cardinals a 34-28 lead.
New Bremen used its size advantage in the second half to get offensive rebounds and key stickbacks.
“It was about getting the ball inside,” Dougherty said. “They were taking away the Manger brothers on the outside, making it hard for us to enter the ball so we dribble entried and went to work with our bigs. Justin Heitkamp, Ben Homan, Alex Speelman and Trevor Kitzmiller, they played well tonight, especially in the third and fourth quarters. Anything we missed, they went and got.”
The Cardinals had nine offensive rebounds. New Bremen won the overall rebounding battle, 29-15.
“They don’t just bring one big guy at you, they bring a bunch at you,” Hegemier said. “We just tried to battle as much as we can. They went to high-low and got up by 8 or 10.”
St. Marys cut the lead to 44-40 late in the fourth quarter with a Fledderjohann 3-pointer, but the Roughriders missed their final five shots of the game and New Bremen hit free throws to close it out.
The game was originally scheduled to be played on Friday, Dec. 21.
St. Marys won the junior varsity game, 43-41, on Tyler Sullivan’s buzzer-beating shot at the end of regulation.
St. Marys falls to 2-7 on the season. The Roughriders host Bath on Friday and then go to Lima Perry on Saturday night.