â˘ CELINA â The New Bremen Cardinals basketball team showed just how aggressive they can be on offense and defense Saturday night against the Celina Bulldogs. After a tough MAC loss to Versailles on Friday, the Cardinals responded with 21 points each from Aaron Clune and Elliott Westerbeck to defeat the Bulldogs 69-60 at the Fieldhouse in Celina.
âWe looked to score on every catch,â Cardinals head coach Adam Dougherty said. âThey were really aggressive and put pressure on them defensively and then put pressure back on them with our offense. Knocking down shots early helps and we had the right guys shooting and we attacked the lane.â
It was a battle for the first half of the first quarter as each team answered the other with back and forth baskets to tie the score at 9-all with three minutes left in the quarter. The rest of the time belonged to New Bremen as they went on a 10-0 run before Scott Moeder scored off a turnover to make the score 19-11 after eight minutes of play.
âThey went on a 10-0 run late in the first quarter and we missed some layups tonight,â Celina head coach Chris Bihn said. âWe had some sloppy turnovers and didnât have the ball in the right peopleâs hands.âÂ
New Bremen increased that with a bomb from Aaron Clune to begin the second quarter, but Kyle Berry answered with a bomb of his own for Celina. Then it was a battle at the free throw line as Elliott Westerbeck sank three of four and Moeder sank four of his four chacnes. The Cardinals kept the lead at 10 or 12 for the first half of the quarter, but Celina started a comeback with a bomb and a pair of free throws by Ryan Hoyng and a layup by Matt Buschur and two free throws from Braden Billger cut the lead to 36-29 with 2:52 left. Westerbeck added two free throw, but Billger connected on a bomb at the buzzer to make the halftime score 38-32.
At the line was the key for New Bremen as they were 20 of 24 compared with 7 of 14 Friday night against Versailles.
âLuke (Schwieterman) stepped up and hit some big free throws for us,â Dougherty said. âThat is something he hasnât done. We made the shots we needed to at the end and we made plays tonight that we didnât make last night.â
At the beginning of the third quarter both teams exchanged baskets, but New Bremen got two free throws each from Westerbeck and Schwieterman to regain a 10 point lead at 44-34 with 6:37 left. With the score 52-42 and 3:10 left Celina started another comeback with a 5-2 run to trail 54-47 after the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Cardinals started to run into foul trouble when Troy Williams picked up his fourth foul with 5:24 left, but Justin Heitkamp stepped up with big defensive plays and rebounds when the Cardinals needed it most.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to 58-54 on two free throws from Moeder with 1:21 left, but New Bremen hit nine of 10 free throws in the final 1:08 for the 69-60 victory.
âThey missed some free throws that gave us some chances,â Bihn said. âWe come down and have some wide open looks and had some layups and offensive rebounds, but we couldnât convert them. We had every opportunity and were going 120 miles an hour and couldnât make anything happen.â
âWe guarded really well at the end and got big stops when we needed to,â Dougherty said. âThey got the deficit back to four and it was going through our kids heads that hear it goes again and how are we going to give this game away, but they had enough toughness to snatch rebounds and I think our kids are getting better every day and when we get to Coldwater at the end of the season we are playing our best.â
âI think Justin Heitkamp did a great job all night,â Dougherty said. âHe took three big charges and they were solid charges taking contact right in the chest and he will be sore tomorrow morning. He snatches rebounds and is a tough kid and he makes the plays. He goes in there and doesnât worry about scoring and he doesnât worry about the ball getting in his hands all he does is goes in there and does his job.â
â˘ NEW BREMEN â A 7-0 run midway through the third quarter was all the Versailles Tigers needed to get some space and defeat the New Bremen Cardinals 67-62 Friday night in a key MAC contest played at New Bremen.
âI thought it was a product of them being more aggressive in the second half,â Cardinals head coach Adam Dougherty said. âEarly in the second half they were more aggressive than we were. (Mitch) Campbell got the ball and went to work.â
The Cardinals had a 37-36 lead with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, but that changed quickly. Freshman Kyle Ahrens converted on a three-point play, Chad Winner went in for a jumper and Mitch Campbell sank two free throws and all of a sudden Versailles was ahead 43-37 with 3:18 left. Both teams added a pair of baskets in the final three minutes to make the score 47-41 after three quarters.
âIt is a game of spurts,â Versailles head coach Scott Mceldowney said. âWe talk about playing as even as we can and we are waiting for that one, two or three spurts that you might get in a game and then when we have the spurt hold on to it. Luckily in the third quarter we got that spurt.â
Chad Winner led the Tigers with 17 points and Campbell added 15 and Kyle Ahrens had 11 points. Troy Williams led all scorers with 19 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinals.
âWe settled for easy things instead of being active,â Dougherty said. âThey were the aggressor and that is why they went to the free throw line so much. When your aggressive you get to the free throw line and we didnât get there.â
âWe gave up two offensive rebounds during that stretch,â Dougherty said. âIt was the efforts with the tough plays. They made them and we didnât.â
New Bremen had one last chance in the fourth quarter. Trailing 55-49 with 4:52 left, the Cardinals got free throw and a layup from Troy Williams and a free throw from Carson Manger pulled the Cardinals to within two 55-53 with 3:11 left.
Following a Tiger timeout, Ahrens went in for two layups to regain a 59-53 lead with two minutes left. Versailles converted free throws down the stretch for the 67-62 victory.
âWe did a lot better job against their pressure in the second half,â Mceldowney said. âWe moved the ball and got the ball into Campbell and he knew what to do with it. There was such a tough matchup in there, but we got some easy baskets that way and we had a little better ball movement.â
At the beginning of the game both teams went back and forth trading points. Every time one team went on a drought the other team would also be in a drought, but Versailles got a pair of layups from Chad Winner off turnovers to grab a 19-15 lead after the first quarter.
New Bremen quickly tied the game on a pair of free throws and a layup from Justin Heitkamp, but just as quickly the Tigers regained the lead with a couple of baskets. The Cardinals tied the game again at 23-all with six minutes left on four free throws.
Versailles gained a 26-25 lead with 4:47 left, but Carson Manger nailed a big bomb for a 28-26 lead with 1:24 left. Versailles converted four free throws before Elliott Westerbeck converted two free throws to tie the game at halftime 30-all.
âThey are a nice team, but I think we are a nice team also,â Dougherty said. âWe got better tonight and it is all about keeping the end goal in mind and I donât think we have played our best basketball yet and that is a good thing because it is coming.â
New Bremen (11-6) travels to Parkway on Friday.