Newton boys basketball coach Nick Wilkins wasn’t present when his squad defeated Oskaloosa on its own turf earlier in the season.
But on Tuesday night, Wilkins had a courtside seat to witness the Cardinals complete the season sweep and win their third game out of their last four tries.
Despite a slightly slow start, the Cards hit some big shots and allowed only three Osky players to score in a hard-fought 49-35 victory.
“Our kids did a good job of going down there and controlling the game,” Wilkins said. “It was a similar game plan to before, and we just wanted to come out and get some momentum going for the end of the year. That was a game we felt we should’ve won.”
Much like he has done all season, Newton sophomore Tyler Wood got the scoring going with a 3-pointer. The teams then went nearly three minutes without a bucket until Newton junior Chandler Sturtz dumped in five quick points off the bench. After another three by Wood and a putback by junior Michael Miller, Newton was up 13-9 after one.
“We throw Chandler in there a lot to make shots for us since he’s our second-best shooter behind Tyler,” Wilkins said. “I kind of got on him right away when he was in there because he passed up an open shot. He knows he needs to let it fly.”
Osky tied the game up early in the second with four points by senior Tyce Sarver, but another three from Wood and two well-timed putbacks by Miller and junior Daquan Allen allowed the Cards to stay on top. The Cardinal bench has played a large role for the team this year, and that was extremely evident as Newton took a 21-13 lead into halftime.
“Michael Miller, to be quite honest, kept us in the game in the first half,” Wilkins said. “He had some big rebounds and putbacks and just had a great first half. And then Daquan gets in there and he’s just around every single rebound. He’s one of the best finishers we have on the team.”
The scoring picked up for both teams quickly in the third quarter as Osky cracked double digits for the first time all game. Wood poured in seven points to answer multiple Indian baskets and the Cards fought for the rest of their points down low from Allen and seniors Jesse Bates and Collin Reynolds.
Despite Osky’s best offensive output of the night, Newton still led 36-27.
“Basketball has become a game of runs so you’re always concerned that run might happen, but the kids responded well,” Wilkins said. “We ran some sets, got some easy layups and opened up some shots for Tyler. The kids battled.”
Newton was able to put the game in cruise control in the fourth, simply answering any and all Osky points. Reynolds had a few strong moves to the basket and Allen completed a transition layup to keep the pressure on.
Wood finished with a game-high 22 points and Newton only allowed Osky points from senior Clay Tucker (15), Sarver (14) and sophomore Ryan Reiter (6) in what was statistically its best defensive game of the season.
“We did a really good job defensively. The only bad thing was the two guys we focused on shutting down went for 15 and 14 points,” Wilkins joked. “We’ll take it if only three people score and they only scored what they did, but overall we played really good defense and that’s what we’re built on.”
The Cardinals will host their Senior Night against Knoxville on Thursday before travelling to Pella on Friday and making trips to Winterset and Perry next week.
Before the game, a moment of silence was held for Scott Bosma, who served as the Cardinals’ basketball coach from 1999-2005. Bosma, who was fondly remembered as a teacher and coach, passed away on Feb. 1 at the age of 58.
Newton 49, Oskaloosa 35
O — 9 4 14 8 — 35
N — 13 8 15 13 — 49
O — Tucker 15, Sarver 14, Reiter 6
N — Wood 22, Reynolds 7, Allen 6, Sturtz 5, Miller 4, Bates 3, Clements 1, Hill 1