Cards' season end with substate overtime battle
INDIANOLA — At one point Monday night, the Newton boys basketball team held Indianola scoreless for more than 10 minutes of game time.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, it was the final two minutes that really mattered.
Newton slowed the game down to a peach basket pace and led for the majority of the game, but Indianola forced overtime and squeezed out a 32-30 victory to end the Cardinals' season in the first round of substate play.
"They hit a couple shots they hadn't hit all night, and at hlaftime I told the kids they were going to," Newton coach Nick Wilkins said. "But as far as coming in with a game plan, we did exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to slow the game down, even though I know the fans hated it, and the guys really left it all out there. I don't say it very often, but I think they deserved to win that game."
The Cards made it obvious how they were going to play the game early on, as a 3-pointer by junior Tyler Wood and jumper by sophomore Nick Easley came only after lenghty possessions and plenty of passing. Indianola responded with its height advantage on the offensive boards, scoring six of its first-quarter points with putbacks.
Although Newton eventually slowed the Indians down in that respect, it still led to an 8-8 deadlock after the first.
“As good of a job as we did on the defensive boards, they still had 6-foot-8 kids out there and we have 6-foot-2 kids out there,” Wilkins said. “The offensive boards were probably what changed the game for them. They had a couple in the first and then some in the third and fourth, which was where the game turned.”
Senior Andrew Clements opened the second quarter with a bucket and after a layup by Indianola’s Keegan Render, the Cardinals went into lockdown mode defensively. It took a while to get the offense going, however, as Easley regained the lead with two free throws. The Cards were then helped out by a goaltending call on Indianola, as well as a foul on a 3-pointer attempt from Clements with .02 seconds left on the clock to give Newton a 14-11 lead at halftime.
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