BONDURANT — Newton’s coaches went into the winter break with one goal in mind — toughen up their team. Head coach Nick Wilkins emphasized that in the team’s final game against Marshalltown. After a 76-66 Cardinal loss to Bondurant-Farrar’s Bluejays on Friday night, that goal remains a work in progress.
The Bluejays were able to score with relative ease under the bucket, getting baskets at will when they needed them the most. Three Bluejays scored in double figures, and the most B-F led by was 18 points. A valiant comeback effort got the Cards within a bucket of tying the game up in the fourth quarter, but the Bluejays held on for the win.
Newton’s main bright spot was junior Tyler Wood, who nearly carried the Cardinals all the way back from that 18-point deficit. Late in the third quarter, with Newton trailing 55-39, Wood knocked down two free throws and hit a 3-pointer, pulling the Cards within 13 heading into the final quarter. Wood nailed a contested long range shot, then stole the ball on the back court pressure, which led to an easy hoop.
Wood came off a screen by Chandler Sturtz to hit another 3-pointer to pull the score to 64-61. Down 66-61, freshman Connor Gholson saw his 3-pointer bounce off the rim, but Wood sailed in for the rebound and finished through contact. A fist-pump and an emphatic “and-one!” from Wood got the Cardinal bench excited. He nailed the free throw to make it a two-point game. B-F junior Tyvin Riley got to the hoop on the other end to make it a four-point game, and the Bluejays closed it out from there.
Wood finished with 27 points to lead the Cardinals in scoring. He shot 10-for-18 from the field and 4-for-5 from long range. Sturtz had 14 points on 3-for-7 shooting. Daquan Allen nearly had a double-double, leading the Cards in rebounds with 14 and pouring in nine points. The Cardinals shot 21-for-48 as a team.
Riley and senior Drake Fuller led the Bluejays in scoring, both had 19 points. Senior center Sam Duffy killed the Cards underneath the hoop, picking up 18 points and 13 rebounds, with five of the rebounds coming on the offensive end of the floor. The Bluejays shot 29-for-64 on the night.
The loss for Newton gets the 2014 portion of the season off to a rocky start. Barring extreme weather conditions, Newton will host Dallas Center-Grimes on Tuesday, hoping to avoid a third straight loss.
Newton — 16-11-17-22 — 66
Bondurant-Farrar — 16-12-29-19 — 76
Newton — Wood 27, Sturtz 14, Allen 9, Easley 7
B-F — Riley 19, Fuller 19, Huff 18, Grant Petersen 7