NORWALK — Newton High’s Cardinal boys ran into a buzz-saw named Norwalk on Tuesday. A steal by Luke Vaske for a basket set the tone from the get-go as the Class 3A fifth-ranked Warriors rolled to a 79-60 win at home over the visiting Cardinals.
It was 7-7 with five minutes left in the first quarter then Norwalk doubled down on treys to set off a 13-0 run. The Warriors led 20-7 going into the second period.
The Cardinals couldn’t dig out of the hole in the Little Hawkeye Conference contest. Norwalk, which had been ranked No. 1 in 3A until it lost Friday against now-No. 1 Oskaloosa, was up 29-10 by the six minute mark of the second period.
Each team tallied 20 points in the second quarter, but the Warriors had a 40-27 halftime lead. The Warriors were paced by sophomore guard Bowen Born, who had a career night scoring 41 points. Born averages 19.7 points a game this season.
Newton senior guard Garrett Sturtz, who went into the game as the leading scorer in Class 4A with 300 points, was held to six first-half points. He finished with 23 points, which was 10 points behind his season average.
“This evening was a learning opportunity for a young team still in building mode as we move toward playoff time and the ever important Game No. 22,” Newton head coach Bill Liley said after the game. “We were beaten tonight in all phases of the game so we have some work to do to get ready for a tough Pella Christian squad on Friday.”
Norwalk shot 56 percent, 15-of-27, from the field in the first half. It didn’t cool off in the second, finishing at 57 percent, 29-of-49. Newton was 40 percent, 22-of-55, from the field which included going 9-of-25 from 3-point range.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore Kyle Long on the heels of four points from Sturtz pulled the Cardinals to within 10 points, 47-37, in the first two minutes of the third quarter. The Warriors responded with nine unanswered points.
Norwalk’s lead stretched to 62-39. Sturtz, who went 8-of-8 at the line, had four straight free throws, and Newton trailed 64-42 at the end of three quarters.
Norwalk’s lead grew to 21 points at one time in the fourth quarter. Newton did outscore the Warriors 18-15 in the final eight minutes.
Long hit five 3-pointers for 15 points for Newton. The Cardinals were 7-of-10 from the free-throw line.
Norwalk finished with three players in double figure scoring led by Born, who hit five 3-pointers. Tyler Endres came off the bench to score 15 points and Daniel Geistler with 10 points. The Warriors made 13-of-17 free throw attempts.
Newton fell to 3-3 in Little Hawkeye Conference play and 7-3 overall. Norwalk is 5-1 in conference action and 9-1 overall.
The Cardinals concluded the first round of LHC games on Friday against Pella Christian. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. at PCHS in Pella.
“Our defense, rebounding and offensive execution will need to be much better to pick up a victory Friday in Pella,” Liley said.
Newton will play eight of its final 10 games of the season at home. Liley announced via his Twitter account that senior Grayson Graham, a 6-foot-2 inch guard, has rejoined the team.
Graham came off the Cardinal bench during last year’s run to the state tournament, but did not come out for this season’s team in November. He averaged 1.8 points a game last year. He hit seven 3-pointers and went 9-o-14 from the line. He had 11 rebounds, 14 assists and eight steals.
Newton (FG/3-pt): Sturtz 8-7-2-23, Davis 2-0-2-4, Long 0/5-0-4-15, Garvis 0/3-0-3-9, Bartels 0/1-0-1-3, Coley 3-0-4-6. TOTALS: 13/9-7-16-60.
Norwalk (FG/3-pt): Beving 0-0-1-0, Raper 0-0-1-0, Vaske 2/1-0-1-7, Rosonke 0-0-2-0, Johnson 3-0-2-6, Born 7/5-12-1-41, Geistler 2/2-0-2-10, Rohrer 0-0-1-0, Endres 7-1-1-15. TOTALS: 21/8-13-12-79.