April 22, 2024

Newton boys open substate play with win over Knoxville

Cardinals use 12-0 run, late free throws to sink Panthers

Christian Lawson

Cade Bauer had been in an offensive funk when the Newton coaching staff suggested he play a half of a junior varsity game against Van Meter on Feb. 8.

“He wasn’t playing with a lot of confidence,” Newton head boys basketball coach Jason Carter said. “We told him to play the first half of JV and just let it fly. We wanted him to play loose and shoot it when he was open.”

Bauer took 19 shots and scored 19 points in two quarters that night. And since then, the Cardinal junior has played with a lot more confidence.

That particularly showed late in the third quarter of the Cardinals’ Class 3A Substate 7 quarterfinal game against Knoxville on Monday.

After the Panthers rallied to take a one-point lead, Bauer triggered a 12-0 run with a trio of 3-pointers, and the Newton boys’ basketball team cruised from there during a 70-61 home win.

“They are shots you have to take when you’re open,” Bauer said. “I just go with the flow of the game and don’t think about it too much. I know they are good shots. They felt good right away.”

Caden Klein

It was Newton’s second win over Knoxville this season. The Cardinals led by as many as 13 and scored a season-high for points.

The win pushed the Cardinals to the substate semifinals where they face No. 8 Winterset at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Winterset.

Newton is shooting only 55 percent from the free-throw line this season, but the Cardinals buried 24-of-31 against Knoxville, including a 15-of-21 performance in the fourth quarter.

“They are huge. If I miss a couple more of those, it goes from a five-point game to a three- or two-point game,” Caleb Mattes said. “One or two extra possessions in this game was big.”

Mattes finished with a team-high 23 points and he added five rebounds and three assists. He’s now the school’s record holder for assists in a season with 94.

Newton got off to a slow start but seven straight points midway through the first put the hosts in front 10-6. Christian Lawson made a 3-pointer after that and a pair of free throws from Mattes put the Cardinals in front 15-11 after one.

Lawson and Mattes combined to score 13 of the team’s 15 points in the frame.

Neither team created much separation until the Cardinals used an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 10. But Knoxville scored the final five points of the first half to go into the break down 26-21.

The Panthers (14-8) opened the third with an 11-5 run and the final points put them in front 32-31.

That’s when Bauer and Mattes went on their own 12-0 run with Bauer scoring nine of those points off three treys.

“They made a run out of halftime, which we knew they would do at some point,” Carter said. “I called timeout and challenged them a little bit and they responded. You have to be able to withstand runs, and we did that.”

Nate Lampe

Landen Norris, who scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, buried a 3 at the buzzer to get the Panthers’ deficit to single digits after three.

Mattes and Bauer connected on back-to-back 3s early in the fourth to push Newton’s lead to 11 and then Bauer scored inside to make it 51-38.

Bauer scored a career-high 14 points in the win. All 14 came in the second half and he added two rebounds and three assists.

“When you knock in a few, it’s easy to just let it fly,” Bauer said. “I’m just glad I made a few tonight to help us win. I was lucky to have good passes from my teammates, too. We like to feed the hot guy.”

The 13-point advantage was the Cardinals’ largest lead of the game. And then it became a free-throw shooting contest down the stretch.

Mattes scored 13 of his 23 in the fourth. That included an 8-of-12 performance from the foul line that helped put away the Panthers.

“It’s been the difference in a lot of our losses this year,” Bauer said about the free throws “If we don’t hit them tonight, we don’t win the game. It was really cool to see most of them fall.”

One could make a case that five of Newton’s 11 losses came down to the free-throw line.

The Cardinals (11-11) missed three free throws in the one-point loss to Grinnell to open the season, finished 1-of-8 in an eight-point loss to Norwalk and were 8-of-14 from the line in a nine-point loss to Oskaloosa.

In Newton’s two single-digit losses to Pella, the Cardinals combined to shoot 14-of-29 from the charity stripe.

“I was nervous as they were fouling us late, but I will take 24-of-31 every night,” Carter said. “A lot of them were down the stretch, too, and ones we needed. We can’t expect them to make them all, but we made a bunch late and took care of the ball.”

Cade Bauer

Lawson scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half and added 10 rebounds, two assists and three steals in the win.

The Cardinals scored more than 14 points above their season average. Nate Lampe was a fourth Newton player in double figures with 10 and he added two rebounds and three steals.

Caden Klein chipped in four points, four rebounds and three assists and Christian Ergenbright grabbed four boards.

Both teams got off to a slow start offensively but combined to score 53 points in the fourth. Newton led 26-21 at halftime but scored 27 points in the fourth alone.

“We finally got into a flow. Once we settled in and got rid of the nerves, we were fine,” Carter said. “Hopefully that gives us a little more confidence moving into Thursday.”

Newton shot 40 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 11 times. The Cardinals are shooting 36 percent from 3 this season but made 10-of-21 against Knoxville.

Landen Norris scored 17 of his 29 in the second half and Lincoln Norris added 18 points in the loss.

“We knew he would take most of their shots,” Mattes said about Landen Norris. “He’s big so he can get downhill. We knew he’d score. We just had to limit him the best we could.”

The Panthers shot 48 percent from the floor, made 7-of-23 from 3 and connected on 8-of-12 from the foul line. They committed 16 turnovers.

Notes: Newton is 21-6 against Knoxville since 2006 and the Cardinals have won six in a row in the series. … Mattes and Bauer each scored nine points above their season averages.