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Saturday, January 19th, 2013
By Randy Bruns
New Bremen edges Minster by two points
MINSTER - There is nothing like a good old-fashioned neighborly slugfest on a cold January night.
The New Bremen Cardinals and the Minster Wildcats squared off for the 154th time on Friday night, and though it wasn't a thing of beauty by any means, it was as hotly contested as any rivalry game should be.
When the dust settled it was the Cardinals that went home happy after squeaking out a 45-43 victory in a rugged affair that went down to the final buzzer.
New Bremen (11-2 overall, 4-1 in the Midwest Athletic Conference) now trails Minster (7-5, 1-3 MAC) by a margin of 79-75 in the overall series.
The game was tight throughout but it all culminated in the fourth quarter, when the two teams were never separated by more than two points.
The Wildcats took a 42-41 lead with two minutes left when Ethan Wolf scored on a nifty spin move, and the margin remained at one with 54 seconds on the clock after the teams traded free throws.
Carson Manger then made the play of the night when he rebounded a miss by Luke Schwieterman and stuck it back in to give the Cardinals a 44-43 advantage with just 24 ticks remaining. The Wildcats then turned the ball over and Schwieterman hit one of two from the charity stripe to stake the Cardinals to a two-point lead, but the Wildcats still had five seconds to work with.
Jacob Stechschulte did a masterful job of bring the ball upcourt amid heavy pressure and the freshman found a wide open Wolf on the wing, but Wolf's jumper just rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.
"We never make it easy and we grind out every win," said New Bremen coach Adam Dougherty. "Our kids are really tough but sometimes we get away from what we're trying to do. When we get dialed in we're really good defensively, and tonight we made (Minster) work for every touch and every score was tough."
'Tough' would be an ideal caption for the entire game, which was ragged at best. The two squads combined to shoot just 31 percent from the field, 60 percent from the foul line and committed a total of 32 turnovers.
"I told our kids that as bad as we shot throughout the evening, we got the look (at the end) that we wanted but we just didn't hit it," said Minster coach Mike Lee. "I just think it was a Friday night in the MAC and naturally both teams know each other very well. I just looked at a couple different stats and I guess we were just fortunate to be in it with the 20-something percentage that we shot for the night. Credit (New Bremen's) kids, they were aggressive defensively and they caused us to not take care of the ball."
Schwieterman was the lone Cardinal in double digits with 13 points. Wolf led the Wildcats with 14 points and Devon Poeppelman contributed 13.
Both teams will host nonconference tilts tonight, as New Bremen entertains Russia and Minster plays host to Mississinawa Valley.
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