Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
By Gary R. Rasberry
Cardinals knock off #1 Redskins
New Bremen leads MAC by percentage points over St. Henry and St. John's
ST. HENRY - New Bremen's boys basketball team took St. Henry out of its game, and as a reward, the Cardinals sit on top of the Midwest Athletic Conference standings after beating the top-ranked team in Division IV, 60-53, at Redskin Gymnasium.
New Bremen, St. Henry and St. John's all have just one MAC loss, but the Cardinals have one more win (6-1) than the Redskins and Blue Jays (5-1) and lead the conference by percentage points.
"It's a great thing for our program," said New Bremen's coach Adam Dougherty, whose squad extends their regular season winning streak against the Redskins to four games (St. Henry beat New Bremen in the sectional tournament last season). "Our kids earned it tonight. They came on the road in a tough environment against a real quality team and got it done."
St. Henry tried to set the tone early in the first half, feeding the ball to Kyle Stahl as much as possible and the end result was Stahl scoring 19 points in the first half.
The Redskins were up 18-11 early in the second quarter when the Cardinals began to grab momentum. Justin Heitkamp sandwiched a pair of buckets, one a dunk that had New Bremen's fans in a frenzy, around a pair of Carson Manger free throws. Luke Schwieterman put the Cardinals into the lead briefly at 20-18 with a three-pointer. St. Henry responded with an 8-2 run to take a 26-22 lead at halftime, but the Cardinals were just getting started.
The lead changed hands six times during the third quarter and Parker Manger's free throws with 5.4 seconds on the clock put the Cardinals on top 41-39 heading to the fourth quarter.
"Composure," answered St. Henry's head coach Eric Rosenbeck when asked about the difference between the first and second half. "That was not the team I'm used to recognizing. I thought we were pouters, we were whiny. Thought we were complainers. As a result, we were so caught up at looking over to referees and their players that we forgot to play the game of basketball. We're missing shots we usually make, having turnovers we usually don't make."
The Cardinals extended their lead early in the fourth quarter with a 47-41 advantage after the first three minutes. Alex Post and Stahl hit free throws to help St. Henry cut its deficit to 47-44, but the Redskins turned the ball over on their next two possessions and New Bremen began to milk the clock.
Schwieterman, Carson Manger and Ben Homan combined to go 10-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final 2:04 of the game. St. Henry only scored on four possessions in the final two minutes and the Cardinals pulled away down the stretch.
"Just stepped up and knocked them down," said Dougherty of his team showing at the free-throw line. "Beats going 6-of-16 like we did last Saturday (in a loss to Jackson Center). A little confidence and little extra work. Just knocking them down when it matters."
"New Bremen deserves all the credit. They were the team that was ready to play. We didn't see their kids complaining. ... They just played good hard physical basketball, and they beat us," said Rosenbeck.
Schwieterman and Carson Manger each scored 20 points to pace the Cardinals while Justin Heitkamp added 10. New Bremen was 24-of-29 from the charity stripe in the game, including 18-of-21 in the second half.
Stahl was limited to one field goal and two free throws in the second half, but still led all players with 23 points and 12 rebounds for St. Henry while Jordan Bender added 13 points.
"They did a little more double-teaming on Stahl," said Rosenbeck about the second half. "We didn't do a good job of reversing the basketball before entering it in there."
New Bremen (14-3) returns home tonight to face the Botkins Trojans while St. Henry (15-2) pays a visit to Celina at the Fieldhouse.
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