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Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Cardinals, Flyers get wins

Division IV Boys Basketball Sectional

By Robb Hemmelgarn

Marion Local's Adam Bertke, 33, goes up for a shot during Tuesday's Division IV. . .

COLDWATER - The road to Columbus for local Division IV boys basketball teams began Tuesday night in Coldwater with four Midwest Athletic Conference teams looking to keep their respective seasons alive.
In the evening's opener, the New Bremen Cardinals clawed their way back in the fourth quarter to leave town with the 49-45 victory over New Knoxville while in the nightcap, the Marion Local Flyers topped the Minster Wildcats for the second time this season with the 58-51 victory.
The Cardinals (10-12) take on second-seeded Spencerville in the first sectional final on Friday starting at 6:15 p.m. with the nightcap pitting the Flyers (18-5) against the Fort Recovery Indians in a rematch from last week's MAC championship game won by Marion Local.
The Cardinals shut down the regular season with a 1-5 slate since defeating the Rangers on January 24, but they looked to turn things around in their postseason opener.
New Knoxville was determined to not let that happen though, as they erupted on a 7-0 spurt in the first quarter, powered by five points by Ryan Lageman, to push in front 12-4. The Cardinals answered with their own five-point run, before New Knoxville responded with five straight at the end of the first period and into the second to pull ahead 17-9.
Aided by five counters from Carson Manger, New Bremen collected seven unanswered points to tug back to within a point at 17-16 but the Rangers ended the first half with another five-point streak for the 26-19 command at intermission.
The Cardinals knotted things on two occasions during the third quarter before a long ball from Andrew Arnett and an old-fashioned three-point play by Lageman pushed the Rangers back in front 37-31. New Bremen refused to fold and scored the game's next 10 points which lifted them ahead 41-37 with just under 6:30 to play. No lead in this game was safe though, and New Knoxville stormed back with six straight to go up 43-41, but a bucket and ensuing free throw by Nolan Fox with less than a minute to play gave New Bremen a one-point advantage. The Cardinals eventually secured their victory from the free throw line and improved to 10-12 with the four point victory.
Manger paced all scorers in the meeting with 23 points, including an astounding 11-of-12 from the charity stripe, while Lageman was tops for New Knoxville (10-13) with 13 points.
"We kept with our plan the entire night, even when we got behind," remarked New Bremen head coach Adam Dougherty. "If this type of game happened earlier in the year, we would have gone away from the game plan when we got behind, but the kids did an outstanding job of staying calm and doing what they were asked and I am proud of them."
The Flyers concluded their regular season last Saturday with a loss to Lima Shawnee, but it didn't take them long to get the bad taste from their mouth as they jumped in front of the Wildcats 10-5 in the opening period. They followed up by cracking it wide open with 22 points in the second stanza to balloon their advantage to 32-11 at halftime.
"We knew that despite Minster's record they were going to be a threat, and I thought we executed very well in the first half," commented Marion Local head coach Kurt Goettemoeller. "We got the shots we wanted and didn't come out with the jitters like a favored team has the tendency to sometimes do in a sectional opener, which is good."
While nothing seemed to go right for the Wildcats in the opening half, they emerged from the locker room in the third quarter and hung with their rivals almost punch for punch as the two squads rolled into the fourth quarter with the Flyers still holding a hefty 44-25 advantage. They built their edge back to 21 points at 55-34 with just under three minutes to play, as both teams began to utilize their benches. That is when the Wildcats made it interesting, as they owned the remainder of the battle by scoring 17 of the game's final 20 points, fueled by a pair of three-pointers from Gabe Goodwin and one each of Josh Nixon and Peter Falk. The deficit was too much for the Wildcats to overcome though, as Marion Local fought them off to record the seven-point victory.
Luke Knapke spear-headed the Flyer offensive attack with 14 points, while Cole Griesdorn and Adam Bertke contributed 12 and 10 points respectively.
Minster's Brandon Hoying concluded his career with 12 points to lead the Wildcats, while classmate Prater Otting chipped in 11 points and Matt Trushaw added ten in the defeat.
"They are an outstanding ball club, and their size really limited us – you can't go stretches like we did in the first half and not shoot the ball well, not rebound well, and give up easy shots," Minster head coach Mike Lee explained. "If they continue to shoot the ball as well as they did tonight and last Friday, they are going to be a tough out for anyone they face the rest of the way."
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NEW BREMEN - The Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce issued three awards during its annual meeting Tuesday at Faith Alliance Church. [More]
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