Effingham Daily News
St. Anthony struggled during the bookends of a 36-27 loss to Newton on Friday, scoring a combined four points during the first eight minutes and last seven of the game.
The Bulldogs led for most of the time in between, taking a 19-16 lead after trailing by two at halftime and taking an 8-6 lead in the second quarter after trailing 5-2 at the end of the first.
Both teams struggled to score throughout the game, but Newton's brought its offense to life in the fourth quarter with defensive stops, down 27-25 with less than seven minutes left.
“The last two-thirds of the (second) half, we got a lot of the loose ball stuff,” Newton head coach Doug Mammoser said. “We didn't give up anything easy.”
The Eagles didn't give up anything late. Period.
Alex Hoelscher scored St. Anthony's last bucket of the game with seven minutes left, after which the Bulldogs caught a cold.
St. Anthony head coach Cody Rincker said his team was outworked in the final quarter of the loss, which snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Bulldogs who fall to 10-4 this season.
The Bulldogs won a similar kind of game — a defensive struggle — against Dieterich, during their winning streak, before going into the Vandalia Holiday Tournament and bringing home the first-place trophy. Newton also entered Friday's game fresh off of a Dieterich Holiday Tournament championship.
But, as Rincker said: “Somebody's cloud nine had to be ended.”
“(Newton) outworked us and outplayed us there for a while,” Rincker said. “There are three occasions, on the top of my head, where there's a loose ball and we don't dive on it. (Newton) made more winning plays.”
The defense had to step up for one of the teams, as Newton shot 22 percent from the field and St. Anthony made 32 percent of its shots.
Rincker said he tried everything to help his team find a way to score, but even when something worked it didn't always end the same way the second time.
“We had to be creative,” Rincker said. “We tried everything we had in our playbook.”
Rincker wanted to get the ball inside, to players like John Goeckner and Hoelscher, especially after a two-point first quarter.
Goeckner led St. Anthony to a 12-point second quarter, after which it still trailed 16-14, but Newton held him to two points in all of the second half.
Hoelscher scored five points for the game.
“We're going to have some bigger, physical teams later so this was a big test for us to see if we can play with that level,” Mammoser said. “We toughened up and really played hard.”
The Eagles' offense found ways to stay in the game by playing well in stretches, particularly at the end of quarters.
Newton scored the last five points of the first half to take a two-point lead into the locker room, then the last six points of the third quarter to trail by one point.
The Eagles scored the last 11 points of the fourth quarter, to improve to 12-1 this season.
Luke Stone scored 10 points as the only player on either team in double figures, although he shot 5-of-22 from the field. Caleb Chesnut's nine points and Gunner Pickens' eight helped pace the Eagles.
“You can't be a one-man group the way the points were (and) if you hit a big bucket that would make a big difference,” Mammoser said. “It's one of those games that it doesn't matter how good you look.”
A hard-nosed play by Pickens gave Newton its lead in the fourth quarter, driving into the paint between two St. Anthony post players, embracing contact and making a layup and free throw to give them a 28-27 lead.
The effort kept Newton's holiday hot streak going. The Eagles play Stew-Stras on Tuesday, while St. Anthony is off until next Saturday in the St. Anthony Shootout against Lawrenceville.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Anthony 2 12 11 2 27
Newton 5 11 9 11 36
Newton: Mommoser 6, Chesnut 9, Pickens 8, Stone 10, Workman 2, Huston 1
St. Anthony: Williams 2, Gardewine 6, Hoelscher 5, Goeckner 8, Rios 6