Effingham Daily News
Jake Baker's 1,000th point of his career coincided with a big Neoga run in the third quarter, cutting their deficit with Dieterich to 35-28.
That 3-pointer would be the highlight of the game and the quarter, however, as that was as close as Neoga would get in the National Trail Conference tournament's third-place game.
Dieterich would erase the run by the end of the third quarter and cruise to a 58-41 win for third place.
"The mistakes we made were when we got it to seven," said Neoga coach Bob Lockart. "There were about three or four possessions where we left the bucket. For all our effort in the first five minutes, it was all ruined in the final two."
The game was played about 17 hours after Dieterich's overtime loss to Altamont in the NTC semifinals, but Dieterich rode its post players to the victory.
Dieterich coach Jeff Staser said the post players -- Lance Niemerg, Travis Niemerg and Devin Aherin -- have been looking to break out, and did so Saturday against some strong defense from Neoga.
"They played really well," Staser said. "They've been frustrated with themselves and working really hard on post moves and being in the right position. They knew where to go, and they put it in the hole."
Travis Niemerg had 13 points, Aherin had 12 and Lance Niemerg added five.
Their presence down low allowed Alex Bohnhoff to add 14 points and Tanner Traub to chip in nine in support for the Movin' Maroons.
Dieterich took control early, leading 17-11 after the first quarter and blew it open to 16 by the opening minutes of the third quarter, up 33-17.
Baker got going, scoring nine points in the quarter while Jon Atwell had a basket, cutting a 33-17 lead to 35-28 thanks to an aggressive full court pressure scheme.
But the Indians ran out of gas from there, as the Movin' Maroons scored eight points down the stretch and pushed the lead to 43-30, up one more point than their 29-17 lead. The change came from being more patient making cuts after the Maroons crossed the half-court line against the press.
"We needed to squeeze it down and get it around the free throw line and let Alex (Bohnhoff) do his thing," Staser said."
Baker finished with 24, hitting the 1,000 point milestone with his 17th point of the game.
"It says a lot about him, all the work and time since he's been a young kid," Lockart said. "He's improved in so many other ways than just scoring 1,000 points for us."
Dieterich takes third after winning last year's NTC title, and Staser knows how close things were.
"It feels great, when you're seeded third and finish third, you've met expectations from somebody's perspective," he said. "We didn't meet our expectations, but everybody understands we were in a dogfight (against Altamont) and we can't complain at all."
Neoga (9-13) hosts Cumberland Tuesday night. Dieterich (14-6) gets right back after it tonight, hosting Flora.
Neoga 11 6 13 11 41
Dieterich 17 12 14 15 58
Neoga: L. Baker 6, C. Kersey 5, Krikie 2, J. Baker 24, Atwell 4
Dieterich: Traub 9, Bohnhoff 14, Feldhake 5, L. Niemerg 5, Aherin 12, T. Niemerg 13