The Newburg boys basketball team (10-3) faced off against Blair Oaks in the first round of the St. James Tournament on Tuesday, Jan. 16. After a solid first half, the third quarter got away from the Wolves in a 64-35 loss.
Blair Oaks got out to a hot start, scoring seven of the first nine points in the contest, which forced Newburg to call a quick timeout. After settling down in the timeout, Travis McWilliams buried a three from the corner to bring the score to 7-5 midway through the quarter. After that, Newburg did a great job controlling the pace of the game. They slowed things down in the half court to try to find some open looks and keep the ball out of the Falcon's hands. As a result, only two points were scored in the final four minutes of the quarter and Blair Oaks went into the second with a 9-5 lead.
The second quarter mirrored the first. Blair Oaks started the quarter with another 7-2 run, but the Wolves were able to cut into the lead. Tristan Wofford ended the run for Blair Oaks with a bucket, before McWilliams scored to cut the deficit to 16-11 with five minutes to play in the half. After Newburg fought back into the game, Blair Oaks went on another run, stretching their lead to as many as nine points. Newburg responded with a three from Landen Callahan and another bucket from Caleb Austin to bring the score to 26-22 with a minute to play in the half. Blair Oaks scored the only basket in the final minute of the quarter, going into the half with a 28-22 lead.
After the half, it was all Blair Oaks. The Falcons scored the first 11 points of the third quarter. Ryan Terry scored the first Newburg points of the second half when he hit a three with 4:32 left in the third quarter. Unfortunately, Newburg couldn't find much scoring after that, as they only scored five points in the quarter. Meanwhile, Blair Oaks scored a total of 21 points in the third quarter, 14 of which came from Tim Fick. Fick buried four threes for Blair Oaks in the quarter as the Falcons started to run away with the game. Blair Oaks went into the fourth quarter with a 49-27 lead.
The Wolves couldn't find consistent scoring in the fourth to dig out of the hole, as the Falcons won the fourth 15-8. Blair Oaks slowed things down in the quarter to run out the clock in a 64-35 win.
Terry led Newburg in scoring with 12 points. Callahan added nine more, while McWilliams chipped in with eight.
"I thought they hit some shots right out of the halftime there and had some inside-out kicks. They started pounding us on the offensive glass and that was the difference in the second half," said head coach Logan Ray. "Defensively, it wasn't awful, we've just struggled scoring the ball the last couple of games. If we can put that together on both ends of the court on defense and offense, I think we'll be making progress."
Offensively, Newburg was hurt by the fact that Blair Oaks just kept hitting shots to open the second half. The Wolves tried to keep up by taking some questionable shots and they couldn't get settled back in to their offense.
"That's what we talked about after the game was just some of the shots we took," said coach Ray. "I thought they were kinda taking us out of our offense and we didn't get the ball reversed enough times. In the first half, I thought we did a good job of running our offense and getting the shot we wanted."
Newburg will try to get on track in their first consolation bracket game when they face off against the host school, St. James, on Thursday, Jan. 18.