The Newburg boys basketball team kicked off 2019 with the Calvary Lutheran Tournament Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5. After a near perfect 76-6 win over St. Albans to start the tournament, the Wolves were able to grind out a 50-49 win over the St. Louis Patriots to advance to the championship. Newburg couldn't get their offense going in the championship, however, falling to the St. Louis Blue Knights 44-24 to finish in second.
The Wolves started the tournament on the right foot with an unbelievable defensive performance. Newburg allowed just six points, all of which were scored in the game's final quarter. Meanwhile, their offense was firing on all cylinders. The Wolves scored 27 points in the opening quarter, before adding 20 in the second, 18 in the third and 11 in the fourth on their way to an easy 76-6 win.
All 10 of the Wolves scored in the win with Hunter Mentola leading the way with 17 points. Tristan Wofford added 11 points and Gabe Killian scored nine. Cole Davis scored seven points, while Jared Lott and Nathan Russell each scored six. Justin Cantu, Caleb Austin, Kiernan Twyman and Gunnar Pound each scored five points to round out the offense.
The Wolves then had a dog fight on their hands when they faced the St. Louis Patriots in the semi-final. The first quarter was a back and forth affair, but the Patriots finished the quarter holding onto an 11-10 lead. Mentola led the Newburg offense in the quarter with five points. The Patriots then extended that lead at the half with 19 points. Newburg was able to stay within range thanks to a pair of threes from Lott and five points from Austin, but they still trailed 30-23 at the half.
Newburg had a chance to cut into that lead in the third quarter, but missed out on several chances at the three throw line. The Wolves were 4-10 from the charity stripe in the quarter and were outscored 13-11 in the quarter. Newburg had 43-34 hole to dig out of with a quarter to play.
The Wolves had a textbook fourth quarter, as they played excellent defense and got some shots to fall. Newburg allowed just six points in the fourth quarter and got a pair of threes on the offensive end to help close the gap. Newburg sealed the win with Caleb Austin knocking down two free throws to finish off a 50-49 victory.
Austin led the offensive push with 14 points, while Mentola added 12 points. Lott had nine points on a trio of threes, Wofford added seven, Cantu scored six and Russell chipped in with two.
The Wolves ran out of steam when they hit the championship game Saturday night. Newburg was held to single digits in each of the four quarters in the loss. The Wolves played great defense, holding the St. Louis Blue Knights to 44 points, but couldn't get the offense going enough in the loss. Newburg kept things close in the first half, trailing 17-14, but the Blue Knights ran away with the game in the second half on the way to a 44-24 win over the Wolves.
Austin led Newburg with 11 points in the loss. Mentola, who was named to the All-Tournament team for the Wolves, scored five, Wofford added four, while Cantu and Russell each chipped in with two.
"We did a great job of of competing and coming back to win the semi final game against the Patriots. Hit some big shots and Caleb Austin stepped up and hit 2 free throws to seal the win," said head coach Logan Ray of the tournament. "We ran out of gas in the championship game and lost to a senior led St. Louis team. Held them to 44 points but just could not get shots to fall throughout the game. Overall, happy with the way guys competed after a long holiday break."
The Wolves will return to their home court for a Frisco League matchup with Crocker on Tuesday, Jan. 8.