The Newburg boys basketball team faced off against Owensville to open the Belle Tournament on Monday, Jan. 14. The Wolves were able to grind out their 10th win of the season 57-56.
The first quarter was back and forth between Newburg and Owensville. The Wolves were able to gain a slight edge at the end of the frame thanks to threes from Caleb Austin and Justin Cantu. Newburg had a 12-11 lead through a quarter of play.
Owensville then took things over in the second. Trevor Abernathy led the charge for the Dutchmen, knocking down a pair of threes on the way to a 10-point quarter. Newburg couldn't keep pace, as the Wolves managed just eight points on the way to a 29-20 deficit at halftime.
The Wolves picked up the scoring in the third, but couldn't close the gap. Austin and Cantu continued to knock down threes, as Austin led the Wolves with five points in the quarter. Newburg scored 16 points in the frame, but Owensville kept pace with 16 points of their own. The Wolves had some work left to do to erase a 45-36 gap heading into the final quarter.
Newburg kicked their offense into overdrive in the fourth. Cantu hit two more threes in the final frame, scoring nine points in the quarter. Hunter Mentola matched that scoring with nine points of his own, tying the game with a pair of free throws with 2:40 to play. The Wolves led by as many as four points with 30 seconds left to play, but Owensville knocked down a deep three to cut the Newburg lead to one with seconds left to play. Newburg was fouled with three seconds left. The Wolves missed the free throw attempt, but Owensville couldn't hit a prayer at the buzzer and Newburg finished off a 57-56 win.
"We gave up too many easy buckets in the second and third quarter. The guys stayed positive and did a great job of playing hard until the end," said head coach Logan Ray. "We were able to turn up the press in the fourth and force some turnovers. We shot the ball well from three tonight, which opened up driving opportunities later in the game."
Mentola led all scorers with 20 points in the victory, while Caleb Austin added another 17 points. Cantu connected on four threes to score 12 points, while Tristan Wofford and Nathan Russell each chipped in with four.
The Wolves will now face Cuba on Thursday, Jan. 17, before the championship round of games is played on Friday.