New Hope Christian and Horizon Science Academy played an aggressive uptempo game that saw both teams combine for 136 field goal attempts. The Statesmen led for most of the contest, but had to hold off a late Hawk rally to secure a 59-52 victory.
“Every year it’s a hard-fought game”, said head coach Shane Roese. “Both teams love to get up and down, trap on defense, create turnovers and shoot the three ball. It is 32 minutes of relentless play and comes down to who makes the last run”.
The game opened slow and New Hope did not score their first field goal until the 4 minute mark when Lane Bruning scored 5 quick points to give New Hope a 5-3 lead. Horizon then went on a 7-0 run to take a 10-5 advantage. The Statesmen then closed the quarter with a couple of three point goals including a three point at the buzzer by senior Simon Kuhlwein to take a 11-10 lead.
Horizon scored the first basket of the second quarter to gain a 12-11 advantage. New Hope then went on a 12-5 run fueled by 7 straight points by Bruning to take a 23-17 lead with 3 minutes to go before half. Horizon was able to close the gap to 28-26 before Bruning grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a layup at the buzzer to give the Statesmen a 30-26 halftime lead. Bruning led the charge in the first half with 14 points.
In the third quarter New Hope was able to extend the lead to 42-33 following a couple of three point goals by Kuhlwein with 3:09 remaining. Bruning continued to pace the Statesmen in the period with 7 points and New Hope took a 48-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Statesmen got an opening free throw by Bruning to take a 49-41 lead. But the Hawks pressure forced 6 turnovers in the first four minutes of the period and they were able to cut the lead to 49-45.
“Their pressure is constant and relentless”, said Roese. “They wore us down a little and made a couple runs at us in the fourth, but our guys kept fighting we held them off.”
New Hope then went on a 6-0 run to take a 55-45 lead with 2:55 remaining. Horizon answered with 7 quick points in a one-minute span to cut the lead to 55-52. The Statesmen were able to gain their composure and finish with a 59-52 victory.
New Hope was led by Lane Bruning with 26 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks. Simon Kuhlwein tallied 14 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists and Marek McCallister passed out 9 assists in the contest.
“Lane had his best game from start to finish. He really controlled the game on both ends and helped us beat their pressure”, said coach Roese. “Simon Kuhlwein is that guy that will do whatever is needed, he defends, rebounds and knocks down key shots for us. Marek really handled their pressure and found open guys tonight. These 3 guys really do a great job of leading us on the floor.”
The Statesmen (5-3) have two tough road tests this week as they travel to Wellston on Tuesday and Eastern Pike on Friday. Both games tip at 7:30pm.