by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
KINNIKINNICK — New Hope’s Clayton Rhyne got the season off to a big start as the senior scored 38 points to help the Statesmen to a 63-61 overtime win against Eastern Brown.
“I shot terrible in warmups and figured maybe it would be different in the game, and it was,” Rhyne said. “When you hit a shot, you just want to keep going. My ankle has been hurting but when I’m out there playing, you can’t feel a thing. You just go and good things happen when you do that.”
While Rhyne had the biggest number in the box score, he credited the win to other Statesmen nailing shots and playing well.
“We were all hitting — Nate Ames, a freshman hit two big threes in the first half and he was taking care of the ball so well for us.” Rhyne said. “And that was big for us, because I can’t handle the ball the whole game – I get tired. And that’s why I love Hunter Cavanaugh, he’s nonstop.”
“It’s a good way for that young man to start here in our program,” New Hope coach Shane Roese said (Rhyne previously played at Amanda-Clearcreek.). “No. 1 he’s a scorer — he just has a knack to get to the rim, a knack to get an open shot. He believes that shot is going in. When a guy gets hot like that, you’ve got to keep going to that hot hand. He made a lot of key buckets.
Rhyne had 13 in the third as New Hope ended the period with a 46-41 lead.
The Warriors battled their way back into the lead and were up two when Rhyne had a steal and then Lane Bruning hit a three with one minute on the clock to put New Hope back on top.
Eastern’s Luke Haney had a chance to put his team back in the lead with 31 seconds left but hit only one of two free throws and the game wound up going to an extra period.
“Early in the season, you just never know how your kids are going to react. I thought we made a nice run and got up five at half, then came out and made a nice run and got up, maybe, 12 points and I felt like we were in control of the game,” Roese said. “They’re a such a strong, physical team that they started to wear on us a little bit. (Kade Walkup) got loose there and made three three-pointers there in that one stretch. It brought them back and took the life out of us.
“I thought we got stagnant on offense, we weren’t moving, guys weren’t cutting to the basket, we weren’t moving the basketball and that allowed them to get back in the game.”
With the game in the extra period, it came down to the final tenths of a second to find the winner.
The Statesmen were up three as the clock was winding down when Eastern’s Wyatt Haupt was fouled trying to tie the game and went to the line to shoot three free throws with .4 seconds on the clock. He hit the first and missed the second. He purposely missed the third but Bruning pulled down the defensive rebound to seal the win for the Statesmen.
Bruning finished the night with 16 points, seven in the fourth quarter.
With teams focusing their defensive efforts to stop Bruning inside, Roese said it’s important the perimeter players are moving to create opportunities.
“This is probably as hard as I’ve seen Lane work to post up to get the ball and when we’ve got four guys standing around on the perimeter, then we can’t get it to him. Later in the fourth quarter, we started cutting and got some clean looks,” Roese said.
Walkup led the Warriors with 21 points – all coming off three-pointers, while Luke Haney added 15.
New Hope didn’t have a lot of kids show up in the box score, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t having good games, Roese said.
“Ethan Cook didn’t fill the box score with points but defensively Ethan was undersized all night long down there in the bottom of that 2-3 zone and, to me, did all the things that don’t get credit in the box score,” Roese said. “He got a lot of rebounds, was a physical presence on the blocks keeping kids out of there. I thought he played the nicest ballgame he’s played for us and for a senior captain to do that, it was great leadership.”
The Statesmen saw a little bit of everything in their opener, which is something they can use to get ready for next Thursday’s trip to Newark Catholic.
“Good teams are created in adversity,” he said. “What I liked about that, we started out behind, we went ahead at halftime, extended that lead, went a little stagnant and they made a run and went ahead. Yet, we had the resolve to battle back.”
New Hope 63, Eastern 61 OT
Eastern — Kade Walkup 7-0-21, Grady Barber 1-1-4, Chris Young 2-0-5, Wyatt Haupt 2-1-5, Donnie Mynatt 1-0-2, Luke Haney 6-3-15, Pryce Murphy 0-1-1, Caleb Jimison 4-0-8. Three-point goals — Walkup (7), Barber, Young. Total — 23-6-61.
New Hope — Adam Rink 1-1-3, Nathaniel Ames 2-0-6, Clayton Rhyne 12-9-38, Lane Bruning 6-2-16. Three-point goals — Ames (2), Rhyne (5), Bruning (2). Total — 21-12-63.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 OT F
Eastern 11 15 15 16 4 61
New Hope 14 17 15 11 6 63