A strong start gave New Hope a lead it would not relinquish on Friday in a 66-59 win over host Northmor.
“Northmor is one of the better teams we faced all season,” New Hope coach Shane Roese said of the Division IV Central District opponent that hails from the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference. “They scouted us very well, but our kids came to play. We grabbed the lead early and answered every run.”
Clayton Rhyne continued to be Clayton Rhyne. The New Hope senior shot 8 of 18 (44.4 percent) from the field en route to leading all scorers with 26 points. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out five assists.
“Clayton played one of his best overall floor games, getting off to a good start with 12 points in the first and then he just did a nice job of settling into the game and taking the opportunities that Northmor gave him,” Roese said.
Hunter Cavanaugh shot 5 of 8 (62.5 percent) on his way to a 21-point, six assist performance, and Lane Bruning was 5 of 7 (71.4 percent) for 13 points and added eight rebounds.
The Statesmen jumped out to a 25-16 lead after a period, led by Bruning scoring 13 points, including knocking down three bonus balls, and Rhyne scored the other 12 points.
Northmor (11-8) closed to within 36-30 during the second quarter, but a pair of baskets from Xander Rink off dishes from Rhyne helped the Statesmen take a 38-30 lead into the break.
Following defensive adjustments by the Golden Knights at halftime, Cavanaugh stepped up in the third quarter and hit a trio of triples that helped the Statesmen (12-6) extend their advantage to 49-39 headed into the final period.
“It was very much a grinding quarter, because Northmor’s defense started to dig in after they made some halftime adjustments,” Roese said. “They face-guarded Lane and were double teaming Clayton, but Hunter stepped up and hit three three-pointers to help us maintain and even extend our lead a little bit.”
A triple early in the fourth quarter off the shooting hand of Rhyne pushed the Statesmen lead to 12 points, but the Golden Knights tried to rally and cut their deficit to five points on two separation occasions, the final time with 45 seconds remaining in the game.
Cavanaugh stepped to the charity stripe and swished four free throws to help the Statesmen close out the win.
“Hunter had a huge second half with 19 points, he handled Northmor’s pressure and made key baskets and free throws down the stretch,” Roese said. “Hunter also guarded their best scorer, Grant Bentley, and held him to 10 points in the second half, with six of those coming real late. Hunter was the key tonight, especially in the second half, and he was able to make a big impact on both ends of the floor.”
The Statesmen are back in action tonight when they host Vinton County inside Ohio Christian’s Maxwell Center.