With its uptempo style of play, New Hope is often looked at as an offensively driven boys basketball team.
The Statesmen, however, showed on Tuesday that they can get after it on the defensive end of the hardwood, as well.
New Hope checked host Fairfield Christian to just 12 points over the middle quarters of action on its way to a 55-48 win.
The defensive effort was even more impressive when you consider the Statesmen were without the service of on-ball defender Andrew Swank due to illness.
“Everyone stepped up to fill that gap,” New Hope coach Shane Roese said. “Adam Rink and Ethan Cook played some solid minutes for us.
“Lane Bruning also made things tough for Fairfield Christian in the paint with three blocks.”
Clayton Rhyne led the way scoring 31 points, including going 12 of 14 (85.7 percent) at the free throw line, in addition to adding nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Hunter Cavanaugh followed with 12 points and five rebounds and Bruning gathered 11 rebounds.
The Knights took advantage of a slow start by the Statesmen to grab an early 11-5 lead, but New Hope was able to get going and closed the quarter on a 10-3 run to tie the score at 15-15.
Xander Rink scored all five of his points in the period that Cook capped with a basket to knot the score.
New Hope checked Fairfield Christian to just three points in the second quarter as it took a 25-18 lead into halftime.
Rhyne led the way with five points during the period.
Fairfield Christian hit a pair of three-pointers to cut its deficit to a point coming out of the halftime break, but the Statesmen were able to counter with a 13-3 run that extended their lead to 38-27 at the end of the quarter.
After scoring nine points in the third quarter, Rhyne opened the fourth with a pair of baskets, including a triple, to extend the lead to 43-27.
The Knights caught fire down the stretch, putting together their best play of the night and going on a 16-2 run to cut their deficit to just 45-43 with 1:30 remaining.
“It was a great overall defensive effort, holding Fairfield Christian in check for 26 minutes,” Roese said. “Fairfield Christian made some shots down the stretch to make it very interesting, but what I liked was we didn’t let up. They did a nice job of knocking down some tough shots and we went through a cold spell.”
Rhyne stemmed the tide and helped the Statesmen remain in front by scoring 10 points, including six at the charity stripe.
“Clayton had a big second half with 19 points and Hunter was consistent all game and hit some timely shots,” Roese said.
The Statesmen (14-6), now winners of four straight games, are back in action on Friday when they host Cristo Rey.
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