This wasn’t the first time this season the Newman Catholic boys basketball team opened to a quick start.
But this time, they did it without leading scorer Marcus Gabriel.
The 6-foot-2 senior went to the bench with two fouls midway through the first quarter. The Cardinals, already off to a fast start, continued the surge with a balanced scoring effort.
Five players scored in double figures as host Newman beat Northland Lutheran 66-41 in a Marawood Conference game Thursday.
“Even when Marucs is out, we can put the ball in the hoop,” senior guard Nate Prososki said after he scored a team-high 15 points.
Gabriel scored all of his 12 points after he returned to start the second quarter. His efforts proved complementary to those of sophomores Jake Gajewski (13 points) and Dane Fronek (11) and junior post Jeff Ford (10).
Northland Lutheran coach Todd Dahlke thought the up-tempo offense Newman started playing this season would play into his team’s favor because that is how his team likes to play. The coach also thought Gabriel’s visit to the bench would play into his team’s favor.
“We should be a lot closer when we hold their best player to 12 points and he sat out the beginning of the game,” Dahlke said.
What flustered Dahlke’s players was the full-court man-to-man defense also put in by Newman just this season. Newman (3-2 overall, 1-1 Marawood) scored quickly after turnovers early and posted 25 points in the first quarter.
“I think we needed to take our time a little more,” Dahlke said. “You could see some of their athleticism one-on-one.”
With Gabriel on the bench, Prososki scored on a put-back, Fronek a jumper, Gajewski on a drive along the baseline and the wide-bodied Ford from his position near the basket.
Gabriel made a short jumper soon after he checked in to start the second quarter. Ford scored on a put-back soon after that, and Gajewski scored on a steal off the full-court press immediately afterward to put Lutheran (3-2, 1-2) behind 31-12.
“We had good offensive balance from our bench,” Newman coach Jeff Gress said. “Those guys came in and did a nice job moving the ball against their zone and they showed nice patience on our rotations.”
And, much to the coach’s delight, it did not matter who was on the floor.
Northland Lutheran: Curtis Engelbrecht 2, Tim Venus 8, Luke Thums 2, Michael Krueger 16, Danny Worden 5, Noah Panzer 2, Jacob Price 2.
Newman Catholic: Nick Thoreson 2, Nate Prososki 15, Jeff Ford 10, Jake Gajewski 13, Dane Fronek 11, Josh Watson 3, Marcus Gabriel 12, Nick Thoreson 2.
3-pointers: NL 4 (Venus, Krueger 2, Worden); NC 1 (Prososki). Free throws: NL 5-10, NC 5-7.
Records: NL 3-2, 1-2 Marawood; NC 3-2, 1-1.