Tiger boys blow past Nikes to earn split in doubleheader
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON — The 2016-17 season started off on the right note for the New London boys’ basketball team.
The Tiger boys crushed Notre Dame, 74-49, on Tuesday night in their season opener. The girls played the 12th-ranked Nike girls’ team tight in the first two quarters but a bad second half led to a 73-38 loss.
The Tiger boys rushed out to a 19-9 first quarter lead in their game, thanks to nine points from Mason Porter, five from Ben Dentlinger and five from Isaac McSorley.
Porter continued to dominate in the second quarter, scoring nine more points. Keontae Luckett had five points and Alex Dentlinger hit a three-pointer.
The Nikes, however, were able to outscore the Tigers, 21-20, in the quarter and it was 39-30 at halftime. Porter had 18 points at the break to lead all scorers.
“When he gets going, it makes a lot of things easy,” said Bryant Porter about his sophomore star. “We can get up closer and play defense. We can pressure the ball. He can get to the basket (or) look for other guys. He’s a pretty dynamic player.”
The Tigers ran away with the game in the second half, outscoring Notre Dame, 18-8 in the third and 17-11 in the fourth for the 25-point win. New London led by as much as 30 at one point in the final period.
Ben scored nine points in the second half, including a dunk. McSorley had seven of his own, and Blake Nehring had six points on back-to-back three-pointers in the third quarter.
After the game, Coach Porter said he had confidence in his young team to pull out the victory.
“They’re young guys, but I believe in them,” he said. “I knew that they’d be able to close it out and put the “W” in the right column.”
Porter led the Tiger boys with 21 points. Ben had 15 points. McSorley had 14. Luckett scored 11. Nehring had six. Alex scored five and Justin Henecke finished with two.
The New London girls played the No. 12 Nikes close in the first half, thanks in part to eight first quarter points from Camryn Blint to start things off.
The Tiger girls were able to break the Nike press in both of the first two quarters, which led to multiple inside points for New London.
“We talked about that a lot,” Coach Duane Blint said about his press break. “(We were) breaking the press and then we’d get the three on two. The first half was that way. We kept attacking the basket.”
The Tigers led by two possessions at times in the first quarter, but Notre Dame was still able to pull out a halftime lead, 32-26.
In the second half, the Nikes were able to force more turnovers and get enough easy baskets to blow the game open, winning the third quarter, 20-6, and the second quarter, 21-6.
“The second half, we had a lot of youth mistakes,” Coach Blint said. “That’s the thing about us…we’ve got a lot of young kids.”
Breanna Mettler led the Tigers in scoring, with 15 points. Blint finished with 11. Madysen Wahls and Alexa Wenger scored four apiece. Ashley Birdsell had two, and Addy Kellen and Peyton Jackson scored one apiece.
New London will travel to Keosauqua on Friday night where they will face Van Buren. The girls will tip off at 6 p.m., followed by the boys, at 7:30 p.m.