Newcastle men drop close one to Wolves

Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

Photo by Nicole McFarland/NLJ

Pate Tavegie had a breakout game for the Dogies in their loss to Moorcroft last Friday. He was perfect on the night hitting two of his team’s three baskets from beyond the arc.


The Dogies had two big nights of quadrant play Friday and Saturday against Moorcroft and Buffalo, as they started their run for post-season seeding. Head coach Allen Von Eye and his crew were looking for their first win of the season against the Wolves in the Dogie Dome on Friday, but Moorcroft dashed those hopes by taking the 47-37 victory over Newcastle. 


The Dogies rebounded to play their best game of the season against the Bison in Buffalo on Saturday, however, they were unable to overcome the Johnson County team, so took their second quadrant loss, 41-71.


“We’ve never been in a situation like we were against Moorcroft, and our decision-making wasn’t great coming down the stretch,” Von Eye admitted. “Our kids played hard again, but they were hesitant in a lot of phases of the game, which is to be expected given we haven’t been there yet this season.”


The contest against Moorcroft was a tight one throughout most of the 32 minutes of play. The teams traded the lead six times and tied things up twice, with turnovers and shooting percentages were close. Though neither team is much of a threat from three-point land, statistically speaking, Moorcroft ended the night connecting on four from beyond the arc, while Newcastle drained three.


The Dogies struck first in the contest, however, the Wolves held a 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, then out-scored Newcastle by one in the second to take a five-point lead into the locker room.


By the end of the third quarter the Wolves and the Dogies were knotted up 29-29, but unfortunately, down the stretch the Dogies tightened up and struggled to score in the fourth quarter, allowing Moorcroft to out-score them 18-8 to take the 47-37 win when the final buzzer sounded. 


“We didn’t see the grit or the finish that we wanted out of them,” Von Eye said, with a sigh. “If we would have played Friday the way we played on Saturday, it would have been a whole different ball game, and we would have come away with a W pretty easily. That’s part of the growing process though. We just have to learn how to play hard and play smart when it’s a tight ball game.”


Quint Perino led his team with 10 points, Zander White had 8, Pate Tavegie had 7 points which included two shots from beyond the arc, Will Beastrom scored 6 points, Wyatt Cole had 5 and Thatcher Troftgruben chipped in 1 point. 


“One of the issues we had on Friday is that we didn’t have a perimeter presence,” Von Eye began. “We shoot the ball well in practice, but we just don’t really shoot much from outside in a game. So we talked about that after the game, and I think it finally set in for Buffalo.” 


On Saturday, aside from the first quarter where the Bison out-scored the Dogies 19-3, Newcastle battled with Buffalo in the last three quarters of play. There was only a six-point differential in the second quarter and eight points in the third, while in the fourth the two teams both scored 15 points. 


“We saw the guys ready to shoot right from the onset in Buffalo. They wanted the ball in their hands and we shot the ball well,” said Von Eye. “Buffalo also took care of us. They only pressured us for the first quarter and then only sporadically after that. But, we did handle the pressure a lot better than we have in the past when they did throw it on us.”


The Dogies’ perimeter shooting was much improved from previous games, as the team went 7-17, so shot 41% from the three-point line. Cole had a great night shooting 4-7 from beyond the arc for 57%. 


“Wyatt shoots the heck out of it in practice, and he finally showed what he is capable of,” Von Eye said. “He was ready, he was confident, and he knocked them down.”


The 41 points the Dogies scored was their best offensive performance of the season, which Von Eye attributed to his team attacking the defense and doing a much better job in the half court.


“It was demoralizing for us on Friday to lose to Moorcroft when they are a very beatable team, but for us to bounce back on the road against a very tough team on Saturday was exactly what we wanted to see from our kids,” Von Eye said. “They were pretty jacked about how they did on Saturday and were excited to get back to practice. All year long, they’ve been incredibly receptive. They work hard, and they really want to improve.”


Cole led his team in scoring, racking up 14 points on the night. White was also in double figures with 12 points, Troftgruben scored 6, Tavegie 4, Beastrom and Perino each had 2 points and JJ Lipp rounded out the scoring with 1. 


This week is another big one for the Dogies as they travel to Glenrock on Friday for their third Northeast Quadrant contest of the season. 


“Glenrock is another beatable team,” Von Eye declared. “They have beaten Moorcroft twice, both in close contests, so we just have to get ourselves ready and make sure the energy and the focus we had on Saturday transitions to Friday in Glenrock.”


Then on Saturday, Newcastle will host Wheatland in a cross-quadrant match-up. Varsity tips off at 7 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday, which is also the annual Pink game for cancer awareness.


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