By John Burbridge email@example.com
ROCKFORD — Coming out of the locker room with an 8-point lead, Newman Catholic nearly delivered an early second-half knockout blow in its Top of Iowa-East Conference girls basketball game against hosting Rockford on Tuesday.
During the inbounds play to start the third quarter, Knight junior Lily Castle was left open for an immediate 3-point shot which she sunk two seconds into the second half.
Then an ensuing Rockford turnover resulted in another trey by sophomore Kealan Curley. Soon, the Warriors turned the ball over again which sparked an open-court basket by Kailah Thompson capping an 8-point run in less than 40 seconds.
Rockford was able to get off the canvas, especially senior Jamie Schuster, who hit the floor hard repeatedly in battles for loose balls and missed shots. Schuster’s steal and layup late in the fourth quarter helped draw the Warriors within 2 (38-36), but Newman Catholic was able to hang on to win, 43-39.
Thompson led all scorers with 15 points including three 3-pointers. Castle added 11 for the Knights, who improved to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Schuster scored 14 to lead the Warriors, which fell to 2-4 and 2-2.
* In the subsequent boys games in TOIE doubleheader, Newman Catholic managed to pull away from foul-trouble-plagued Rockford in the second half to win, 72-55.
Knight senior Josh Fitzgerald, who displayed his impressive hops with several late-game dunks despite being at best a shade over six-feet tall, scored a game-high 16 points, and Merritt McCardle added 14 for Newman Catholic, which improved to 4-1 in both overall and conference play.
Rockford boasted four players in double-figure scoring, including seniors Jared Marth and Jake Staudt, who both scored 14; and senior Max Rooney and junior Matt Schubert, who both scored 12 points.
Schubert, who had some throw-downs himself, scored 11 of his 12 in the second half.
The Warriors fell to 4-2 and 2-2.
NEWMAN CATHOLIC 43, ROCKFORD 39
Scoring by Quarters
NEWMAN CATHOLIC 11 13 10 9 — 43
ROCKFORD 8 8 8 15 — 39
NEWMAN CATHOLIC — McKenzie Sullivan 2, Lily Castle 11, Faith Wadie 2, Kailah Thompson 15, Lauren Andrews 5, Kealan Curley 8.
ROCKFORD — Amber Reams 9, Jamie Schuster 14, Sierra Kuhlers 7, Morgan Thieman 7, Gabby Keith 2.
NEWMAN CATHOLIC 72, ROCKFORD 55
Scoring by Quarters
NEWMAN CATHOLIC 18 11 23 20 — 72
ROCKFORD 16 9 12 16 — 55
NEWMAN CATHOLIC — Isaac Fettkether 5, Josh Fitzgerald 16, Merritt McCardle 14, Jacob Schutt 9, Jack McGuire 4, Evan Paulus 6, Sammy Kratz 2.
ROCKFORD — Jake Staudt 14, Max Rooney 12, Kaden Lyman 3, Jared Marth 14, Matt Schubert 12.