NORMAL — It became a tale of two halves at Redbird Arena Tuesday night for the Newark Norsemen.
After being held to 17 points and out rebounded 16-9 in the first half by the Ridgeview Mustangs (30-2), Newark went on a 16-2 run that spanned from the beginning of the third quarter to the 3:46 mark of the fourth quarter, solidifying a big trip to Peoria on Friday in the IHSA Class 1A State semi-finals. It was Newark’s (28-4) first trip to the final four in six years, when the Norsemen won it all in 2011.
The Mustangs were using speed and some size advantage while keeping things close in the first half, but the Norsemen deficit never got to more than four at any point. One disadvantage for Newark was the lack of rebounding and allowing Ridgeview to grab seven offensive boards.
Quick buckets and some strengthened pressure down low prevented the Mustangs from grabbing extra boards into the second half. Cameron Myre opened up the scoring for Newark with a quick bucket, then Steve McGrath added a layup and Will Clausel hit one of two free throws, beginning a 5-0 run in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter that turned a deficit into a two point lead.
After Alex Tongate put the game back at 22 all, another short 4-0 for the Norsemen with contributions again from Myre and McGrath gave Newark a four-point lead heading into the final frame. Right off the bat, Beau Brown netted a bucket to make it a six point lead, and the first three-pointer of the game for Newark came at at 5:47 mark from Myre. That boosted the lead to seven, 31-24.
Clausel picked up a questionable third foul while Ridgeview was trying to get some momentum back in their direction, but then the ball was immediately turned over on a sloppy pass. Newark turned that turnover into points when Clausel drove to the bucket, extending the lead to nine points, and a little excitement from Clausel as he made a discrete, but excited fist pump.
Shortly after, Dylan Patrick picked up his fourth foul of the night on a three-point attempt, sending an 85 percent free-throw shooter in Tyler McCormick to the line. McCormick missed all three of the charity throws, and that built up more frustration for the Mustangs, who had no choice but to foul on ensuing possessions by Newark for the remaining three minutes of the game. The Norsemen were able to take advantage of the free throws, hitting eight in those final minutes, and hitting 12-of-14 for the game.
Score by Quarter
NEW (28-4) — 7 10 9 17 — 43
RGV (30-2) — 6 14 2 10 — 32
Newark (15/33 FG (1-5 3PT), 12/14 FT, 43) — Will Clausel 12 points, 4/8 FG (0-1 3PT), 4/5 FT; Cameron Myre 11 points, 5/9 FG (1-3 3PT), 0/1 FT; Steve McGrath 10 points, 4/7 FG, 2/2 FT; Beau Brown 6 points, 2/3 FG, 2/2 FT; Dylan Patrick 4 points, 0/5 FG, 4/4 FT; Corey Jacobson 0 points, 0/1 FG
Rebounds 19 (Myre 7, Clausel/McGrath 4) – Blocks 4 (Myre 2, Clausel/McGrath 1) – Steals 4 (McGrath 3, Patrick 1) – Assists 7 (Clausel 5, Myre/McGrath 1) – Turnovers 7 – Fouls 13 (no foul outs)
Ridgeview (13/41 FG (3-17 3PT), 3/10 FT, 32) — Noah Young 9 points, 4/10 FG (0-3 3PT), 1/2 FT; Jacob Donaldson 8 points, 3/7 FG, 2/5 FT; Alex Tongate 7 points, 3/7 FG (1-5 3PT); Tyler McCormick 5 points, 2/13 FG (1-8 3PT), 0/3 FT; Corey Graham 3 points, 1/1 FG (1-1 3PT); Devon Kelly 0 points, 0/3 FG (0-3 3PT); Levi Zimmerman 0 points
Rebounds 28 (Young 11, Graham 8) – Steals 3 (McCormick/Donaldson/Young 1) – Assists 7 (Donaldson 4) – Turnovers 11 – Fouls 14 (no foul outs)