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Defense of Trojan boys stymies Red Devils

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Richmond’s Jalen Hillard (12) passes the ball while defended by New Castle’s William Grieser (20) as the Trojans’ Nicholas Grieser (24) tightly guards the Red Devils’ Lucas Kroft (10) during Friday night’s boys basketball game in the Tiernan Center. The Grieser brothers combined for eight points and nine rebounds and Kroft was held below his scoring average in visiting New Castle’s 73-48 victory over Richmond.
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New Castle’s Luke Bumbalough (3) launches another shot for points over the outstretched arm of host Richmond’s Andrew Kroft (1) during Friday night’s boys basketball game in the Tiernan Center. Bumbalough erupted for 37 points, 18 in the third quarter, to help propel the Trojans to a 73-48 victory over the Red Devils.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

RICHMOND — After the New Castle boys basketball team’s 75-69 loss at Mt. Vernon (Fortville) Dec. 21, Trojan Coach Daniel Cox lamented the fact that his team scored enough points to win, but wasn’t good enough defensively to do so.

What a difference two weeks makes!

New Castle traveled to Richmond Friday night, manhandled the host Red Devils on the boards by a margin of 34-16, held the host’s two top scorers below their season averages, and posted a 73-48 victory.

The Trojans improved to 4-5 for the season while Richmond dropped to 6-7.

“Since our last game, our focus in practice has been on improvement on the defensive end,” New Castle Coach Daniel Cox said afterward. “We came in with a purpose to lock down on them (Red Devils) defensively and not let them get any easy looks or uncontested shots. We also limited them to one-and-done with our rebounding and got some buckets in transition. I was really pleased with our defensive effort tonight.”

Another thing that helped in New Castle’s victory was that it shot very well from the field, particularly in the second half.

The Trojans singed the Tiernan Center nets to the tune of 15-for-22 (68.2 percent) from the field the final 16 minutes and finished the game at 27-for-47 (57.4 percent).

New Castle’s Luke Bumbalough did not score over 50 points as he did against the Marauders two weeks before, but he was excellent again offensively with 37 points, 18 of those in the third quarter alone.

Bumbalough also had more help from his Trojan teammates offensively as opposed to Dec. 21, as Blake Burris scored 17 points and shot 6-of-7 from the field.

The Red Devils led only twice in the contest, 3-0 and 6-5, as Lucas Kroft and Jordan Stolle buried three-pointers to offset one by Bumbalough and a Brandon Matney basket.

But from the 4:37 mark of the first quarter to 57 seconds left in the period, New Castle went on a 14-0 run to grab a 19-6 advantage. Burris had nine points in that spree, Bumbalough had another trey, and Mason Hardwick added a bucket to account for those 14 markers.

“The first three shots I hit were lay-ups,” Burris said afterward, “and then Luke made a great pass to me in the corner for my three. Hitting shots early gave me confidence and made the rim look bigger. Our bigs Brandon Matney and Collin Blessinger were great on the boards, and we tried to lock-down defensively on their shooters.”

Richmond closed the quarter with a pair of free throws from Lucas Kroft and a basket from Koream Jett and the hosts trailed 19-10 after one.

Two more Bumbalough three-pointers in the first minute of the second period staked the Trojans to a 25-10 lead. The Red Devils whittled their deficit down to 10 points at 26-16 with five minutes left in the first half after a Lucas Kroft traditional three-point play

Two Burris charity tosses, a Nicholas Grieser bucket, and three free throws from Bumbalough more than offset a Taijym Deloney charity toss, and New Castle boosted its advantage to 33-17 with 1:41 left in the first half.

“It’s really nice when we can get a lot of guys involved offensively,” Cox added. “I told the guys afterward in the locker room that everyone who got into the game contributed something to this win.”

Two free throws and a trey from Lucas Kroft were sandwiched around a Bumbalough basket, and the Trojans took a 35-22 lead into the locker room at intermission.

New Castle outrebounded Richmond 21-10 in the first half and held the Red Devils to 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) shooting from the field in the opening 16 minutes.

The host’s Andrew Kroft, who had been averaging 15.3 ppg this season, was held scoreless in the first half.

No one scored for the first 100 seconds of the third quarter until Lucas Kroft converted a traditional three-point play at the 6:20 mark to pull Richmond to within 35-25.

From there, the Trojans went on a 15-5 run over the next 4:18 to take their first 20-point lead at 50-30 with 2:02 remaining in the third period. Burris started that flurry with a three-pointer, and Bumbalough scored the next 12 points for New Castle.

The Red Devils made a final charge, outscoring the visitors 7-0 over the next 54 seconds to pull to within 50-37 with 1:08 left in the quarter.

But in the final 68 seconds of the period, Bumbalough nailed two more shots from beyond the arc, sandwiched around a Nicholas Grieser bucket, and the Trojans led 58-37 after three.

The latter trey by Bumbalough enabled him to pass teammate Mason Gillis for seventh place on the New Castle career scoring list. Bumbalough now has scored 1,258 points in his Trojan career. Bumbalough and Lucas Kroft will be teammates next season at Ball State.

“Lucas and I played on the same AAU team and got to know each other really well,” Bumbalough said after the game. “He and I will be roommates next year. We knew how good he and his brother (Andrew) are and our approach on defense was to make them work hard for their points and not get any uncontested shots. Brandon, Collin, and the Grieser brothers did a really nice job on the boards and Blake had a big game for us offensively.”

Richmond got no closer the rest of the way. New Castle eventually built its lead to its zenith at 69-43 on a basket by William Grieser with 4:35 remaining in the contest before settling for the 73-48 victory.

Cole McDaniel had five points in the fourth quarter for the Trojans, William Grieser four, and three other players tallied a basket apiece.

Andrew Kroft scored seven points for Richmond in the final period and Lucas Kroft had the other four.

For the game, New Castle had nine turnovers to the Red Devils’ eight and hit 7-of-10 free throws. Richmond finished the contest shooting 16-of-44 (36.4 percent) from the floor and 10-of-17 (58.8 percent) from the charity stripe.

Matney had seven rebounds for the Trojans, William Grieser six, Collin Blessinger five, and Bumbalough and Hardwick four apiece.

Lucas Kroft scored 20 points and had four rebounds for the Red Devils, Andrew Kroft had 13 points, and Stolle had nine points and five boards.

New Castle outscored Richmond 26-11 in the second half to win the junior varsity game 44-33. Trey Miller scored 29 points and Michael Holmes seven to lead the Trojans, while Messiah Tyler tallied 15 points to lead the Red Devils.

After playing at Connersville Saturday night, New Castle returns to the Fieldhouse this week with games against Greenfield-Central Friday and Rushville Saturday.

New Castle 73, Richmond 48

NEW CASTLE (73)

Bumbalough 12-22 4-6 37, Burris 6-7 3-4 17, Hardwick 1-6 0-0 2, N. Grieser 2-4 0-0 4, Matney 1-1 0-0 2, Blessinger 1-1 0-0 2, McDaniel 2-2 0-0 5, W. Grieser 2-4 0-0 4, Beam 0-0 0-0 0, Bergum 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-47 7-10 73.

RICHMOND (48)

A. Kroft 6-13 0-2 13, Stolle 3-5 0-0 9, Jett 1-2 0-3 2, L. Kroft 5-13 8-8 20, Deane 0-3 0-0 0, Hillard 1-7 1-2 3, Frye 0-0 0-0 0, Deloney 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 16-44 10-17 48.

New Castle 19 16 23 15 - 73

Richmond 10 12 15 11 - 48

3-point goals – New Castle 12 (Bumbalough 9, Burris 2, McDaniel), Richmond 6 (Stolle 3, L. Kroft 2, A. Kroft). Rebounds – New Castle 34 (Matney 7, W. Grieser 6, Blessinger 5, Bumbalough 4, Hardwick 4), Richmond 16 (Stolle 5, L. Kroft 4). Total fouls – New Castle 17, Richmond 8. Turnovers – New Castle 9, Richmond 8. JV score – New Castle 44, Richmond 33. Records – New Castle 4-5, Richmond 6-7.