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Big 4th-quarter rally lifts Delta past New Castle

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New Castle’s Nicholas Grieser (24) guards host Delta’s Josh Bryan (5) during the fourth quarter of Friday’s HHC boys game. Grieser tallied 10 points for the Trojans, but Bryan had 22 points and nine rebounds as the Class 3A No. 1 Eagles rallied to win 61-55.
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Visiting New Castle’s Mason Hardwick (10-green) drives the ball while fending off Delta’s Tyler Wilburn (10-white) during the first half of Friday night’s HHC basketball game. Hardwick scored 11 points for the Trojans, eight of them in the third quarter, but Wilburn had 20 points as the Class 3A No. 1 Eagles overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to win 61-55.
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New Castle’s Luke Bumbalough (3-green) hits another shot over the defense of host Delta’s Zach Garner (3-white) during the first half of Friday night’s HHC boys basketball game. Bumbalough scored 34 points for the Trojans, 26 in the first half, but the Class 3A No. 1 Eagles rallied for a 61-55 victory.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

ROYERTON – Double-digit leads in the fourth quarter against highly-ranked teams haven’t been too kind to the New Castle High School basketball team the past couple of games.

Tuesday night, the Trojans let a 61-51 lead midway through the final period dissipate into a 71-70 loss at the buzzer at No. 11 Hamilton Southeastern.

Friday night at Class 3A No. 1 Delta, New Castle led 50-40 at the start of the fourth quarter only to see the host Eagles storm back, seize control of the game, and post a 61-55 victory over the Trojans.

Delta remained undefeated at 20-0, clinched at least a share of the Hoosier Heritage Conference championship at 6-0, and can win the title outright with a victory at Shelbyville this coming Friday.

New Castle dropped to 9-8 for the season and 3-3 in the HHC, and did not win a conference road game during the 2018-19 campaign.

Actually, the Trojans led 50-38 with 55.4 seconds left in the third quarter after two successful Nicholas Grieser free throws.

But from that point until three seconds left in the game, the only offense New Castle got was two more charity tosses by him at the 3:08 mark of the fourth quarter, as the host Eagles outscored the Trojans 23-2 to turn a 12-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

New Castle suffered through a horrendous fourth quarter shooting the basketball from the field, as it was just 1-for-11 from the floor. The only bucket was Luke Bumbalough’s seventh three-pointer of the night three seconds before the final horn.

“Like Tuesday night, I thought we outplayed our opponent most of the game and had an excellent opportunity to win the game,” New Castle Coach Daniel Cox said afterward. But once again, we let the lead slip away. We made a couple mistakes, they got on a roll, their crowd got behind them, and we couldn’t make shots on our end of the floor. They were good shots, they just didn’t go in. Hats off to Delta for rallying in the four quarter to beat us.”

Before that huge run by Delta to close the game, the Trojans had the contest pretty well in hand and things were looking good toward handing the Eagles their first loss of the season.

The first quarter was a shootout in front of a packed house. Bumbalough scored 15 of his game-high 34 points in that opening frame and Nicholas Grieser canned two free throws as New Castle trailed just 19-17 after one period.

Tyler Wilburn tallied 10 points, Josh Bryan six, and Conner Bedwell three for the host Eagles in the first stanza.

In the second quarter, the Trojans started putting a little distance between themselves and Delta. New Castle finally evened the score at 21-all on a Bumbalough basket and edged ahead 23-21 on a Nicholas Grieser bucket with 5:59 remaining in the second period.

Nicholas Grieser hit a basket and Bumbalough made 1-of-2 charity tosses, sandwiched around a Bryan bucket, for a 26-23 Trojan lead, which was trimmed to 26-25 at the 2:35 mark after a Wilburn basket off an assist from Bryan.

But from that point until halftime, New Castle’s Mason Hardwick nailed a three-pointer and Bumbalough buried two more shots from behind the arc for a 9-0 run and 35-25 Trojan lead at intermission.

Bumbalough tallied 11 more points in the second quarter and 26 in the first half.

New Castle did an excellent job of taking care of the basketball in the opening 16 minutes as it committed just one turnover to Delta’s six.

The Trojans shot 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) from the field in the first half and 5-of-7 (71.4 percent from the foul stripe in the opening half, while the Eagles countered with 10-of-25 (40 percent) from the floor and 2-of-3 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe.

Delta controlled the boards by a margin of 15-10 in the first 16 minutes, an advantage that became more pronounced by the end of the game.

“Bumbalough is a phenomenal player,” Delta Coach Mark Detwiler said after the game. “Players like him don’t come around that often. We knew we couldn’t stop him, we just wanted to contain him some, and I think we did a better job of that in the second half. At halftime, I felt we had a chance to come back on them and told our guys to just keep rebounding and things might swing back our way. We have a lot of guys who can score, and that’s what has been the key to our success thus far. Our guys play well together as a team.”

A Bumbalough trey at the start of the third quarter gave New Castle its biggest lead of the game at 38-25. The Eagles then went on a 7-0 run to trim the visitors’ advantage to 38-32 with 4:36 remaining in the third period.

Hardwick then became the man with the hot hand as he sank a pair of three-pointers and a regular basket for the Trojans’ next eight points, and Bumbalough and Nicholas Grieser drained a pair of free throws apiece as New Castle outscored Delta 12-6 and grabbed that 50-38 advantage.

Bedwell hit a basket late in the third period to pull the top-ranked hosts to within 50-40 after three.

Bedwell hit a rebound bucket for the Eagles 49 seconds into the final period and then Bryan rebounded a Trojan miss and hit a streaking Brady Hunt with a pass down the floor for a dunk at the 6:28 mark of the fourth quarter to trim the New Castle lead to 50-44.

The Delta crowd really got into the game after that and Coach Cox called timeout to try to reverse the momentum swing, but to no avail. The floodgates opened and the Eagles scored eight more points in a row to grab their first advantage since the second period at 52-5 on a Bryan three-pointer with 3:45 left in the game.

Nicholas Grieser hit two charity tosses to knot the score for the final time at 52-all at the 3:08 mark. A Hunt free throw gave the Eagles the lead for good and they added eight consecutive points to build a 61-52 cushion before Bumbalough’s final trey ended the scoring for the night.

Five different Delta players participated in the big fourth-quarter rally as Bryan and Wilburn scored six points apiece, Bedwell four, Hunt three, and Josh Greenberg two.

The Eagles finished the game with a 31-18 advantage in rebounding and committed 10 turnovers to the Trojans’ six.

Both teams attempted 43 shots from the field, with Delta hitting 20 for 46.5 percent accuracy and New Castle 17 for 39.5 percent marksmanship.

Also, both teams were pretty good in shooting free throws as the Eagles went 17-for 20 for 85 percent and the Trojans 11-for-13 for 84.6 percent.

For Delta, Bryan had 22 points and nine rebounds, Wilburn scored 20 points, and Bedwell had 11 points and four rebounds. Hunt had nine boards.

New Castle also had three players score in double figures. Bumbalough had 34 points, Hardwick 11, and Nicholas Grieser 10. Brandon Matney yanked down six rebounds.

The Trojans won the junior varsity game 63-55.

New Castle hosts Pendleton Heights in its final HHC game of the season. The Class 3A state championship Trojan volleyball team will receive its rings and the championship banner will be unfurled at halftime of the varsity game.

Delta 61, New Castle 55

NEW CASTLE (55)

Bumbalough 11-27 5-7 34, Burris 0-2 0-0 0, Hardwick 4-10 0-0 11, N. Grieser 2-3 6-6 10, Matney 0-0 0-0 0, McDaniel 0-1 0-0 0, W. Grieser 0-0 0-0 0, Blessinger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 11-13 55.

DELTA (61)

Garner 0-0 0-0 0, Bryan 7-14 7-9 22, Wilburn 7-10 4-4 20, Greenberg 1-3 3-3 5, Hunt 1-9 1-2 3, Bedwell 4-7 2-2 11, Cox 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-43 17-20 61.

New Castle 17 18 15 5 -55

Delta 19 6 15 21 61

3-point goals – New Castle 10 (Bumbalough 7, Hardwick 3), Delta 4 (Wilburn 2, Bryan, Bedwell). Rebounds – New Castle 18 (Matney 6), Delta 31 (Bryan 9, Hunt 9, Bedwell 4). Total fouls – New Castle 15, Delta 10. Turnovers – New Castle 6, Delta 10. JV score – New Castle 63, Delta 55. Records – New Castle 9-8, 3-3 HHC; Delta 20-0, 6-0 HHC.