Blue Devils drop Norfolk Catholic
WAYNE — After trailing by as many as 20 points in the first half, Wayne came storming back in the final 16 minutes to catch up to the Norfolk Catholic boys and overtake them for a 59-51 victory Thursday night in Mid-State Conference action.
Norfolk Catholic led 30-10 in the second quarter after Jack Marsden hit a pair of free throws with 3:41 left in the first half.
“We needed to stick with what we do in practice every day,” Knight coach Kevin Manzer said. “We never quit fighting for the win, but we need to learn how to fight — we need to stick to our plan.”
Wayne used a 22-10 advantage in the third frame to close the gap and take the momentum of the game.
“We told our guys at halftime to get more aggressive on the defensive end,” Wayne coach Rob Sweetland said. “Our defensive aggressiveness turned into offensive aggressiveness and we started coming back.”
The Knight lead was cut to 15 at halftime but grew back to 18 after Nate Brungardt found Ethan Piper inside and he converted one-of-two free throws with 6:10 left in the third.
But later in the quarter, Shea Sweetland, the coach’s son, took care of business.
Sweetland made it 38-25 with a 15-foot jumper early in the third and then scored 10 points by the end of the quarter to pace the Blue Devils to a comeback that had them down by only three.
With the Knights up 45-42 heading into the final eight minutes after Kallan Herman splashed a three from the corner for Wayne with 17.8 seconds left in the period, the Blue Devils scored the first six points of the final stanza to go up 48-45 with 5:17 left in the game after Tyrus Eischeid hit a pair of free throws.
Norfolk Catholic would retake the lead with a pair of charity tosses from Marsden with 4:24 to go and an 18-foot jumper from Jamison Svehla with just under four minutes to go.
But it would be the last time the Knights led.
Sweetland would call a timeout with 3:21 left to go after Eischeid grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to give Wayne the lead 50-49.
The teams traded turnovers and missed shots until the Blue Devils hit again with 1:47 left in the contest on a dribble-drive from Cody Rogers made it 52-49 for Wayne.
“I thought we got more patient in the second half and waited for a good shot,” Sweetland said. “To be aggressive and patient at the same time is exactly what we want to be.”
Shea Sweetland hit another three with 1:08 to go to make it 55-49 for the Blue Devils and they closed out the game for the 59-51 final.
Norfolk Catholic 24 11 10 6 — 51
Wayne 9 11 22 17 — 59
NORFOLK CATHOLIC (4-6): Evan Smith 0 1-2 1; Jamison Svehla 5 2-2 14; Jack Marsden 3 7-7 15; Alex Lammers 2 1-2 5; Nate Brungardt 0 1-2 1; Jackson Clausen 2 0-0 5; Ethan Piper 5 0-4 10.
WAYNE (6-4): Kallan Herman 1 0-0 3; Shea Sweetland 8 1-2 19; Josh Lutt 0 1-2 1; Cody Rogers 4 1-2 9; Marcus Fertig 1 2-2 4; Tyrus Eischeid 4 8-9 17; Trevor DeBoer 2 2-2 6.