Pushing the pace
NEW CARLISLE — Mishawaka Marian finally ran out of patience with New Prairie’s patience Tuesday night.
For two quarters, New Prairie’s boys hung right with Class 3A No. 2 Marian in a Northern Indiana Conference basketball showdown at the Cougar gym.
But then, the Knights grew tired of New Prairie’s semi-slowdown game. When the third quarter began, Marian forced the Cougars into seven consecutive turnovers without getting off a shot.
From there, it was lights out, as the Knights pulled away for a 44-33 victory.
“They (Marian) picked up their full-court intensity and we kept turning the ball over,” said New Prairie coach Kris Davis. “For the most part, I’m happy with the way we played, but we have to do a better job of handling the ball.”
Jerry Bracey scored 16 points – mostly on fast breaks after steals – to lead the Knights, now 2-0 on the season. Jaden Ivey chipped in nine.
New Prairie, meanwhile, countered with 15 points from Chase Ketterer, who nailed four 3-point shots.
Davis said his Cougars didn’t intentionally slow down the game against a quicker, more athletic Marian team. But it was obvious the Cougars were in no rush to shoot, either, particularly in the first half.
Swinging the ball back and forth around the perimeter while they looked for a good shot, the Cougars only shot a total of five times in the first quarter, six times in the second.
Marian held a lead for all but a few seconds, yet it was never much of one. New Prairie trailed by only three points, 18-15, midway through the second quarter.
“Our top scorer was on the bench for a while there, and we weren’t just going to force up a shot,” said Davis. “It wasn’t really a slowdown game, we still wanted to push it whenever we could, but we also wanted to make sure that when we took a shot, it was a good one. We showed some patience.”
Cougar turnovers allowed the Knights to get a couple transition baskets and take a 22-15 lead at halftime. And then the third quarter began.
“We started doing a very good job of frustrating their (New Prairie’s) offense,” said Marian coach Robb Berger. “Defensively, we disrupted a lot of what they wanted to do.”
For almost four minutes, the Cougars kept turning the ball over. By the time Jake Tuttle finally got off a shot with 4:18 remaining, the Knights had expanded their advantage to 29-15.
While New Prairie’s defense actually did a pretty nice job, Marian isn’t likely to give up many leads like that this season.
“You can’t simulate the speed of a team like that in practice,” said Davis. “I like the way we battled, but (Marian) has a lot of weapons.
“We tell the guys, get on to the next play, get on to the next game,” said Davis. “You don’t dwell on the loss, you just keep improving.”
New Prairie falls to 1-2.
Mishawaka Marian 44, New Prairie 33
Chase Ketterer registered 15 points to guide the Cougars, including four 3-pointers.