MOROCCO — North Judson connected on 13 3-pointers to pull away for an 87-58 win over North Newton Nov. 30.
The game was close for most of the first half as there were 13 lead changes, but the Bluejays got hot from deep to spark a 17-2 run to end the second quarter with a 47-35 lead and total control of the game.
“When a team hits 13 3s, you have to answer on every possession,” said North Newton coach Sam Zachery. “North Judson has a strong core of players, and a really good freshman class that has played a lot together and they can all shoot the basketball. We have to do a better job of staying in-front when the shot goes up and also do a better job rebounding. There is not much you can do when a team shoots like that.”
Braden Merriman and Austin Goddard got the Spartans off to a good start scoring eight and seven points respectively in a fast-paced opening period. North Judson nailed five 3-pointers in the opening frame to foreshadow how the night would go.
After a layup from Griffin Swank, the Spartans led 19-18, but North Judson would go on a 4-0 scoring run to end the quarter up 22-19.
Senior Cooper Hochstedler had 10 points in the first quarter to pace North Judson.
Merriman added two more buckets in the second quarter, and Dylan Taylor stepped up with six clutch points as the Spartans would grab a three-point lead, 33-30 with 2:35 left to play in the first half.
North Judson erupted for a 17-2 run as they scored on seven on its final nine possessions of the half for a 47-35 lead. During that stretch, North Newton went 1-of-6 from the floor to go along with four turnovers.
“We were up three and then we had a couple of careless turnovers and made some bad passes and they came down and made shots,” said Zachery. “In a game like that, you have to match every possession and you have to take care of the ball. We had too many wasted possessions at the end of the second half and you can’t do that against a good team like North Judson.”
North Judson pushed its lead up to 17 points early in the third quarter after another 3-pointer from Hochstedler.
The Spartans fought back midway through the quarter and after a floater from Goddard, who scored six points in the period, were down by just 11 points, 57-44.
North Judson would go on to drain three more 3s to account to spark a 13-2 run to end the quarter up 22 points, 67-45.
Merriman would pace the Spartans with eight points in the fourth quarter, but the Spartans couldn’t mount a comeback as North Judson cruised to the victory.
“They held the ball and took good shots that they could make, it is hard to come back against a team that does that,” added Zachery. “Going into halftime the last two games, we have been right in the ball game. We have played two really good teams to start the season and we are just three weeks into a new season and a new system. I’m their fourth coach in four years, and I think they still have to adjust to that. We will get better and the wins will come.
Merriman finished with 20 points to lead North Newton, while Goddard had 15 and Taylor added 13.
Hochstedler had a game-high 33 points for North Judson, while freshman Ty Schumacher had 16 and sophomore Payton Cox added 15.
With the loss, North Newton falls to 0-2 on the season. North Judson improves to 1-0 with the win.
In other action, Covenant Christian outscored North Newton in every quarter for a 70-54 win Nov. 26.
The Spartans trailed 15-8 at the end of the first quarter and 29-19 at the half. Covenant Christian pulled away in the second half outscoring North Newton 19-15, and 22-20.
Merriman led the Spartans with 27 points, while Goddard added 15.
Covenant Christian senior Ben Lins paced the Knights with 35 points.