Time ran out Friday for the New Haven boys basketball Shamrocks.
Top-seed and host Elsberry broke away in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Class 2 District 5 championship game to eliminate New Haven, 51-40.
New Haven ended the season at 10-18.
“I was really proud of how hard our kids played Friday,” New Haven Head Coach Aaron Peirick said. “They played as hard as they could, but just ran into a good basketball team. We came out ready to go and never backed down or gave up.”
New Haven took the early lead, 13-7, after one quarter. The Shamrocks led 22-17 at the half. Elsberry (14-13) fought back and led 30-28 going into the final quarter.
“It took a couple of possessions for each team to settle in, but once we did we shot the ball really well,” Peirick said. “We handled the ball, moved it quick, and finished possessions, which we needed to do in order to keep them out of transition. They had a hard time scoring against our set defense.”
Peirick said Elsberry made adjustments at the half and were able to find openings.
“In the second half they spread their zone out on us and we had a hard time handling that,” Peirick said. “We got very stagnant and didn’t move the ball like we did the first half. We looked unsure and were pretty sloppy with the basketball.”
New Haven was paced offensively by Ethan Groner, who scored 19 points.
John Fleer netted nine points while Abe Madden and Martin Lewis scored five points apiece. Joseph Rethemeyer added two points.
“I thought John Fleer worked really hard inside, he had some pretty tough sledding with big, physical, athletic guys in there,” Peirick said. “Ethan Groner shot it good for us and was our catalyst in the first half. All of our guys really battled all night on the defensive end, we really didn’t match up with their size and athleticism that well, but we probably guarded good enough to win. They just got too many buckets from our turnovers. I wish we would have rebounded the ball better too. They also did a nice job closing the game out by hitting every free throw in the fourth quarter.”
Peirick said Elsberry worked hard to make the necessary adjustments and win the game.
“Elsberry is a team that is very athletic and gets themselves going by getting into transition, so us throwing the basketball to them was fuel to the fire,” said Peirick. “We went kind of cold in the third quarter. If we could have gotten a few more buckets in that quarter things could have been more interesting at the end maybe. We never answered their run with a run of our own. We could get a bucket here and there, but never string any stop, score, stop, score together. I thought we gave them pretty much all they could handle, but we’ve gotta tip our hat to them. They are a good basketball team.”
Elsberry takes on Van-Far in the sectional game Wednesday at Hannibal High School. That contest tips off at 7:45 p.m.
The winner of that game will play either Milan (26-2) or Harrisburg (22-6) Saturday in the quarterfinal round at Moberly Area Community College. That game starts at 2:45 p.m.
The quarterfinal winner advances to the Class 1 Championships in Springfield March 8-9.