Playing last week paid dividends for the New Haven basketball Shamrocks this week.
New Haven (2-1) upset third-seeded Clopton to open the Montgomery County Tournament Tuesday night.
“It is nice to get into that winners’ side of the bracket,” New Haven Head Coach Aaron Peirick said. “It really wasn’t that pretty, but we did enough good things to win and made the plays we had to down the stretch to close it out. We also did a nice job from the free-throw line again.”
The Shamrocks led 9-6 after one quarter and 21-18 at the half. New Haven kept the lead through three quarters, 32-30, before pulling away down the stretch.
New Haven knocked down 11 of 13 free throws in the final quarter to seal the victory. For the game, the Shamrocks went 21 of 27 from the free-throw line.
Luke Gerlemann led the way with 16 points on four three-point baskets and going 4-4 from the free-throw line. All of his scoring came in the second half and his free throws all came in the fourth quarter.
“Luke Gerlemann shot it great in the second half and got us going,” Peirick said.
Ethan Groner was next with 13 points. He was 9-9 from the free-throw stripe with five of those coming in the fourth quarter.
From there, Jay Eichelberger and Joseph Rethemeyer each scored four points.
Martin Lewis was next with four points while Trent Kormeier added three points.
“Martin delivered a nice pass to Ethan for an and-one when we needed a bucket late,” Peirick said. “Joe, Luke, Ethan and Jay did a nice job at the line to close the game out. Christian Paterson, Dominic Lewis, Trent Kormeier and Levi Schroeder all gave us valuable minutes off the bench.”
The Shamrocks hit six two-point baskets with one three-point shot as well.
“Offensively, I thought we forced some drives and some shots,” Peirick said. “Our ball handling was suspect most of the night. Martin, Jay and Luke handled the press just fine but in the half court we had some miscommunications, balls going through hands, and balls just not delivered to guys. We didn’t finish great around the rim.”
Zakk Eivins led Clopton with 13 points while Kennon Watts was next with 10.
Kyle Martin netted six points. Maleek McPike had four points, Dalton Strus scored three, Peyton Sambo had two and Shawn Yates scored one point.
“Defensively, we were just good enough,” said Peirick. “We got beat on several possessions with some cuts and some drives. We also would have liked to gather up more of the loose balls we caused by deflections. We did get a few steals along the way and Jay Eichelberger pulled down some big rebounds in traffic.”