It was a game ripe for an upset.
The sixth-seeded New Haven Shamrocks beat No. 3 Montgomery County Tuesday in the opening round of the South Callaway Boys Basketball Tournament, 49-44.
New Haven (8-5) followed that with a win over North Callaway, 48-36, to advance to the championship game against Hermann. That will be played at a later date.
While the game was something of an upset, it wasn’t a shock for the Shamrocks, who fell to Montgomery County in December, 44-42.
“We are happy to get to that winner’s side of the bracket and avenge that loss,” New Haven Head Coach Aaron Peirick said. “We didn’t play a perfect game, but we did make enough plays and made plays when we needed to. I’m proud of our guys.”
Peirick said his team picked up its play against Montgomery County.
“I thought we played well in stretches, especially after we changed the way we guarded the post,” Peirick said. “We started playing behind in the post. We then started fronting the post and Joseph Rethemeyer did a very nice job making sure he was working around and all of our guys were alert on the backside. Offensively we were sloppier than we would like to be, we had balls going off of fingertips, passes not on target, things like that.”
Peirick said New Haven struggled on the boards.
“We weren’t very good on the glass either, some of that might be a result of their length,” Peirick said. “We did have stretches where we looked really good. We had good possessions on offense where we were patient and active in our motion and got really good shots as a result. Defensively, I thought we did a nice job pressuring their guards and we produced some turnovers because of it.”
The game was tied through one quarter, 11-11 and New Haven led 26-19 at the half. The Shamrocks were up 35-29 after three quarters.
“We had a chance to put them away late in the third and early in the fourth,” Peirick said. “We had them down 12 and had the ball but we put together some bad possessions which turned into points for them because that’s how those things work. If you take away that five-minute stretch in the second half, we played really well.”
Ethan Groner led the Shamrocks with 24 points and also had four steals, three rebounds and an assist. He went 6-7 from the free-throw line and hit two of the five New Haven three-point baskets.
“Ethan had a big rebound late and did a nice job closing it out with free throws,” Peirick said. “Ethan shot it really good for us and finished around the rim all night and on the other end he was solid as well and took the ball from them several times.”
Martin Lewis knocked down a pair of three-point baskets and ended with eight points, five assists and one steal.
“Martin did a very nice job distributing the basketball and keeping us organized,” Peirick said. “He hit a big three for us in the second half when we really needed to stop a little bleeding.”
Rethemeyer scored eight points and one rebound.
“Joseph shot it well from the high post and worked hard defensively on their big guy all night,” Peirick said. “He had the deflection that Jay (Eichelberger) picked up when we were up only one with just under two minutes to go. That was a big play.”
Luke Gerlemann netted five points with a three-point shot. He went 2-4 from the free-throw line.
“Luke Gerlemann was really good in our motion offense being alert and active,” said Peirick. “He was big on the boards for us too.”
Eichelberger had two points, three steals and one assist.
“Late in the game, we got some big plays from Jay, who had a steal and a jumper to put us up by three with about 30 seconds left.”
Christian Paterson grabbed two rebounds with an assist. Trent Kormeier had three assists, two rebounds and a steal. John Liggett added an assist.
“Dominic Lewis and John Liggett gave us some valuable minutes too,” said Peirick.
Outscoring North Callaway in the fourth quarter, 22-10, the Shamrocks moved into the championship game Thursday with a 48-36 win over North Callaway.
New Haven will take on Four Rivers Conference rival Hermann for the title at a later date.
New Haven trailed 15-9 after one quarter, but chipped into the lead. North Callaway led 22-20 at the half. New Haven tied it through three quarters, 26-26.
Groner led New Haven in scoring with 20 points. He hit three three-point baskets and went 8-10 from the free-throw line.
For the game, New Haven hit four three-point baskets and went 20-26 from the free-throw line.
Eichelberger scored 10 points.
Lewis and Gerlemann each scored seven points and Kormeier added four points.