Mustangs eliminate SE boys
ALGONA — Earlier this month, the Newell-Fonda boys engaged in a back-and-forth contest with St. Edmond toward the end of the regular season.
On Thursday night, the Mustangs used the experiences from that tough loss and the incredible play of senior Reed Kruse and freshman Bryce Coppock to advance in a Class 1A, District 3 quarterfinal, 69-57.
Kruse scored 17 points, including 12 in the first half, while Coppock finished with a game-high 18 for Newell-Fonda (9-13 overall), which now meets Bishop Garrigan on Tuesday in Britt.
In the lead-up to the game against the Gaels (12-11), Mustang head coach Shad Coppock saw his junior varsity stick with it and prepare the squad for Thursday.
“We had three great days of practice,” Coppock said. “Our JV gave us such a great look at what St. Edmond was going to do.
“We put in a gameplan, and the boys executed it beautifully.”
Last year, it was St. Edmond knocking Newell-Fonda out of the postseason with a 66-34 victory. Kruse, Jake Davis and Jesse Haack were all starters in that game, while R.J. Rojas and Jimmy Becker also returned.
Davis posted eight points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block, while Haack added 13 points and four steals. Rojas was the fourth Mustang in double figures with a dozen, shooting 5 of 6 from the floor.
“Our offense was very good right from the start,” Coppock said. “We’ve had games where our youth has shown up at times, but we’ve worked on that and talked about it in practice.
“The young guys have come a long way, and I’m really proud of them.”
Newell-Fonda shot out of the gates, taking a 12-0 lead three minutes into the contest. They were a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor, as Coppock and Rojas each drained triples.
The Gaels weathered that storm and slowly chipped away at the deficit. Charlie Doyle, one of six seniors on the roster, scored 12 of his team-high 16 in the first half, including eight in the second quarter.
Sophomore Jackson Kochendorfer added 12 points off the bench, while senior Jake Heidenreich had nine and seven boards. Nick Simpson, another senior, added eight points and six rebounds.
“(Thursday) was just one of those nights where every place we turned, there was some form of adversity,” SEHS assistant coach Jacob Short said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, we got in foul trouble and we turned the ball over too much.
“Credit Newell-Fonda, because they made some tough shots and got us down early.”
Short was filling in for Adolph Kochendorfer, after the veteran coach suffered a leg injury following the regular-season finale. Kochendorfer underwent successful surgery last week.
The Mustangs briefly surrendered the lead late in the second quarter after a four-point run by Sean Flaherty and a bucket from Simpson. But moments later, Kruse sank a triple before a Doyle three tied things at 30-all.
“I’m just so happy for Reed,” Coppock said. “Being our only senior, he has really been the kid everyone leans on. Nothing rattles him.
“(Kruse) has been in these types of situations throughout his career, whether it be football, basketball or baseball. He’s a very competitive player and he stepped up for us.”
Much like the start of the game, the first three minutes of the second half belonged to Newell-Fonda, as the Mustangs went on an 11-3 run and capitalized on four St. Edmond turnovers.
Coppock and Kruse combined to go 7-for-10 from the free throw line in the second half, as Newell-Fonda held a commanding plus-10 advantage in points from there.
Along with Doyle, Simpson and Heidenreich playing their final game, the contest also marked the last time in a Gael uniform for Matt Bennett, Nick O’Brien and Patrick Bocken.
“All of these seniors stuck it out for four years, which is something you don’t see a lot,” Short said. “Some of them didn’t play much early on, but they never quit.
“The seniors left this program in a better place, and we’ll hopefully be able to build off it next year.”
Bishop Garrigan posted a 59-44 victory over Paton-Churdan in the second game here last night. The Golden Bears (14-8) have won eight of their last 10 overall.
NEWELL-FONDA 69, ST. EDMOND 57
Newell-Fonda — Bryce Coppock 6-8 5-7 18, Reed Kruse 6-11 3-4 17, R.J. Rojas 5-6 0-2 12, Jake Davis 2-7 4-5 8, Jesse Haack 4-9 3-4 13, Treyton Mahler 0-5 0-0 0, Aden Mahler 0-1 1-2 1, Jimmy Becker 0-0 0-0 . Totals: 23-47 16-24 69.
St. Edmond — Matt Bennett 0-2 0-0 0, Andrew Gibb 2-9 2-2 8, Nick Simpson 4-7 0-0 8, Jake Heidenreich 4-5 1-4 9, Charlie Doyle 6-15 1-2 16, Jackson Kochendorfer 4-9 2-2 12, Sean Flaherty 2-3 0-0 4, Jed Tracy 0-2 0-0 0, Isaac Lursen 0-0 0-0 0, Nick O’Brien 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-52 6-10 57.
Quarter scores: Newell-Fonda led 14-12, Tied 30-30, Newell-Fonda led 51-42. Three-point goals: Newell-Fonda 7-17 (Coppock 1-1, Kruse 2-4, Rojas 2-3, Haack 2-3, T. Mahler 0-5, A. Mahler 0-1); St. Edmond 7-26 (Bennett 0-2, Gibb 2-6, Simpson 0-1, Doyle 3-9, Kochendorfer 2-7, Tracy 0-1). Total rebounds: Newell-Fonda 25, St. Edmond 30. Steals: Newell-Fonda 11, St. Edmond 6. Blocked shots: Newell-Fonda 1, St. Edmond 1. Turnovers: Newell-Fonda 15, St. Edmond 21. Team fouls: Newell-Fonda 12, St. Edmond 24. Fouled out: Simpson, Heidenreich.