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Bracket buster: BV seizes TRACN lead

STERLING – Sterling Newman had the Bureau Valley Storm backed against a wall midway through their game Tuesday night. However, Bureau Valley responded and took sole possession of the Three Rivers North with a 70-60 victory over Newman.

The Storm improved to 14-7 and 6-0 atop the TRAC North.

Newman came out of halftime leading 30-25 and doubled its lead in the blink of an eye.

Rather than keel over, Bureau Valley began its comeback and junior Parker Neuhalfen came up big.

Neuhalfen hit a jumpshot and Blake Balensiefen scored to help set up the complete turnaround.

Neuhalfen hit back-to-back threes more than a minute apart. His second three was followed up by another long ball from senior Ryan Young. This 9-0 run gave BV its’ first lead since the first quarter at 40-38 with two-minutes left.

“I just got open shots,” said Neuhalfen, “and luckily they went in. This gym hasn’t been nice to me over these years, but I think I finally broke through. They came out and hit us hard in the third quarter, but it shows how we can respond. Hopefully we can keep it up.”

The Storm took a 46-42 lead heading into the fourth.

A battle between Newman sophomore Noak McCarty and Neuhalfen consumed the first two-minutes of the final frame. For four-possessions in a row, the two exchanged their own razzle-dazzle baskets on respective ends.

Neuhalfen got the last laugh and capped off the back-and-forth with a layup to preserve his team’s 53-46 lead.

A.J. Sharp hit back-to-back threes to bring Newman with four with three minutes to play. The Storm found an answer, as Neuhalfen absorbed contact and finished a layup. He converted the 3-point play to give his team a 60-52 lead with two and a half remaining.

As Newman (17-2, 5-1) continued to look for the three-pointers to fall, Johnston was beneath the basket grabbing the misses. This helped him secure a game high 14 rebounds when his team needed it.

“Tommy’s a captain and he gets a lot of blame when we don’t play well, along with Parker and Ryan. But he deserves a lot of credit when we do play well,” Storm coach Jason Marquis said. “Obviously, we look at Tommy to do a lot of things for us. It was a big time game and Tom is a big time player. I’m proud for him that he had the opportunity to step up and do that. It meant a lot to our group.”

“We gave up 45 points in the second half,” said Newman coach Ray Sharp. “That’s just a ton of points. We couldn’t get it done defensively in the second half, we couldn’t get a stop.”

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