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Comets spoil BV Senior Night

MANLIUS - Fresh off a come-from-behind win over Kewanee the night before, the Bureau Valley Storm were ready to end the regular season on a high note in front of the home crowd in the Storm Cellar Friday night..

For Bureau Valley it was Senior Night with all of its expected celebrations, but for the Newman Central Catholic Comets (27-3, 11-0) it was just another conference game to win on the road, before ending their regular season in Princeton on Saturday.

The Storm got the early upper hand, but the Comets got the last word, tying the score at the end of the first period and continually pulling farther away, ultimately winning 74-52.

Marcus Williams (18), Devon House (15), and Drew Ackman (11) to lead the Comets' offensive attack.

Newman got on the board first and both teams traded the lead until BV went on 5-0 and 8-0 runs to be up 19-10.

The Comets responded with nine unanswered points, including a buzzer beating shot by Williams, to end the first period with a 19-19 tie.

"Both teams came out with energy in the first quarter," Newman coach Ray Sharp said. "They took it to us, being their Senior Night, and we didn't play very well in the first half of the quarter, Devon got two fouls and we had to sit him."

Indeed the Comets' 6-7 forward sat out the whole second period, but his team mates picked up the slack, going on a 10-0 run to grab a 30-23 lead at 2:52, ending the first half with a 37-28 advantage.

"We came out and played well," BV coach Jason Marquis said. "Gave up a run at the end of the first period that's uncharacteristic of our kids. Thought we attacked the basket well early, smooth and loose.

"A couple things went against us and we started getting a little tight, their intensity increased and we missed a few shots in the second quarter that hurt us."

Tyler Gustafson let the Storm offense early on, dropping 16 of his 20 total game leading points (including four treys) in the first half alone.

Nate Paup (11) and Kale Barnett (8) also contributed for BV's scoring effort.

After laying low in the second period, House re-entered the game in the second half and picked up where he left off, tossing in eight of his evening's 15 points to help the Comets go on a 7-0 run and a few smaller ones to end the third period with a 57-41 lead.

"From then on, I thought we played really hard and executed well what we wanted to do offensively and defensively," Sharp said. "We had an advantage inside, so we kept pounding down there and were able to get them in foul trouble."

By midway through the fourth period, Newman was ahead 68-45 and Marquis decided to give the remaining time to his reserves.

"Credit Newman, they're a physical team," Marquis said. "Clearly their kids work in the weight room, and they kinda got the ball where they wanted to for a big chunk of the game."

The BV coach knows the momentary loss on Senior Night will sting, but reminds of the bigger picture ahead.

"Next week our record goes back to 0-0, just like everybody else's," Marquis said. "We'll hit the gym tomorrow, rest on Sunday, and Monday we're ready for post-season basketball."

NOTE: Recognition was given to Duane Roberts of Buda, retiring as Bureau Valley announcer for basketball (and football) after 13 years of service.

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