STERLING – After being out of action for a few weeks with a swollen Achilles, Newman senior Devon House is back in action.
He returned to the lineup on Friday, scoring 13 in a win over Hall, and kept it up on Saturday in the Comets’ 82-40 win over Bureau Valley.
House missed his first three shots from the field against the Storm, all 3-point attempts from the left wing, but a spin move in the post late in the first quarter got him on the board. He added a pair of 3-pointers early in the second, one off an assist from Marcus Williams, the other off an assist from Cody Britt, and finished the game with 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting. He also grabbed five rebounds.
“I need to get back into shape where I left off, just getting back to running up and down the court,” House said. “I have to get back into my groove. Our team’s been playing great as a team, so just to fit in with them again, getting ready for postseason.”
With House looking to get up to speed, the Comets got all the offense they needed in the first quarter from Williams. The sophomore guard scored 14 points in the game’s first 10 minutes, and finished with a team-high 19.
“Definitely just keeping up that energy both on the court and on the bench,” Williams said. “It’s our Senior Night, so we wanted to come out and get a big win here, and that’s what we did.”
After Bureau Valley scored first on a Dalton Dean floater in the lane, the Comets rattled off the next 17 points. Connor McBride scored the first four, getting a steal and a layup, then adding a putback moments later. Then Williams got into the action with a steal and a layup, another layup moments later, an assist on a 3-pointer by Britt, another steal and a layup, and a pair of free throws after McBride had swiped a steal.
“We didn’t do a very good job of getting in the passing lanes [Friday against Hall], keeping our hands down,” Williams said. “I think we did a lot better at that [Saturday].”
Luke Jungerman capped the 17-0 run with a steal and a layup.
“We were playing pretty aggressive,” Britt said. “We were playing fast-paced. Just excitement for Senior Night, and we had some plays drawn up and just played really good defense.”
Bureau Valley turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter, seven on Newman steals. For the game, the Storm had 28 turnovers, and Newman scored 36 points off of them.
Newman also had 17 second-chance points from 17 offensive rebounds.
“Physical game. Too many turnovers,” Bureau Valley coach Jason Marquis said. “I don’t necessarily think that hurt us in the quarter court, that hurt us on the glass and on live-ball turnovers. I think that big first quarter for them, they had 26 [points], but they had nine offensive rebounds and we had nine turnovers. If you give them 18 extra possessions, they probably should score 26 points.”
Britt scored 13 points for the Comets, knocking down three 3-pointers while often getting open looks from the corner. He also assisted on a pair of Jake Ackman 3-pointers and one by House.
“I was just kind of getting open,” Britt said. “We were running some of our zone plays against their zone, and I was getting open and shooting.”
Bureau Valley (6-20, 1-9 Three Rivers East) got six points each from Dean and Carter Salisbury. Devin Batten and Adam Johnson each scored five. Casey Horner had a team-high six rebounds.
“You’ve got to move the ball quickly against them,” Marquis said. “Certainly, with their length and athleticism, their strength, getting yourselves into traps isn’t going to go over well. Their physicality hurt us, bumping us, shoving us out to the outer edge of the floor, and then really struggling for us to find an open lane to pass to.”
Newman 82, Bureau Valley 40
Star of the game: Marcus Williams, Newman, 19 points, 5 steals, 2 assists
Key performers: Cody Britt, Newman, 13 points; Devon House, Newman, 13 points; Jake Ackman, Newman, 9 points; Dalton Dean, Bureau Valley, 6 points; Carter Salisbury, Bureau Valley, 6 points
Up next: Sherrard at Bureau Valley, 7 p.m. today; Newman vs. West Carroll–Erie-Prophetstown winner, Class 2A Rock Falls Regional semifinal, 6 p.m. Feb. 26.