BURLINGTON - Cardinal couldn’t have caught New London at a worse time. The Tigers were extra hungry in Thursday’s quarterfinal game after losing their final game of the year on Friday at Notre Dame to spoil a perfect season.
Couincidentally, the Tigers’ first district tournament game took place on the same floor at Father Minett Gymnasium. New London took out some frustrations with a 79-34 win.
“I just wanted to get our guys in there and get the sour taste out of our mouth,” New London head coach Bryant Porter said after the win. “Get back into the court and back into our regular routine. That’s really what the game was tonight.”
New London jumped all over Cardinal early. The Tigers led 20-9 after one quarter and 43-14 at halftime, flirting with the 35-point running clock rule early.
The Tigers continued to roll in the third quarter, putting the game at running clock and adding 18 points to their lead. After three quarters, New London led 65-18.
Cardinal was able to save a little face with a 16-14 fourth quarter. The freshman-led Comets finished their season 3-18.
“I think the reset button was hit,” Coach Porter said. “I could tell on Monday at practice that they were just ready to get back on the floor. They didn’t say anything, but it was the way they practiced. It was a whole different level of intensity.”
New London was led by Grant Swanson, who scored 20 points. Darius Whaley had 17. Keontae Luckett had 15. Mason Porter scored six. Tyler Henecke scored four, and both Demontae Watkins and Markel Luckett scored two.
Drake Harl and Griffin Greiner co-led the Comets with eight points apiece. Jentry Arbogast had six. Landon Becker scored three, and both Jarrett Greiner nad Cameron Honomichl had two.
The Tigers earned a shot at Notre Dame in the district semifinals, which will be at a location to be announced later on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The winner of that game will take on either WACO or Pekin in the district finals. Both semifinals were originally scheduled to be played in Fairfield, but were changed to “TBD” shortly after they were released.