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MAC Boys Basketball Game of the Week - New Bremen at Delphos St. John's

February 15, 2013
By Nathan Pohlman of Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC)

With two weeks left of Midwest Athletic Conference play, league title implications will take another hit on Friday night in Delphos, when the New Bremen Cardinals fly into the Vatican to take on the Blue Jays. At 7-1 in MAC play, the Cardinals currently sit in first place in the league, with St. John’s and St. Henry both a half-game back at 6-1. Friday will wrap up New Bremen’s conference slate, with a win securing at least a tie for the league crown this season. “It was not one of our goals coming into the year, but it would be nice to win the league,” commented New Bremen head coach Adam Dougherty. “The guys come to work every day and compete every day in practice. We have been very business as usual and are just worried about getting better.”

The Cardinals have been paced this season by sophomore Carson Manger and senior Luke Schwieterman who average 14.6 and 11.6 points per game. Schwieterman also dishes out 3.7 assists per game, while Parker Manger adds 2.9 assists. New Bremen’s rebounding has been handled by Ben Homan who grabs nearly nine rebounds per game, while Justin Heitkamp adds almost seven each time on the floor. While it is easy to point to their statistics as helping lead the way for the Crimson and Gold this season, Dougherty also acknowledges several others who have stepped up recently. “Our bench guys were huge last weekend - we got in some foul trouble both nights,” he pointed out. “On Friday, Alex Speelman and Trevor Kitzmiller really did a great job and played some big minutes and then on Saturday, Sam Wendel came in and was a difference-maker in our win over Celina. These guys have been ready to play all year and have been huge contributors to our success.”

Dougherty realizes thereward with a victory at the Vatican, but understands the task isn’t going to be an easy one. “Curtis Geise is one of the best players we have seen all year - he beat us last year on a shot at the buzzer and is a tough guy to stop,” he commented. “We have got to make him work to score. We cannot let their guards get into gaps and get open shots for teammates. We have to play composed, as we have done all year in tough situations.”

For head coach Aaron Elwer and the St. John’s Blue Jays, an outright MAC title is within reach and wins in their final two games and a loss by St. Henry in either of their last two games would ensure the Jays their first MAC crown in eight years. “From the beginning of the season, we have discussed getting better each day, and if we were able to do that we would put ourselves in a situation to have a great year,” Elwer advised. “I believe we are still getting better and by doing this, we are in a situation to be one of three teams playing for the chance to win the MAC. We will continue with this approach and be business as usual.”

Although MAC title hopes are still on the horizon, the Blue Jays will also begin tournament play on February 27, when they open with Fort Jennings. “I have always been told that by March you want to have developed basketball players with good skills, good basketball intelligence, and that have a good understanding of what their role is for this particular team to be successful,” Elwer explained. “Most of the time it's not Xs and Os that win games this time of year - it is your players, and my hope at this point in the season is that our coaching staff have prepared our players for tournament basketball.”

In regards to the Cardinals, Elwer acknowledges the challenge his team will face on Friday.

by Robb Hemmelgarn

Tags Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC) • Publisher
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