COLUMBUS — Boone Central/Newman Grove used its speed and athleticism to jump on Lakeview early, then turned to its 6-foot-4 big man to ensure that lead wouldn’t evaporate.
The Class C-1, No. 8 Cardinals opened Saturday’s game at Lakeview on a 15-4 run fueled by transition baskets and 3-pointers, and Jessie Sullivan provided consistent scoring down low to complete the 66-53 road victory.
Lakeview started quickly with a couple of early baskets in the paint before BC/NG went on a scoring spurt capped by a 3-pointer and layup from senior Dylan Gentrup as the Cardinals turned the game into a track meet.
“We’d like to push the ball as much as we can and take advantage of that situation when we can do it,” said Boone Central/Newman Grove head coach Justin Harris, whose team improved to 1-1 on the season.
The Vikings (0-2) tried to utilize their size advantage as 6-foot-8 senior Luke Rollman scored six of his seven points in the first quarter, but they had a tough time matching up with the Cardinals in man-to-man defense.
Boone Central/Newman Grove led 23-9 when Cody Nelson sank his second 3-pointer of the first quarter as time expired.
“I don’t know what happened, whether our guys forgot that we don’t play to four (points),” Lakeview head coach Bryce Roth said. “We just couldn’t stop them.”
The BC/NG lead ballooned to 18 in the second quarter before Lakeview settled in defensively.
Lakeview knocked down three 3-pointers in the period, including two from junior Jaden Johnson, and trailed 31-18 at halftime.
“We just didn’t quite get enough that quarter,” Roth said. “We left some points out there.”
The Vikings’ zone defense managed to slow down BC/NG, but Sullivan scored 12 of his 19 points in the second and third quarters to keep Lakeview at arm’s-length.
“We try to feed Jessie as much as we can,” Harris said.
If opposing defenses collapse on the senior big man and open up outside shots, “we’ll take it,” Harris added.
Boone Central/Newman Grove pushed its lead to 18 again in the third quarter before the Vikings got hot offensively.
Cadge Janssen drained two of his four 3-pointers in the quarter and scored eight of the team’s 19 points in the period. He finished with 14 points.
Sean Donnelly, who scored all of his team-best 15 points in the second half, added six points in the quarter as Lakeview sliced the deficit to 48-37 entering the final eight minutes.
“I love how hard he played in the second half,” Roth said of the 6-foot-4 senior. “He gave us a big lift.”
Lakeview was within single digits at 49-41 when Maverick Pilakowski gathered a missed 3-pointer for a putback with 6:30 remaining the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals answered with a 12-3 run over the next 4 1/2 minutes to put the game away.
“We could never get that run to finish it off,” said Roth, who liked the way his players executed on offense in the second half but knows they can’t dig themselves that large of an early deficit against a ranked team.
“We turned it over way too much in the first half,” he said.
Boone Central/Newman Grove made 8 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter and 14 of 19 in the second half to seal the victory, but Harris would have preferred to see his team maintain that double-digit advantage throughout the contest.
“At times you’re almost playing not to lose rather than just go get it and win,” he said. “That’s something we need to get better at is putting teams away.”
Gentrup finished with 20 points, including 8-for-10 shooting at the free-throw line, to lead the Cardinals and Nelson had 13 points.
Johnson scored nine points and Pilakowski added eight for Lakeview, which went just 9 of 20 at the charity stripe.
“We can’t shoot less than 50 percent from the free-throw line and expect to win close games,” Roth said.
Lakeview plays Friday at Class B, No. 4 Aurora and Boone Central/Newman Grove hosts Central City on Thursday.