NEW BUFFALO — New Buffalo advanced past the first round of the Division 4 boys district basketball tournament on Monday, Feb. 25, with a 50-39 victory over a tenacious Michigan Lutheran squad.
It was the Bison’s third win against the Titans, and New Buffalo coach Nate Tripp said it truly is hard to beat a team three times in the same season.
“Hats off to Lutheran, they came ready to play and gave us everything they had,” he said.
The host Bison jumped out to a 14-8 first-quarter lead as Tucker Morse and Kaden Parmley hit three-point baskets, while Brennan Grott and Morse converted steals into field goals.
New Buffalo’s advantage reached double figures (20-10) early in the second quarter after Nate Tripp Jr. drove inside for a score.
The Titans rallied as the first half wore down, with a Sam Taylor “3” and buckets by Nick Mitchell and Cameron Guse helping cut the half-time deficit to seven points (26-19).
The Bison were on top 31-19 early in the third after Parmley connected from three-point land, but Michigan Lutheran made another run — this time pulling within five points of the lead (35-30) on the strength of baskets by Mitchell, Roman Levi (a regulation basket and a three-pointer) and Guse.
After his team missed a series of three-point attempts, Parmley drove inside for a trio of baskets while Morse then broke the long-range drought with a trey to bump the New Buffalo lead back up to a dozen points (42-30) heading into the final frame.
“The more we shot the ball the more it was easier to drive the ball into the basket … we just had to drive the ball, and it was there,” Parmley said.
The Titans kept the pressure on in the early going of the fourth thanks to consecutive three-point shots by Matthew Willis, but Ben O’Donnell’s three-point play yielded a 48-37 lead with 2:18 left in the game, and Michigan Lutheran would score just once (a Levi bucket) down the stretch.
Parmley paced the Bison with 17 points, Morse tallied 11 points, O’Donnell finished with 7 points, and Colin Bendiner and Brennan Grott each contributed 6 points.
Guse led the Titans with 11 points.
O’Donnell said the Bison played help defense in the lane when Guse had the ball.
New Buffalo advanced to a Wednesday, Feb. 27, district semifinal contest against Lake Michigan Catholic set to begin at 7 p.m. The winner will face River Valley or Countryside Academy in the district title game, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, in New Buffalo.