The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Sports

February 18, 2013

H.S. Basketball: Newton too much for Elks in bi-district matchup

LUFKIN — During its great mid-season run that saw the Elkhart boys’ basketball team go from outsider to playoff lock, the team built up a chemistry and a style of play that suited its pieces.

In the final game of the regular season, the warm-up game against LaPoynor and Monday’s playoff opener, the Elks were without junior Jeffrey Wilson.

They lost all three games.

The Elks season came to an end here Monday at Shands Gymnasium at Angelina College, as they fell to Newton, 70-51.

“I don’t know if it hurt us much athletically, but we got into a rhythm and now we’re out of rhythm,” EHS coach Ryan Blackmon said. “But, the guys that we have played their rear-ends off. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of senior leaders.”

The game was close for much of the first half, but with just under two minutes to play in the second quarter, Newton made its move.

Leading 28-24, the Eagles went on a 7-0 run, anchored by a three-point play from Kevin Shorter in the middle, to extend the lead to 35-24 with under a minute remaining in the half.

Elkhart’s Luke Hollingsworth hit a free throw to end the run, but that was effectively the beginning of the end.

Newton kept the Elks at bay the entire second half, and the game was never really close after that 7-0 run.

“We were more mentally worn down than physically,” Blackmon said. “Not being able to get into an offensive rhythm hurt us more than anything.”

Jacob Cheatham led the Elks in his final high school game, scoring 24 points. But, he was only one of five Elks to score in the game, and the only in double-figures.

Both Cole Bridges and Hollingsworth — also both seniors — each had nine, with Hollingsworth grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Brian Johnson finished with seven points and five rebounds.

Newton’s Kevin Shorter led all scorers with 26 to go along with his six rebounds. Roney Elam added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Eagles, while Troy Peagues had 13 and five.

The Elks end the season at 14-14, having made the program’s first playoff appearance in eight years.

Newton moves on to face second-ranked White Oak in the area round.

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