A 21-4 run spanning nearly seven minutes made the difference for Newark Memorial in a 57-49 National Division quarterfinal defeat of St. Bernard (Playa del Rey, Calif.).
The Cougar defense stifled St. Bernard’s offense, keying the big spurt that broke a 26-26 tie midway through the third quarter.
“Our goal is to shut down our opponent,” said Cougar guard Casey Norris. “Help out the guards [on penetration], not allow any [3-pointers]."
Newark Memorial held Lutheran to just 30 points on Tuesday night, and appeared headed for another effort in the 30s before St. Bernard guard Brandon Randolph caught fire.
The 6-foot-3 senior guard sank three 3-pointers in the final minutes, each of increasing difficulty with defenders draped on him. Randolph scored a game high 27 points. His effort helped the Vikings battle back from down as many as 17.
Newark Memorial staved off the late Viking surge from the free throw line. The Cougars sank 13 of 19 attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
Leading Newark Memorial’s balanced scoring performance was a triad of Cougars with 12 points: Norris, Joey Frenchwood, and Damien Banford. Frenchwood and Norris each sank a pair of 3-pointers, while Banford handled low post duties.
Parm Singh added eight points, and K.J. Jones notched five.
The Cougars again thrived on hustle plays. Singh sparked one fast break opportunity with a dive for a loose ball, and on defense NMHS defenders cut Viking driving lanes to draw charges.
“Coach [Craig Ashmore] really has us focused on our defense, and taking a charge, that’s how we stop people,” Norris said.
Jalen Walker, the star of St. Bernard’s Tuesday night defeat of St. Thomas, finished with four points. Guard Lance Booker scored 10.
Newark Memorial will face the winner of the DeMatha-Mayfair tilt on Thursday night, and St. Bernard draws the loser.