Unable to find much offense anywhere on the court throughout the first half Saturday, the Central Cougars shifted to their long-range weapons arsenal.
The move paid off with four 3-pointers during a decisive third quarter as Central wrapped up its sixth Nashville Invitational Tournament title since 2009 with a 52-43 victory over Teutopolis.
Down by six early in the third quarter, Central (19-2) got two 3-pointers from Chase Schneider and one each from Jack Strieker and Logan Kohrmann to begin punching holes in the Wooden Shoes’ defense.
Using a barrage of 3-pointers like a sledgehammer, the Cougars finally broke through with a 23-10 run that closed out the victory.
Central, ranked second in the state, outscored fifth-ranked T-Town 16-8 in the third quarter and held on the rest of the way. Strieker had a team-high 15 points while Kohrmann and Schneider added 14 points each, with all three earning a spot on the all-tournament team.
A smiling Central coach Jeremy Shubert felt much better after his team brought home the championship than he did after a 13-point first half.
(Chase Schneider) hit two big threes. If he doesn’t hit those two threes in the first half, then he hit the two threes in the second half ...those are great big shots. if we’re down 10 at half that’s a whole different game.
Central coach Jeremy Shubert
“I’m trying to draw things up and figure out ways to get more offense,” Shubert said when asked about the halftime strategy session. “We sat down as a staff and said you know what? We’re getting good shots, they’re just not going in. We started to make shots and we got the ball inside a little bit and attacked the rim.
“(Chase Schneider) hit two big threes. If he doesn’t hit those two threes in the first half, then he hit the two threes in the second half ...those are great big shots. if we’re down 10 at half that’s a whole different game.”
Teutopolis, which went 1-3 at the tourney after coming in with a 15-2 record, used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to build a 33-29 lead.
Kohrmann ended the run, then completed a 3-point play before Schneider dropped in a shot that put the Cougars on top for good.
“It helped a lot with the threes going in,” Schneider said. “It was good for our offense and helped us score a lot of points.”
The quick run of threes seemed to deflate the Wooden Shoes, who played well throughout the first half. Schneider was the trigger man with his first 3-pointer of the second half sparking an instant explosion.
“We get hot and then we keep going,” he said.
Shubert talked about being able to go 4-0 against a star-studded tourney field that included three ranked teams and a Mater Dei team that reached the Class 2A state tournament a year ago.
Nashville’s Assembly Hall keeps bringing out the best in the Cougars.
“It’s a testament to how hard the kids work,” Shubert said. “This is a great place to play basketball. You get first-rate treatment here and they run a great program here. It’s a prestigious tournament and our kids take great pride in it.
“When you play Mater Dei, Nashville and T-Town back to back to back, for these kids to finish 3-0 (and 4-0 overall at the tourney) I couldn’t be happier or more proud.”
Offense was tough to come by for both teams throughout the first half as Teutopolis took a 17-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Central was 5-for-18 from the floor and T-town was 7-for-17 as the defense was well ahead of the offense early.
“Our defense wasn’t very good in the third quarter,” Teutopolis coach Jason Jason Hanson said. “It was disappointing.”
Logan Kohrmann, Central; Royce Newman, Nashville; Brett Mette, Teutopolis; Nick Pollmann, Mater Dei; Brady Bultman, Nashville; Jack Strieker, Central; Blake Langenhorst, Mater Dei; Chase Schneider, Central.
Mater Dei 64, Nashville 62
After an explosive second half of offense that included a red-hot 14-of-17 shooting performance, the Mater Dei Knights still needed every one of those shots to hold off the Nashville Hornets.
Mater Dei (14-4) got 26 points from senior guard Nick Pollmann, 14 from Garrett Boeckmann and 10 from Butchie Timmermann as they survived a Hornets’ squad playing without leading scorer Royce Newman.
Newman was on a football recruiting trip to Ole Miss.
The Hornerts (13-8) put four players in double-figure scoring led by Brady Bultman’s 19 points. Brogan Kemp nailed his final six shots of the game to finish with 17 points while Ryan Brink and Hayden Heggemeier scored 11 points each.
Nashville hit its first six shots of the second half and was nearly as hot as Mater Dei during the final two quarters, sinking 15-of-21 field goal attempts.
Trailing by 10 with just over three minutes remaining, the Hornets refused to go away. They got a 3-pointer and a free throw by Bultman that left them trailing 61-58 with 15.7 seconds remaining. Pollmann sank two free throws with 15 seconds remaining and the Knights held on despite a 25-foot 3-pointer by Brink that cut their lead to one with one seconds remaining.
Mater Dei was able to get the ball inbounds to secure the victory.