Nick Pollman missed seven of his first eight shots Tuesday at the Nashville Invitational Tournament, but he finally found a winning rhythm for the Mater Dei Knights.
Pollmann scored 16 points as the Knights came from behind and dropped Teutopolis to 0-2 at the tourney with a 47-44 victory.
“The first half I missed like my first four or five shots and I think I only hit that one three, but my teammates and coaches told me to keep shooting,” said Pollmann,a senior guard whose math was accurate as he had only three points at halftime. “I just can’t lose confidence, they rely on me to score so I can’t stop shooting.
“We were able to keep our composure at the end and grind out a winner.”
Teutopolis entered the tournament with a 15-2 record and ranked fifth in the Class 2A state poll. In two days at Nashville the Wooden Shoes (15-4) equaled their loss total for the entire season.
Pollmann remains the No. 1 offensive option for Mater Dei.
“Nick’s kind of solidified us offensively the entire season so far,” Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg said. “We challenged him... in the first half a lot of things weren’t falling. The difference between the first and the second (half) was his shot selection was better.
“He took his time and didn’t try to do too much..he let it come and I think it made a little bit of a difference.”
It was the fifth win in a row for Mater Dei (12-3), which got just enough offense to withstand a 24-point outing by Teutopolis senior Brett Mette. Mette had 11 points in the first quarter and 19 at halftime, but was limited to five the rest of the way by Mater Dei’s Blake Langenhorst.
“Blake Langenhorst did a great job in the second half,” Pollmann said. “We were really helping over (on defense), making the other guys try to score for their team. Make someone else try to win it for them.”
That someone turned out to be Wooden Shoes junior guard Brant Bueker.
After two Pollmann free throws gave the Knights a 47-44 lead with 33.1 seconds remaining, T-Town was working for a shot coming out of a timeout. A 3-pointer by Bueker was short and when T-Town gained a final possession under its own basket, Bueker’s last-second heave from halfcourt was off the mark as well.
“I thought we just persevered,” Schadegg said. “A lot of times we were just scrambling, but we just stuck with things and did the best we could against a good, physical, quality basketball team. That was a concern going in, their physicality, but I’m very proud of how our kids responded.
“They didn’t allow them to push us around and bully us around like they’re good at doing. It’s a great strategy on their part; they foul every possession, but you just can’t call every foul.”
Lucas Theising had eight points for Mater Dei and Mason Toennies added seven.
It was a memorable first half for Mette, who sank a shot from in front of his own team’s bench — at the far end of the court — to end the first quarter.
Mette had 19 of the 25 points accumulated by the Wooden Shoes by halftime, hitting eight of 10 field goals including three 3-pointers.
Just when T-Town seemed ready to open up a lead, Mater Dei got five quick points from Theising and stayed within 25-23 at halftime.
Mater Dei didn’t get its first lead of the second half until Garrett Boeckmann tossed in a 3-pointer early in the third quarter.
The game was tied 36-36 headed to the fourth quarter as the Knights held off a late charge by the Wooden Shoes by sinking five of seven free throws and getting a pair of buckets from Pollmann.
Nashville 50, Mascoutah 26
Brady Bultman scored 16 points and Hayden Heggemeier contributed 11 as the Nashville Hornets (13-6) improved to 2-0 at the tournament with a victory over the Mascoutah Indians (4-15). It was the seventh straight win for the Hornets, who knocked off state-ranked Teutopolis on Monday.
Noah Dressler and Ethan Mayberry scored 10 points each for Mascoutah.