Montgomery County, Mo. – Saturday night’s third place game kept fans on the edge of their seats for 32 minutes of heart pounding action. Fans saw New Haven and Clopton tied seven different times and five lead changes, four coming in the final six minutes of regulation. The game ended up being decided in the final 18 seconds.
Kyle Ruediger scored a game high 24 points on 11-15 shooting, chalked up career highs with six assists, nine rebounds, and tying a career high with two blocked shoots. Clopton’s Jack Hicks led his team with 23 points.
Pictured Kyle Ruediger
Coach Ray Steinhoff said, “Saturday night was just a good high school ballgame. You had kids from both teams laying it on the line, both teams played extremely hard, making big shots, big plays…I have to give our guys credit. We were down throughout the half, four points, six points, eight points, and we kept coming back.”
Clopton lead by eight points (39-31) with 3:49 left in the third quarter and their largest lead of the night. “We were really having a tough time getting the ball inbounds against their press…gave up several easy baskets by them beating us down the court.”
After a Steinhoff timeout with 3:12 left in the third the Shamrocks went on an 8-2 run to end the third quarter tied at 41-41. Austin Madden made a huge deffensive play drawing a charge, which led to Ruediger completing a three-point play and tying the game (39-39) at the two-minute mark. The third quarter ended with both teams knotted at 41 all.
Seth Schenck came out of nowhere in the fourth quarter with the hot hand, hitting four jumpers in a row but every position Clopton answered right back.
Clopton’s Jack Hicks put his team up by four (53-49) after hitting a three at the 3:12 mark. Schenck answered Hicks with a three pointer of his own, which led to Ruediger giving New Haven the lead 54-53 on a turn around jumper.
With one minute left Hicks dropped a dagger giving Clopton the lead 55-54. “Our kids just refused to give up and finding a way to win this early in the season his huge.”
Seth Schenck drains one of his four straight shots in the fourth quarter.
The senior Austin Madden hit the biggest shot of the night, which turned out to be the game winner. With 17 seconds left Ross Seitter hit Madden at the free-throw line giving Seitter his eighth assist (career high) as Madden scored his fourth point, propelling New Haven to a come from behind win over Clopton 57-55.
After the game Steinhoff said, “We were behind pretty much the entire game. We had a lot of kids step up and make plays, particularly down the stretch.”
“Clopton was very well coached if we took something away they always had answers. I thought they were really well coached and their kids executed plays really good. Honestly I would say both teams played good. You had two good teams playing good basketball.”
“This was just a huge win for us, confidence wise, finding a way to win, they are a scrappy group of kids. I really hope fans come out Tuesday night because out boys play hard and play to win.”
Alex Poggas scores two of his eight points in the first half.
Schenck and Seitter both had career highs in assist, Seitter’s game high 8 assist and Schenck finishing with six.
Saturday night marked the third time Ruediger scored 20 points or more.
Steinhoff said, “24 points, missed four shots, six assist nine rebounds, six assist, two blocks, guarded their best player (Jack Hicks)…Hicks had a good night but Kyle kept him off the free throw line, which is where he has scored his points, shooting 25 free throws in the past two games.
“That is quite a stat line, I mean that is an all around good game.”
Alex Poggas added eight points and four rebounds. Schenck’s 11 points all came in the fourth quarter where he hit four straight shots and dished out six assists and made two key steals that led to four points.
New Haven improves to 3-1 and will enjoy two home games this week, hosting Grandview on Tuesday and then Montgomery on Friday.