Irrigators struggle in West River Tournament opener

Newell’s Darin Lewis looks for an open teammate during a varsity boys’ basketball game earlier this season. Lewis and the Irrigators hosted a first-round West River Tournament game Thursday night. Pioneer file photo

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NEWELL — Newell dropped a 71-15 decision to top-ranked Upton as the West River basketball tournament began play in the boys’ division Thursday night at Austin Auditorium.

“They play a nice, hard man-to-man (defense),” Newell head coach Paul McLaughlin said of an Upton squad that allowed only three points over the final three quarters. “They’re very aggressive with it; they had a lot of tips and a lot of turnovers through that.”

Jamin Davidson’s 3-point field goal gave Newell a 3-2 edge. Upton scored the next 10 points; Reece Barritt put the Bobcats ahead 12-3.

Newell cut the margin to 12-5 on a Devon Jones basket. Following a score by Upton’s Luca Brooks, Jones connected from 3-point range as the Irrigators trailed by only 14-8.

Upton responded by scoring the next seven points. The margin reached 21-8 on Ethan Schiller’s 3-point field goal.

Two baskets by Jaden Tennis kept the Irrigators within 21-12. Upton extended its lead to 25-12 at the break.

“We came out shooting well,” McLaughlin said in describing the opening stages. “We were driving inside well, getting some good shots.”

The Bobcats claimed a 19-0 scoring edge in the second quarter en route to a 44-12 lead.

Upton outscored Newell 16-1 in the third period and led 60-13. Chase VanDerBoom’s free throw marked the Irrigators’ lone point.

The Bobcats used an 11-2 scoring edge in the final frame. Colton Burtzlaff scored a field goal for Newell, 1-6 going into Friday’s contest.

Jones collected five points to top Newell’s scoring charts.

Upton received double-figure scoring from three players. Brooks led with 14 points, followed by Nathan Baker’s 13 points and Barritt’s 12 points.

Newell scoring: Devon Jones 5, Jaden Tennis 4, Jamin Davidson 3, Colton Burtzlaff 2, Chase VanDerBoom 1. Totals 6 field goals, 1 of 2 from the free throw line, 15 points.

Upton scoring: Luca Brooks 14, Nathan Baker 13, Reece Barritt 12, Dawson Smith 7, Ethan Schiller 7, Chase Mills 7, Logan Timberman 6, Rhett Watt 3, Kailer Duarte 2. Totals 30 field goals, 3 of 6 from the free throw line, 71 points.

Three-point field goals: Newell 2 (Davidson 1, Jones 1), Upton 8 (Barritt 3, Brooks 2, Schiller 1, Mills 1, Watt 1)

Total fouls: Newell 6, Upton 7

Faith defeated Moorcroft 59-43 in the other first-round game that Newell hosted.

Play in the tournament continues through today.

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