By MIKE TIDEMANN
AURELIA - In a four-quarter nail-biter, the Aurelia Bulldogs came back from a 10-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Mustangs of Newell-Fonda in a home game here Friday night.
The Bulldogs led 17-14 at the end of the first period, then slipped, as the Mustangs led 33-30 at the half and 45-43 at the end of the third period. The Bulldogs rallied for an 18-12 advantage in a high-scoring fourth quarter for the one-point win.
Bulldog Coach Grant Peckenschneider said that the Mustangs' 10-point lead four minutes into the second half was cut to 2 points by the beginning of the fourth period.
A key play came when, with 17 seconds left in the contest, Newell-Fonda had a two-point lead. Peckenschneider then called a time-out. Chris Handy assured Peckenschneider he could land a three-point shot and he did, a foot outside the arc.
That gave Aurelia a one-point lead with just six seconds left. Chad Buchholz, the Mustangs' leading scorer with 17, gave the Bulldogs a scare but couldn't get his shot up, giving Aurelia the 58-57 win.
Leading scorer for the Bulldogs was Jared Bruce with 17 followed by brother Jacob with 16 and 12 for Handy. The Bruce brothers each contributed four assists out of the Bulldogs' 13 overall.
Scoring in double figures for the Mustangs were Buchholz with 17, Brad Anderson with 11, and Jake Jeppeson and Brent Sexton with 10 points each.
The Bulldogs were 11 for 27 in two-point shooting while the Mustangs were 19 of 40. A big difference in the game was the Bulldogs' 8 for 22 shooting from three-point range. Newell Fonda was just three of 19 from beyond the arc.
The Mustangs' free throw percentage was slightly better than the Bulldogs, but Aurelia went to the line more often. Aurelia was 12-21 from the charity stripe compared to 10-15 for Newell-Fonda.
The Mustangs outrebounded the Bulldogs 34-26. Jacob Bruce had six of the Bulldogs' 12 steals. The Bulldogs had 13 assists.
Aurelia had 17 team fouls with 18 for Newell-Fonda. Jeppeson fouled out for the Mustangs.
While both teams tried to press, Peckenschneider said it turned into a slow-down game. He had nothing but praise for his team.
"I've never seen a team play so hard as last night," Peckenschneider said Saturday following the game. "Both teams played hard."
The Aurelia coach also had praise for Newell-Fonda.
"Buchholz is a very good player and he gave us problems all night," he said. "This was a big win for our program and the fairly young squad we have this year.
"The entire team played their hearts out the entire game," Peckenschneider said. "We didn't rebound very well at times.
"Jacob had five steals the second half and really sparked us. Jared had a great night shooting. Tanner (Winterhof) ran the offensive real well. We still have much to improve on but if the boys give this effort all year we should have a solid season."
The Bulldogs were slated to face Alta Tuesday after the Cyclones, who routed Pomeroy-Palmer by 30 points last week.