BEECHER | Illinois Lutheran was trailing by six points to upset-minded Beecher at the half Wednesday night in a River Valley Conference battle.
Collin Borns and Mack Newson weren’t about to let the game slip away for the Chargers, who rallied for a 53-47 win over the host Bobcats.
“I felt like the team needed a little spark,” said Newson, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career last week. “The team did a great job of getting Collin and me the ball when we needed it.”
Borns, who poured in a game-high 25 points, opened the second half with a 3-point play, and Newson finished a 9-2 run with a jumper to give Lutheran (8-3, 4-2) a 30-29 lead with 4:24 left in the third quarter.
“We’ve been down a few times at the half,” Borns said. “No one is hanging their heads. We get on each other and make sure everyone is giving 110 percent.”
Lutheran coach Mark Kjenstad said he made some adjustments at the break.
“We just said, ‘Keep attacking the rim and don’t settle for jump shots,’” he said. “And (Beecher) cooled off a little bit.”
Newson scored 12 of his 21 points in the third quarter to jump-start the rally.
“He started to take the game over in the second half, and that’s what he’s capable of doing,” Kjenstad said. “He’s the best player on the floor, and for a stretch there he took the lead, so we give him a lot of freedom.”
Lutheran grabbed a 38-37 lead with eight minutes left, and it withstood a charge by Beecher (4-13, 1-5) in the fourth. Five points by Garrett Short put Beecher up 42-38, but two buckets and a free throw by Borns put Lutheran back up 43-42.
After two lead changes and a tie, Lutheran took a 50-47 lead with 1:40 left in the game and held on for the win.
Borns and Newson combined for 46 points and 10 rebounds.
“We knew we had a good 1-2 scoring punch,” Kjenstad said. “When they’re scoring, we’re hard to beat.”
Marshall Landis led Beecher with 13 points, and Short finished with 11.
“We’re 12 points away from being 8-8,” coach Tony Waznonis said. "We’re in these games in the fourth quarter. We have to learn how to win. I told them once we get one of these, then I have confidence we’re going to get on a good string of wins.”