Boys Basketball: Winona ends Wingers' seasonTake Joel Newman away from Red Wing and the Wingers have problems.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
Take Joel Newman away from Red Wing and the Wingers have problems.
Newman, Red Wing’s leading scorer and captain, missed the first seven minutes of Wednesday’s first round Section 1AAA tournament game due to illness and the Wingers struggled mightily as fifth-seeded Winona (10-14) beat fourth-seeded Red Wing 51-44 in Red Wing.
“He’s kind of a leader for so many different things for us,” Wingers head coach Doug Toivonen said. “I don’t know that if it was without him it threw the kids for a loop or what. When you look at our team we’re definitely a different team when he’s not in there.”
Newman said he felt fine before the game, but as the national anthem began we walked off the court to the locker room to vomit.
Red Wing went the first 11 minutes of the game without a field goal and trailed 11-2 before sophomore Isaac Toivonen hit a layup. The Wingers (11-16) still couldn’t recover in the second half despite them finding some continuity on offense.
Newman finished with a team-high 15 points and added six rebounds in 28 minutes. Sophomore Nick Powers finished with nine points on three 3-pointers and junior Ryan Boldt scored eight for Red Wing in the team's second meeting of the season with the Winhawks. Winona beat the Wingers 51-43 Dec. 6 in Red Wing.
“We’re not good enough right now that some kid can just get to the free-throw line or get to the basket and finish,” Doug Toivonen said. “That’s probably the biggest thing is Joel is so good when we need a basket he can get to the free-throw line or get us a bucket. We really didn’t have anyone else out there that has shown that they can do that.”
The Wingers, already without freshman starter Ty Buck, shot 33 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers in sloppy game. The Winhawks shot 39 percent and made 16 turnovers.
Newman hit a jumper to start the second half that made it a five-point game, but Red Wing never got closer. The Wingers fell behind by as much as 14 in the second half, but worked back to close the lead to six with 3 minutes, 42 seconds to play after Newman hit a pair of free throws.
“We really struggled the first half to get going, especially offensively,” Newman said. “Their zone defense was something different than what we’d seen the first time we’d seen them and we struggled to move the ball.”
Winona, which will face No. 1 seed Austin Saturday in Austin, got 15 points from Hunter Gamoke and Dan Schwartz added 12. The Winhawks didn’t need a ton of offense because their defense did enough to keep Red Wing at bay.
“Give them credit, they do some things defensively that take some time to adjust to,” Doug Toivonen said. “On offense I thought we got some pretty good looks early that didn’t go and then as that first half went on that basket kept getting smaller and smaller. As we struggled more, their defense kind of extended a little bit and they started getting out to our shooters and it started being harder for us to enter the ball.”
Red Wing had won six of its last nine games entering the postseason, which includes a 5-1 mark at home.
“It’s tough to swallow,” Boldt said. “Life moves on but you’ve got to learn from this.”