STERLING – Under coach Ray Sharp, Newman has been known for its 1-3-1 zone defense. Thursday, the Comets flexed their man-to-man muscle.
Newman swarmed Durand in a first-round game at the Newman Christmas Classic, building a 35-point lead and cruising to a 55-40 victory at Newman High School.
The game ended with a 15-point spread. It was not that close, as the Comets (8-2) jumped in front 18-2 and built a 52-17 third-quarter lead before emptying the bench.
"We shut them down. We started hedging and doubling, and that led to steals," said Newman's Kyle Moore, who scored a game-high 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. "We put a lot of pressure on them. That led to our fast-break offense."
"We've been working on our man-to-man defense a lot this year," said Moore's teammate Lucas Terveer, who scored eight points. "We want to be able to play both just as well. Our man-to-man was definitely good tonight."
Moore and A.J. Sharp led the Comets' early blitz, scoring six points apiece in the first quarter.
Newman led 20-4 after one quarter and 28-12 at the half. The Comets upped the margin to 35 with a 24-5 tear to start the second half.
Durand (5-4) made things respectable, outscoring mostly Newman reserves 23-3 the rest of the way.
The Comets meet defending tournament champion Chicago Larry Hawkins at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Winning their own tournament is important to coach Sharp.
"We won it 2 years ago. We didn't win it last year," coach Sharp said. "One of the Larry Hawkins guys had last year's champion shirt on, so that's a reminder of what we've got to get done."
Nic Miller added seven points, five rebounds and three steals for Newman.
Peter Basile led the Bulldogs with eight points.
Star of the game: Kyle Moore, Newman, 14 points, 7 rebounds
Key performers: Lucas Terveer, Newman, 8 points, 3 rebounds; Peter Basile, Durand, 8 points
Up next: Newman Christmas Classic semifinal, Newman vs. Larry Hawkins, 7:30 p.m. tonight