NEWTON — A rematch from an overtime thriller, the sequel was equally as exciting. But once again it was Newton getting the last laugh as Knoxville saw their season end in a 59-55 defeat in this substate quarterfinal.
Both teams found a scoring groove in the first quarter as Newton jumped out in front 19-16 after the first quarter and would hold that lead going into halftime at 31-28.
The difference was the third quarter as Knoxville was held to five points while Newton extended their lead to nine going to the fourth.
The Panthers made a push to pull within two but the Cardinals would make enough free throws at the line down the stretch to secure the win and advance to the substate semifinal against Pella.
Adam Mattes and Brody Bauer both scored 16 points for Newton while Jake Ingle added 11 points. The Cardinals did a nice job protecting the ball with only five turnovers on the night.
In the first meeting, 67 of Knoxville’s 69 points came from Kieren Nichols, Spencer Hixson and Luke Keitges. Nichols did his thing with a game-high 27 points with Hixson and Keitges combining for 20 points.
Knoxville finishes the year with a 13-8 record, their most wins since going 16-8 in 2016-17. They bid farewell to seniors Cael Peterson, Jaxon Zuck, Kieren Nichols, Mike Hudson, Keegan Cox and Spencer Hixson.
*Knoxville stats were not available at time of print