NEW BREMEN – After struggling offensively through the first three quarters, Arcanum found its rhythm in the final six minutes Friday night as the Trojans finished on a 17-7 run to win 45-40 at New Bremen.
“It was gritty,” Arcanum boys basketball coach Marcus Bixler said. “It wasn’t pretty. We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. We talked about it the two days we had a chance to prep that it was going to be ugly at times and find a way to be able to come up with a win and we were able to and I’m pumped. I’m excited for them.”
Arcanum got off to a slow start in the opening quarter, scoring just 6 points and trailing 10-6 at the end of the period.
“They do some different things defensively and they do just a great job at it,” Bixler said of New Bremen. “They force you into some turnovers and then have a hard time taking care of the ball. We had that happen tonight. But I was really, really pleased with some of the grit that we showed. We were able to execute a few real timely sets and a few timely baskets. And then the defensive end being able to play some zone I think kind of took them out of a little bit what they were trying to do.”
Arcanum’s defense really stepped up in the second quarter when the Trojans held the Cardinals to just 2 points. The Trojan offense also became more efficient, helping Arcanum build an 18-12 halftime lead.
“That’s the first time we’ve really run a ton of zone tonight,” Bixler said. “I was real, real pleased with the things we did defensively. I think we need to rebound a little bit better, but aside from that I was really pleased.”
New Bremen regained its form in the third quarter and outscored Arcanum 19-10 to go up 31-28.
“This is the first time we had played New Bremen,” Bixler said. “You see it on film, you see it in your scouting and you understand what they’re trying to do and we work on that for two or three days but you can’t mimic it until you get out here. They’re really, really good at what they do.”
New Bremen made two free throws in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to increase its lead to 5 points, 33-28.
With less than six minutes remaining, Arcanum got into an offensive groove for the first time all night.
Evan Atchley got the Trojans going with a basket then Wills Troutwine drained a 3-pointer to tie the score a 33-33 with just over five minutes remaining.
New Bremen regained the lead with a free throw, but Arcanum quickly went ahead 36-34 with Troutwine’s second consecutive 3-pointer.
“He’s a kid that when he gets his foot down he can really shoot the ball,” Bixler said. “He didn’t have any hesitation with it. He caught and shot. And I think he saw the first one go in and that gives you a little more confidence with the second one and then came up and hit two big free throws, too.”
Arcanum held the lead the rest of the night as Carter Gray, Zach Smith, Grant Delk, Troutwine and Atchley all scored in the final four minutes to close out the 45-40 victory.
Gray led Arcanum with a game-high 14 points on Friday. Also for the Trojans, Atchley scored 9 points, Troutwine scored 8, Delk scored 5, Smith scored 3, Andrew Baker scored 2, Lane Byrne scored 2, and Dylan Lumpkin scored 2.
Grant Hoehne led New Bremen with 11 points on Friday. Also for the Cardinals, Nolan Bornhorst scored 10 points, Avery Powers scored 8, Brandon Heitkamp scored 6, Bryce Blickle scored 2, Luke Vonderhaar scored 2, and Jacob Rindler scored 1.
Arcanum improved to 3-3 with Friday’s win while New Bremen fell to 1-7
Arcanum will return to action at 6 p.m. Dec. 29 as the Trojans play Brookville in the opening round of the Jet Holiday Tournament at Franklin Monroe.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.