MASON CITY | It is difficult to characterize a game as critical so early in the season, but after a disappointing 0-3 start, the Newman Catholic boys basketball team was in dire need of something positive to happen.
That wasn't going to be easy on Tuesday as the Knights played host to a solid Nashua-Plainfield squad that was 2-1 out of the gate and looking to make a move into the upper echelon of the Top of Iowa Conference standings.
Newman was plagued by shooting woes throughout the first three quarters, but when it mattered most, the Knights came through in the fourth quarter and secured their first win of the season with a 63-52 victory over the Huskies.
“I’m happy for the kids to get this,” Knights coach Jerry Gatton said. “The boys played with some poise down the stretch.”
The Knights shot 38 percent over the first three quarters, but due to some solid defense, Newman managed to take an eight-point lead into the fourth.
The Huskies quickly cut the lead in half, but the Newman offense was a model of efficiency over the final eight minutes as the Knights connected on 7-of-9 field goal attempts and 5-of-7 free throws to pull away.
For Gatton, the best part of the evening may have been four Newman players in double figures.
Justin Fausnaugh finished with 18 points to lead the Knights.
Josh Fitzgerald, who was held to one point in the first half, finished with 11, including seven in the fourth quarter.
Brady Gatton had 11 and Ian Holmgaard, who was starting for the first time for the Knights, overcame significant foul trouble to finish with 11.
Isaac Chambers led the Huskies with 14 before fouling out late while Caleb Lines had 10.
Newman (1-3) returns to action on Friday when it travels to Sheffield to face West Fork in conference play.
Nashua-Plainfield (2-2) travels to St. Ansgar on Monday.