MASON CITY — Back on Dec. 8 in a meeting with Newman Catholic, West Fork was uncharacteristically run off its home floor in a 68-43 defeat. It was one that stung at the time, and when the game with Newman came around again, the Warhawks were going to be ready.
West Fork exacted its revenge Friday night in one of its best games to date as the Warhawks ran away with a 72-43 victory.
“We just came off a big win over Dike-New Hartford (Thursday night) and we wanted to carry over that defensive intensity,” West Fork junior Zach Martinek said. “One of our really big focuses was talking — talk on D — and we did a really good job with that. I think that gets everybody in the game, it puts everybody in a good position, and I think that was a really big point of emphasis tonight and it showed.”
There were really no moments during Friday’s game where the Warhawks felt threatened. They took the opening tip-off down the floor for two points, and kept building from there.
Mitchell Halloran and Martinek combined for 20 points in the first as West Fork jumped to a 26-12 lead after one quarter, and the defense carried it from there.
Newman made two field goals in the second and one in the third on the way to 13 points over the second and third quarters.
West Fork also made it difficult on the Knights by limiting their shots and controlling the glass.
“Our defensive intensity was a lot better this time around, we tried to be a little bit more aggressive offensively this time and rebound a lot better this time than the first time,” West Fork coach Frank Schnoes said. “The kids were really motivated and played hard.”
Martinek continued his strong play into the second half as he had his way getting through the Newman defense and to the rim. He finished with a game-high 27 points after going off for 32 in a win over Dike-New Hartford on Thursday.
“Coach has talked about getting into a groove and taking more shots, even if they’re not falling, just to create,” Martinek said.
Halloran added 18 points for the Warhawks and Ian Latham chipped in nine.
The loss ended an 11-game winning streak for the Knights. It also cluttered things up a bit more atop the Top of Iowa East Division standings. Rockford and Osage have two losses apiece, Newman has three and West Fork has four.
“You’ve got to give it to them,” Newman coach Jerry Gatton said. “They came out, they wanted it, they shot well, and it was one-and-done for us. It might have been one of our poorest nights shooting, but sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other team, say nice victory, and move on.”