MASON CITY – Newman Catholic girls basketball coach Mike Schutt has not had a big, go-to type of scorer this season.
Fortunately for the Knights, Schutt’s system of substituting in waves works well within a broad team concept.
Despite losing much of their scoring from last season, the Knights put together a respectable 12-8 mark during the regular season, and that success carried into their opening round of Class 1A regional play on Saturday in a 70-45 victory over North Iowa.
“We have been balanced all year,” Schutt said. “They have been very unselfish and spread it around.”
Nothing better demonstrated Schutt’s philosophy than the Newman start against the Bison.
The Knights outscored North Iowa 27-8 in the first quarter, but eight different Newman players got into the scoring column in the first quarter alone.
After a lackadaisical second quarter, the Knights sprinted further away in a third quarter that saw them outscore the Bison 22-9 and take a 31-point margin to the final stanza.
The Knights finished with three players in double figures and eight who scored at least five.
One positive for Schutt was that junior guard Kailah Thompson seemed to find her shooting stroke in the game.
Thompson, the second-leading scorer for Newman on the season, scored 14 points in the second and third quarters alone and finished with a team-high 19.
“It’s more of a mental game,” Thompson said. “I feel like it’s big for any of us to hit our shots early.”
Keelan Curley finished with 10 points as did Molly McGuire.
McKenzie Sullivan finished with nine.
Katelin Adams led North Iowa with 23.
Newman (13-8) advances to regional quarterfinal play Tuesday when it travels to Algona to face Bishop Garrigan.
The two teams met once during the regular season with the Golden Bears pulling off a 60-44 win on Jan. 12.