SHELBYVILLE, IL. — By SETH WHITEHEAD
For the Daily News
COWDEN — Free-throw shooting competitions are a big part of first-year Cowden-Herrick coach Bruce Manola’s practice schedule.
And on Saturday, that near-daily routine helped the Hornets pull off something the program hadn’t accomplished in 35 years.
Cowden-Herrick held off the Bulldogs’ attempt to come back from a 13-point deficit by making 13 of 14 free throw attempts in the final three minutes of its 69-64 NTC victory.
It is believed to be the Hornets’ first win against St. Anthony since 1978.
“It’s great,” said forward Luke Moore, who teamed up with Tyson Morgason and Ethan Schoonover to score 56 points. “I don’t even know anybody who was on the team that beat them (back in 1978) — it was that long ago. In the past St. Anthony’s been so good. To beat them now feels great.”
Cowden-Herrick stormed out of the gates, hitting 7 of their first 10 shots — including 4 of 4 shooting from 3-point range — for a 20-7 lead just six minutes into the game.
The Bulldogs (7-16) managed to cut that lead to single digits in the second quarter, but Moore’s buzzer-beater gave the Hornets (14-8) a 12-point lead heading into halftime.
St. Anthony stormed back to the game in the third quarter, outscoring Cowden-Herrick 19-11, including a Jacob Schuette 3-pointer that cut the home team’s lead to just four heading into the fourth.
But foul trouble caught up to the Bulldogs in the final frame, and Cowden-Herrick took full advantage.
The Hornets found themselves in the bonus just 44 seconds into the fourth, and after hitting just 1 of 4 from the line to start the quarter, Manola’s team caught fire from the charity stripe.
Moore hit 5 of 6 charity attempts down the stretch, while Morgason was 4 of 4, and Schoonover and Seth Barnes were both 2 of 2.