Like a race car waiting for a green light, the Napoleon Wildcats, who have not played in seven days, raced past Bowling Green for a 73-68 Northern Lakes League win Tuesday night in the Grand Canyon.
The Wildcats jumped out to an 18-2 lead and never trailed in dispatching the Bobcats.
“I was definitely a little concerned we would come out sluggish,” said Napoleon boys basketball coach Chad Bostelman. “They did quite the opposite. I thought we punched first and got Bowling Green uncomfortable with our trap. We also did a nice job passing the ball in the full court. Our conversion was really good.”
Blake Wolf hit a triple for an 8-2 lead 2 1/2 minutes into the game and Josh Mack followed with back-to-back dunks a minute later. Mack added a 3-point play off an offensive rebound and Wolf capped a 13-0 run with another 3-pointer.
BG scored the next six points, but Wolf sank his third triple of the period with one second remaining for a 21-8 lead entering the second period.
Napoleon closed a high-scoring second quarter on a 5-0 run, including a steal and lay-up by Wolf to end the first half and give the Wildcats a 40-26 cushion.
“I was unsure how it would go if we made it a full-court game,” said Bostelman. “We did a nice job of being first to the ball and being the aggressor. “
Bowling Green cut the lead to 44-40 with a 15-2 run in the third quarter, but Tanner Rubinstein scored four-straight points and closed the period with a basket inside the paint for a 53-44 lead.
The Bobcats scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 53-49, but the Wildcats responded with a 7-0 run.
BG chipped away and pulled within six (66-60) with 1:19 left on the clock. However, Napoleon made just enough free throws (7 of 12) and defensive stops to hold off the Bobcats.
“We knew they were going to punch back,” said Bostelman. “This is an NLL game, they’re going to make a push. I thought we fought them off well and never gave up the lead.
“We got stops when we needed them,” added Bostelman.
Wolf and Mack each scored 20 points to lead Napoleon, while Rubinstein had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Caden Kruse finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
The Wildcats had a 40-26 advantage on the boards and fewer turnovers (12-14). They were also 24 of 52 from the field for 46% and 19 of 31 from the foul line for 61%.
Bowling Green (5-6 overall and 1-4 in the NLL) was paced by Jabari Conway with 23 points. Brayden Freyman added 13 points and Brock Hastings made four 3-pointers for 12 points.
The Bobcats were 25 of 54 from the field for 46% and 9 of 12 from the foul line for 75%.
Napoleon (8-2 overall and 3-1 in the NLL) hosts Southview Thursday.
BG 8 18 18 24 — 68
Nap 21 19 13 20 — 73
Bowling Green — Jackson 3-1-7, Furnas 0-2-0-6, Brandt 0-2-2, Hastings 0-4-0-12, Conway 9-1-2-23, Freyman 3-1-4-13, Kress 1-1-0-5. Totals: 16-9-9-68.
Napoleon — Behnfeldt 0-6-6, Wolf 1-4-6-20, Mack 9-2-20, Kruse 1-2-1-9, Rubinstein 7-2-16. Totals: 18-6-19-73.