Aaron Newcomb admittedly was ailing when the Brewer boys basketball team defeated Nokomis of Newport in their early season Class A showdown last Friday night.
But the senior guard was back in fine form Tuesday night to lead the undefeated Witches to an 87-50 victory over visiting Hampden Academy.
Newcomb scored seven points in the first 5 minutes and 12 seconds of the contest as Brewer jumped out to an 18-0 lead, and he went on to make seven 3-pointers during a 25-point evening as coach Ben Goodwin’s club improved its record to 4-0.
Newcomb made 7 of 13 3-point tries, with the right corner and wing his favorite spots to launch from long range.
Newcomb had plenty of help as the veteran Witches overwhelmed a rebuilding Hampden Academy team that fell to 0-4 in its first season in Class AA.
Junior forward Brock Flagg had his third straight outing with at least 20 points, scoring 11 points in the second quarter and seven more in the third en route to finishing exactly on that point total to go with eight rebounds.
Ryder Goodwin added 15 points and eight rebounds while Brady Saunders scored 11 points as Brewer easily achieved a season high for points scored in a game – thanks in part by making its first 13 free throws, finishing at 14 of 16 from the line.
But Brewer’s offensive explosion was complemented by defense, as Brewer held Hampden scoreless for the first 5:53 of the contest before junior guard Brandon Butterfield scored on a J.J. Wolfington assist to cut the Broncos’ deficit to 18-2.
Brewer’s perimeter defense generated several early steals that turned into instant offense, including two straight frontcourt thefts by senior guard Colby Smith that he converted into a layup ahead of the field and a pass to Newcomb for a transition layup to give Brewer a quick 6-0 lead.
Another steal by Smith led to two free throws by Newcomb before a follow-up shot by Flagg made it 10-0 and forced a Hampden timeout less than three minutes into play.
“We started out with the mentality that we wanted to play our defense really hard and take away any offense they wanted to run,” Goodwin said. “They’ve got some good shooters and good players and we wanted to take them out of the game early, and that [defense] really translated into offense for us.”
Saunders connected with a 3-pointer off a Flagg assist and followed that with two free throws before Newcomb hit his first 3-pointer from deep in the right corner to extend the lead to 18-0.
Brewer forced seven Hampden turnovers during the first quarter, helping the Witches to a 27-8 lead by the end of the period.
Brewer’s lead was 43-15 at intermission before the Witches struck for 30 points in the third quarter, with Newcomb scoring nine points on three 3-pointers, Goodwin adding eight points and Flagg scoring seven as the margin grew to 73-35.
“We have some experienced guys who have been around for a couple of years, and with the defense we run they really understand how to run it and they understand if they do get beat there’s going to be some help so they can be aggressive in the passing lanes,” Goodwin said. “That makes it tough for teams to come in here and run their offense. When we can take them out of their rhythm, that’s when we really get going.”
Sophomore guard Zach McLaughlin paced Hampden with 25 points while Wolfington scored nine.