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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Norwell’s Piercen Harnish is grabbed by Noah Freimuth of Bishop Dwenger during the Saints’ 64-61 win Tuesday.

Saints win physical battle in overtime

Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Bishop Dwenger’s Marcus Stepp drives in for a shot against the Knights’ Drew Shively during the first quarter Tuesday at Norwell.

– Just two games into the season and Bishop Dwenger knows two things about its basketball team.

One, it is still knocking off the rust after a long football season; and two, this is a team that can win close games on the road.

The Saints overcame a sluggish finish to regulation and managed to beat host Norwell 64-61 in overtime Tuesday.

Dwenger (2-0) outscored Norwell (1-1) 10-7 in overtime.

“I don’t think last year’s team would have even expected to win,” Dwenger coach Matt Kostoff said. “With Mike (Fiacable) back, he was always been the leader (it’s different). From Day 1 in basketball practice, he has taken over. It just the way he is; he has always been the bandleader of this group. We wouldn’t have gotten this win last year.”

Dwenger was 5-14 last year and didn’t earn its second win until Feb. 9.

The Saints started the season late because of the football team’s run to the Class 4A state finals. A half-dozen or so football players also play basketball.

Fiacable, the football team’s quarterback, missed the football and basketball seasons last year after sustaining a knee injury in a preseason football practice.

The Saints went up 54-46 with 3:45 left when Grady Eifert hit 2 of 4 free throws after a technical foul on the Knights’ Austin Hayden.

Norwell tied the score at 54 by scoring the final eight points of regulation.

Dwenger didn’t score again until 2:17 was left in overtime when a three-point play by Marcus Stepp gave it a 57-56 lead.

“We kind of squandered it away the last few moments, and we let our emotions get away a little bit,” Kostoff said. “Both teams did, and the football juices kind of flowed for a little bit for both teams.

“Marcus Stepp’s three-point play was huge after they had taken the lead for the first time in a long time. It got us going again.”

Eifert led the Saints with 20 points, while Jeff Mugg added 13, and Stepp got 10.

“We had our ups and downs, and there were times we were hitting our shots, and there were times we weren’t, and there we’re times the calls weren’t going our way,” Mugg said. “We just had to persevere and overcome adversity.

“Toward the end it was getting a little emotional and chippy, but we kept our heads and overcome it. It shows how tough we are physically and mentally, and how we can prove to other teams in the city and compete with any of them.”

For Norwell, Hayden had 20 points and David Vogel 14.

The Knights trailed 51-42 with 4:27 left before outscoring the Saints 12-3 to end regulation.

“With were down nine, and we fought back. I am always going to go back to that,” Norwell coach Randy Hawkins said. “That’s something we can focus on and use to our advantage for the next game.

“We did a great job of coming back in the fourth and not getting down on ourselves.”

The Saints opened up a 41-31 advantage in the third.

“To get that 10-point lead meant everything because when you come into Norwell, it is like a 10-point deficit right off the bat because it is a tough place to play,” Mugg said. “When we got that lead, we were happy but we weren’t content with it.”

gjones@jg.net

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