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Defending State champs race past 'Cats

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HARTINGTON - For the second straight year, the Hartington-Newcastle boys' basketball team opened the season against the defending state champions in Class C2, Ponca.

Early foul trouble put the Wildcats in a hole early, as seven fouls in the first quarter put HNS starters on the bench.

“Getting in early foul trouble like that puts us behind,” said HNS coach Nick Haselhorst. “We have to sub some of our starters out that picked up two fouls. We just start behind from our game plan minutes into the game.”

Despite the foul trouble, HNS was able to keep up with Ponca for much of the first quarter and went into the second quarter down just 14-11.

Ponca then began to pick up steam, in part because of 6’4” junior Carter Kingsbury becoming a more dominant part of the offense. With Hartington-Newcastle in foul trouble, it gave Kingsbury more room to get going on the offensive end.

“Defensively, you have to do your work early and that starts with not letting him catch the ball,” said Haselhorst. “We let him catch the ball free. We let him get too easy of touches instead of literally making him work for everything he got.

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