Des Moines, IA- Head Coach Bryant Porter said the Tiger’s mentality entering the game was “house money” meaning that they had nothing to lose and that is exactly what New London did in their state quarterfinal matchup against Grand View Christian this morning. The Thunder would go on to win 61-51 as they search for their program’s 4th state championship, but they were on upset alert throughout the first half.
The first quarter belonged to the Tigers as Kade Benjamin worked the lane and Brendan Richey was on fire from deep as he hit his first two threes of the game and had New London out in front 12 to 6. However, Grand View Christian was the #1 seed for a reason as they are anchored by a 7 foot center, Daniel Tobiloba, and a terrific guard in Josh Sanderson as they kept it close to end the first quarter 12 to 10 in favor of New London.
New London would keep the pressure on Grand View Christian with Leo Gebauer hitting two deep jump shots to give the Tigers a 20 to 15 lead halfway through the 2nd quarter. This is where the storm started brewing for the Thunder as they outscored New London 10 to 2 to end the 2nd quarter with a 25 to 22 lead.
Coming out of halftime, a Grand View Christian team that had a diet full of iron in the first half as they shot 28.1% from the field started to make everything as 11 of their 15 third quarter shots fell to extend their lead to 13 points at the end of the third quarter, 50 to 37. New London would hang tight as Benjamin, Rylan Marin, and Brendan Richey each made in the third quarter.
The 4th quarter was a story of momentum being quashed by Grand View Christian as the Tigers would go on a small run, but the Thunder having an answer at every turn. Blaise Porter caught the interest of everyone at the end as he made two incredible three-pointers to make it a 56 to 51 game, but it wouldn’t be enough as Frankie Chiodo and Josh Sanderson would make their free throws late and seal the game. Blaise Porter has had quite the run for the Tigers and finally making it to the state tournament in his senior season, he had this to say after the game,
“I think all the work we put in I feel like it was all worth it at the end of the day. We came up short the last three years, we just kept our head down kept working and finally got here and came up short but its been one of my goals. As a senior I wanted to get the younger guys here to see what its like, so they have that drive in them when next season comes around.”
The Tigers end their season with a 19-7 record and their second state tournament appearance in program history and Porter wouldn’t have it any other way,
“It’s been one of my greatest accomplishments playing basketball and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”