VEEDERSBURG — Fountain Central’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams split a pair of games with non-conference foe North Newton on Monday night. The girls’ fell 63-41, while the boys won 69-66.
After North Newton took a quick 2-0 lead, Andrew Shabi scored five-straight points for the Mustangs, and they never trailed again.
The junior scored a career-high 33 points as the Mustangs held off a Spartans second half comeback.
“In the offseason he put in a lot of work, and we worked hard to develop him getting to the rim a little bit,” Fountain Central coach Phil Shabi said. “He’s not going to beat anybody in a foot race, but he’s just kind of crafty with his body and the way he protects it. And we are really happy with the way he’s developed that part of his game.”
Shabi was an efficient 13-of-21 from the field, as the Mustangs (7-9) hit 24-of-44 (55 percent) of their shots. Cody Linville added 16 points, and Carson Eberly chipped in 10.
Fountain Central held a 36-28 lead at the half, and extended it to 58-45 early in the fourth quarter on a Shabi 3-point play, but the Spartans (3-11) stormed back with a 13-2 run to make it 60-58 with 1:45 left.
North Newton made it 65-63 at the 16 second mark, and a Austin Goodard 3-pointer made it 67-66 Mustangs with 2.1 seconds left, but Shabi connected on a pair of free throws to put the game away. Braden Merriman led the Spartans with 23 points, while Goodard added 18.
Shabi felt like the Mustangs brought the intensity needed to win on Monday night, and just need to find that each night out no matter the opponent.
“I think we started the game really well,” he said. “What our guys have to do is start being more confident against teams that on paper are better than us. They came into night and probably thought we can beat these guys and played with some confidence. But we can do that on any given night.”
Fountain Central trailed by as many 14 in the first half, but outscored the Spartans 13-4 to cut the lead to 37-35 after three quarters.
Unfortunately, North Newton started the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run, and held the Mustangs scoreless for over four mintes.
“Our intensity was much better tonight,” Fountain Central coach Tom Anderson said. “I thought we played hard to cut the lead to two. After that I don’t know what happened.”
Dakota Borman led the Mustangs with 10 points.