Vienna’s Eagles fall to Newburg’s Wolves in district title game

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 3/4/21

LAQUEY — Two nights removed from denying Laquey’s Hornets a chance to play for a district title in their home gym, Chandler Harker’s Vienna Eagles had revenge on their …

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Vienna’s Eagles fall to Newburg’s Wolves in district title game

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LAQUEY — Two nights removed from denying Laquey’s Hornets a chance to play for a district title in their home gym, Chandler Harker’s Vienna Eagles had revenge on their mind.

Falling 68-60 to Newburg at home in the final game of the 2020 portion of the season, Vienna earned a shot at revenge Friday night against the Wolves in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 2, District 9 Boys Basketball Tournament title game.

Trading baskets with Newburg for the first three quarters of the game, Vienna saw the Wolves go on a 7-2 fourth-quarter run.

Getting within five points at 56-51 with 1:07 left, the Eagles were not able to get any closer before seeing their season end at 14-10 following a 58-51 loss to Newburg.

“We had a couple of costly turnovers that they executed on and turned into points,” Harker said. “We just weren’t able to make the shots down the stretch when we needed them the most.”

Battling through six lead changes and five ties in the first eight minutes, Vienna trailed Newburg 13-11 after one quarter from Laquey.

Nathan Kleffner led the Eagles with five first-quarter points followed closely with four from Trey Snodgrass.

Down 15-11 in the opening moments of the second quarter, Snodgrass scored twice in a span of 39 seconds to help Vienna tie Newburg at 15-15 with 5:41 until halftime.

Newburg’s Tristan Wofford and Vienna’s Bayrd VanScoy then traded 3-pointers keeping the game tied at 18-18 29 seconds later.

Two points each from Snodgrass and Kleffner in addition to a Lucas Magner 3-pointer helped Vienna finish the first half in a 25-25 deadlock with Newburg.

Snodgrass added six points in the second quarter for Vienna giving him a team-high 10 first-half points for the Eagles.

Wofford led the Wolves and all scorers with 12 first-half points.

VanScoy opened the second half for Vienna with a 3-pointer giving the Eagles a 28-25 lead at the 7:20 mark of the third quarter.

Following consecutive 3-pointers from Newburg’s Jared Lott, Kleffner answered with five points of his own giving Vienna a 33-31 lead with 5:42 for the third quarter.

Playing through three ties and three lead changes in the final 5:25 of the third quarter, Vienna went into the fourth quarter trailing the Wolves 44-42.

Unable to counter a pair of five-point Newburg runs in the fourth quarter, Vienna wound up settling for the second-place plaque from the MSHSAA Class 2, District 9 Boys Basketball Tournament.

“They were a great team and well coached,” Newburg head coach Cody Woody said. “We knew coming in that they were going to give us everything they wanted and then some.”

Ending his junior season with All-District honors, Snodgrass led Vienna with a double double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Kleffner followed closely behind Snodgrass with 15 points.

VanScoy made it a trio of double figures for the Eagles finishing with 11 points. Flirting with a triple double, VanScoy also finished with seven rebounds and six assists.

Max Steffen added four points in the fourth quarter for Vienna followed closely by three points from Lucas Magner.

Janis Hubert rounded out the scoring for Vienna against Newburg with two points in addition to dishing out five assists.

“I’m proud of my kids,” Harker said. “They never gave up and they played hard all season.”

Wofford led three Wolves in double figures for Newburg with a game-high 20 points.

Hunter Mentola added 12 points while Colten Pound scored eight of his 10 points in the second half.

Before advancing to the district title game, Vienna had to face Laquey’s Hornets last Wednesday night at Vienna High School in the Class 2, District 9 semifinals.

Down as much as 14 points in the third quarter, the Eagles made their move late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter.

Able to outscore the Hornets 28-16 in the second half, Vienna posted a 39-36 come-from-behind victory to deny Laquey the chance to play for a district title on their home court.

“This was definitely not one of our prettiest games,” Harker said. “Luckily, we were fortunate to come out of here with a victory.”

Trailing 5-2 at the midway point of the first quarter, Vienna rattled off a 7-0 run behind an Alijah Mercer 3-pointer and two Snodgrass buckets for a 9-5 lead with :58 ticks for the opening quarter.

Escaping the first eight minutes with a 9-8 lead, Vienna’s offense went ice cold in the second quarter.

Limited to a Mercer bucket with 1:34 until halftime, the Eagles saw the Hornets close the half on a 7-0 run leaving them trailing 20-11 at halftime.

Foul trouble plagued the Eagles with Lucas Magner, Hubert, VanScoy and Snodgrass all picking up two fouls.

Snodgrass (6) and Mercer (5) combined to account for all 11 of Vienna’s first-half points.

Jason Young and Gauge Fleschute each scored six points to lead Laquey in the first half.

Down 30-16 with 1:31 for the third quarter, a VanScoy bucket and a Kleffner 3-point play pulled the Eagles to within five at 30-21 entering the fourth quarter.

Netting nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, VanScoy helped the Eagles complete a second-half comeback.

Snodgrass led Vienna finishing with a double double of 12 points and 11 rebounds before he fouled out with 1:36 remaining.

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