Boys’ Basketball: Porter Steals It and Seals It as New London Wins ThrillerWritten by Nathan Bloechl on February 24, 2021
By: Nathan Bloechl — firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo Courtesy: thehawkeye.com)
West Liberty — New London head coach Bryant Porter knows what his son — and the team’s unquestioned leader — can do offensively.
I think most everyone in southeast Iowa can.
But it was what the super sophomore did defensively in the game’s waning moments that helped guide New London to a dramatic 71-68 over No. 8 Springville in last night’s Class 1A District 8 Final at West Liberty High School
With the game hanging in the balance and New London clinging to a 69-68 lead with just over 0:06 to play Porter, who had been locked up with Springville star guard Alex Koppes all night, stole the inbound, took the basketball coast to coast and finished the lay-in.
The steal and seal.
It lifted New London to Saturday’s district final where they will meet Easton Valley (23-0).
“Tonight he made the play. Blaise guards every team’s best player and still scores. That’s a lot to ask of 16-year old” head coach Bryant Porter said postgame.
“I haven’t heard one gripe from him about it, and we’re going to ride him until the end of it.”
Porter finished the night with 25 points and six rebounds, but it was junior forward Devin Swanson who had the hot hand for the Tigers offensively.
Swanson paced all scorers with a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds — including hitting seven threes — giving New London a needed boost behind Porter and fellow sophomore Kade Benjamin.
“I tell Devin, when [he] comes to play we’re a totally different team. For the last six or seven games he’s been completely in. And when he’s locked in he’s just as dangerous as Blaise” Porter explained.
The game tested New London’s resolve again, however, as it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Tigers.
New London held a 12-point lead at the midway point of the fourth quarter but saw the aforementioned Benjamin foul out.
From there, Springville began their rally.
Hitting multiple three-pointers and converting a clutch and-one that brought the game to level terms.
“When that happened we lost a leader” Porter stated. “It showed our resolve though, our bench picked us up and I think Kade played a great game.”
Benjamin ended the night with 14 points, six boards and seven blocks.
New London, now 19-4, will play Saturday night against undefeated Easton Valley.
The Riverhawks knocked off Wapello 50-48 in double overtime.
Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be played at Maquoketa High School.
You can listen on FM 105.5 and online at kilj.com.