NEW ULM - How long does it take to make a spark?
In the case of Tyler Dittrich and the New Ulm Eagles boys basketball team, about four seconds.
It was Dittrich's bucket on an alley-oop pass as time expired in the first half that fueled an energetic second half and led the Eagles to their third win of the year, a 68-61 victory over the Sibley East Wolverines.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm's Tanner Ogren (2) takes a shot after getting past Jordan Petzel of Sibley East during the second half Tuesday at NUHS.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
"It felt like in the first half we were sleepwalking," New Ulm coach Steve Foley said. "We tried to get the kids fired up at halftime and we went out and attacked the rim in the second half. The last eight minutes of the game, we played with confidence and found the open guy."
The Eagles stayed awake long enough in the first half to take a 7-0 lead on a 3-pointer from Jackson Yackley and four points from Grant Kannegiesser. But the Wolverines slowly chipped away at the lead until it was tied at 13-13 on a layup by Brody Rodning.
Sibley East maintained the lead for the rest of the half, but the turning point came with the Wolverines up 29-25 with 4 seconds left on the clock. They were given the ball out of bounds, but threw the inbound pass past the basket and out of bounds, giving New Ulm its own chance to score the final points of the half. This time, the ball was caught by Dittrich, who tossed it in for his first two points of the game to make it 29-27 at the break.
While Kannegiesser kept the Eagles in the game in the first half with 14 points and going 8-for-8 from the free throw line, the second eighteen minutes belonged to Dittrich. He scored the first three New Ulm points of the half, with a layup opening a 34-31 Eagles margin after a Kannegiesser jumper gave them the lead.
New Ulm ran the lead to 47-42, only to see Sibley East tie it at 47-47. Consecutive layups by Kannegiesser, plus a steal and hoop by Tanner Ogren opened the spread to 53-47. The Eagles took the largest lead of the game at 62-51 after three straight buckets underneath to Dittrich.
With 2:25 left, Dittrich made it 64-53, with a Wolverine turnover under a minute left ending any possibility of a Sibley East comeback.
Kannegiesser led New Ulm with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Dittrich ended with 19 points and six blocks and Jarin Spence scored 10 and had 11 boards.
The 3-15 Eagles resume play at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night when they host St. James.