NEW HAVEN – Jordan Hogue brought the pizazz. Steve McElvene had the big play. Together, on their home court, they led fourth-ranked New Haven to a 65-49 victory over Concordia in a Class 3A sectional semifinal Friday.
The Bulldogs (19-3), who are playing host for the sectional, will face Bishop Dwenger in the title game tonight. Dwenger (14-8) defeated Leo 62-47 in the other sectional semifinal Friday.
As seniors, we always talk about how we want to get to state. This was the first step, said Hogue, who led the Bulldogs with 21 points and nine rebounds.
McElvene had 15 points, despite playing only 20 minutes because of foul trouble. He was 7 of 7 from the free-throw line and had 15 rebounds, only two fewer than the Cadets, who made it to the state title game last year.
McElvene, the Dayton recruit, turned the game permanently in the Bulldogs’ favor with one of his four blocks.
What had been an 11-point lead for the Bulldogs was whittled down to two when, consecutively, Cadets sophomore Cameron Weikart made a 3-pointer, sophomore Reginald Tharp made a 3-pointer and Tharp drove to the basket, spun and hoisted the ball in to make it 51-48 with 5:20 to play.
Seconds later, a baseline jumper by junior Jorden Kindig was swatted away by McElvene, setting up New Haven senior Lowell Griggs for a basket. The Cadets got only one more point the rest of the night.
Steve is a momentum changer, whether it’s with a big block or a big dunk, Hogue said. He can change the game at any time.
It was a game of oddities. Both teams pressed early. But the Bulldogs held the ball for almost all of the last two minutes of the first half while holding a 29-18 lead, with no resistance from the trailing Cadets.
Then came the 2:50 stretch to end the third, during which Hogue and Concordia senior Desmond McCall made it a game of one-on-one. Hogue outscored McCall 9-4 in that span.
I’ve know DJ for a while; we’ve played together since like third grade, Hogue said. He’s a great player, and he puts his team on his back every night. I decided that as a senior, I wanted to step up. I didn’t want to go home after the first (postseason) game. I just brought it upon myself to bring our team together and win this.
McCall led the Cadets (8-13) with 15 points. Andrew Brown, a junior, had 13.
Concordia had eight defensive rebounds, 16 fewer than New Haven.
And we’re going to have to lean on that rebounding all through the tournament, Bulldogs coach Al Gooden said. That’s our forté, that’s what we do. It’s our DNA and what we have to stick with.