“DeWitt is a very good team, and they’ll take advantage of any opportunities that you miss,” Cardinals coach Chad Specht said. “We had several opportunities to stop a run, and could not capitalize on it, and credit to the Sabers, they did.
“They did a very good job of not letting us get into any flow and keeping everything away from Trent (Bollman),” Specht said. “Offensively, we have struggled at times, and nobody else steps us; that’s where we’re going to find problems.”
Bollman had a game-high 17 points.
DeWitt also won the free-throw battle — making 24 of 33 while the Cardinals were less frequent visitors at the line, going 6-for-9.
Despite the Sabers winning by 13 in Yourd Gym on Thursday, the two battles between the Cardinals and DeWitt have been electric as a rivalry should be.
DeWitt won both meetings, including winning on a buzzer-beater on Feb. 7.
“We knew it was going to be a battle all night,” Frick said. “This team doesn’t lack confidence; we’ve been tested all season with those close games. Against those guys, you never know.
“We have an extremely tough conference, and this team is always focused,” Frick said.
DeWitt has to go up against another WaMaC foe in order to be one of the eight teams to make it to the state tournament in Des Moines: Benton Community.
“We’re ready to face anyone,” Steffens said. “It doesn’t matter to us; we have to give 110 percent against whoever we play.”
Benton and DeWitt met in the regular season in early December.
The Sabers won that game on Dec. 6 at home 54-52.
“You have to throw that game out,” Frick said. “They’re a completely different team and so are we, but it’ll be an extremely tough.”
While the Sabers are 32 minutes away from the state tournament, Maquoketa (9-14) is forced to reflect on its season now that it’s over.