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Newark upsets Coal City to claim 10th victory

PLANO – Coal City’s Nick Peters reached 1,000 career points Monday. At the pace he showed, Newark’s Jack Clausel could get there before his career ends, with time to spare.

Clausel scored 24 points to lead all scorers as 13th-seeded Newark upended third-seeded Coal City 56-55 in the seventh-place game at the 51st annual Plano Christmas Classic.

The Norsemen head into the new year 10-5 overall after a 3-2 tournament.

“We had two really bad ones, so it felt really good to come out and play good again,” Clausel said. “They sounded tough coming into the tournament, and we just wanted to give our best shot at them, really.”

Leading 55-53, Newark got its final point when Will Clausel made the second of two free throws with 35 seconds to play. Brennen Shetina answered with a driving basket on the other end, and when the Coalers forced a Newark turnover less than four seconds later, they had the ball with 23 seconds to set up a shot.

Fifteen of those seconds passed until the ball got knocked out of bounds with the Coalers retaining possession. Upon the restart, Shetina took a shot, missed, got his own rebound and missed again before time expired.

“It was good to hold on,” Newark coach Rick Tollefson said. “I wrote on the board 9-6 and 10-5 before the game, and I said, ‘Which one looks better?’ Having 10 wins this time of the season, having beat Chicagoland Jewish there, to get this far in this tournament, to beat Aurora Christian one time ... if you’d have told me we’d be 10-5 at this point, I’d be very happy.”

The second-leading Newark scorer was Noah Nichols, whose 12 points all came on four first-half 3-pointers. They were instrumental in Newark taking a 30-23 lead by halftime.

Peters and Shetina shared the team lead in points for Coal City with 16. The Coalers went 1-3 in the tournament, suffering their first three losses of the season.

“[Newark’s play was] kinda what I expected,” Coal City coach Brad Boresi said. “I’m just more surprised at our terrible play the last three games of the tournament. I figured coming in, being a higher-ranked seed, playing halfway decent that my guys would want to continue having some success.”

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