CASCADE — The Northeast boys basketball team had been at its best in the fourth quarter of its previous two games.
And a big third quarter against Cascade put the Rebels in position to do so again Tuesday night.
Down 25-14 at halftime, Northeast limited the Cougars to just seven points in the third quarter to cut the margin to five heading to the final stanza.
The Rebels faced similar fourth-quarter deficits in contests against Bellevue and Central DeWitt just days earlier. They rallied by the former foe in the final stanza and forced overtime against the latter.
This time, however, Northeast was unable to reel in its foe.
Cascade scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to push its lead back to 11 and answered every Rebels point to bring home a 49-36 victory.
Northeast answered two early Cascade three-pointers with separate hoops by Grant Rickertsen and Judd Swanton, but those also proved to be the Rebels’ only buckets of the opening quarter.
The hosts took advantage, scoring the final nine points of the stanza to take a 15-4 lead into the second quarter.
The Rebels cut the lead down to eight twice over the next eight minutes — the first time on a Carter Pataska three-point play, the second on a Swanton hoop — but trailed by 11 heading into the break.
After two early Cascade buckets, Northeast began to turn the tide in the third quarter.
Swanton kicked off an 11-3 run with another hoop inside, while Rickertsen tacked on a free throw.
The Cougars answered back with a three, but Dakota Stevenson put in his own hoop.
Cade Hughes followed with a baseline drive for two and Swanton struck again before Dawson Rickords made it 32-27 with his hoop.
The break between quarters, however, gave Cascade a chance to regroup and the hosts seized back the momentum by scoring six straight points to start the fourth.
Stevenson ended the push with a hoop, but the Cougars scored again.
That proved to be the case throughout the fourth quarter as the Cougars did not allow Northeast to string together baskets.
The Rebels got back within eight on a three-pointer by Hughes, but were limited to free throws the rest of the way, allowing Cascade to finish the win.
Swanton led Northeast’s balanced scoring effort with 10 points, while Hughes had nine, Rickertsen seven and Stevenson five.
Both Stevenson and Hughes grabbed five rebounds with the former also dishing out a team-high three assists. Trey McAleer, meanwhile, came up with two steals.