By Greg Billing, DDN
CLAYTON — Following a disappointing 81-57 defeat to conference-rival Wayne, Northmont high school boys basketball coach Jim Brown knew his Thunderbolts could play better.
Just down the hallway, coaching counterpart Travis Trice felt the same about his Warriors.
“I don’t think anyone should be surprised by it and it’s not any knock on Northmont,” Trice said of the 24-point difference. “I think we can be that good. I don’t think we’ve lived up to what we could be ... but I think we’re getting better each game.”
Wayne — the No. 1 team in the DDN Division I rankings — scored 17 of the game’s first 21 points and punctuated the win with a pair of fourth-quarter dunks by Travis Trice (22 points) and Markus Crider (19).
No. 3-ranked Northmont needed this one — plus help — for a shot at the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s Central Division crown. Instead, Wayne (10-1, 6-0) stormed to a double-digit lead just four minutes into the game and ran off with its 18th straight Central Division victory.
“I remember last year around this time we played them at our house and they punched us in the mouth first. It’s always important to set the tone,” said Wayne’s Justen Hollins, who finished with 13 points.
The T-Bolts (9-4, 4-2) — led by Devon Carter’s 21 points — trimmed the lead to 17-11 by the end of the first quarter. But the Warriors’ strength inside and Trice’s outside touch quickly restored it to double digits — 28-17 with four minutes left in the first half — and it never dipped below again.
Trice, who turns 18 today, celebrated early with a steal with 6:04 left in the game. He sprinted downcourt and emphatically slammed it down for the 64-31 lead.
“No, that I didn’t teach him,” Coach Trice said, smiling. “One of his coaches said, ‘I’d like to see one dunk tonight.’ He took off on that one.”
Adding to Northmont’s woes was a 6-of-20 effort from the free-throw line.
“There wasn’t any part of our game where I can say we played well,” Brown said. “It was just one of those nights.
“I thought we played very, very nervous. Like one of my assistants said at halftime, ‘One team was playing for a league championship tonight and one team was playing at the Y.’ I know we’re better than that.”
January 21 2011 | 0 comments