CLAYTON — Northmont scored a 52-40 victory Friday over Lebanon and coupled with Springboro’s 63-52 loss to Miamisburg guaranteed the Thunderbolts the National West division crown.
Northmont shared a division crown in 2001 but it is the first time it has owned sole possession of the crown since 1975.
Point guard Christian Wilson came out of a scoring slump to lead the Thunderbolts with 18 points.
“You know, Christian has been struggling offensively the last couple games. I had a talk with him this week and said, ‘Hey, I don’t care if score a single point. Just keep guarding and making solid decisions.’ It was nice to see him come out and have a good game offensively,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “Anthony Dorsey, who didn’t play at all in the last game, came in tonight and gave us a presence in the middle that we needed. Some teams have identified how they want to play us and we’ve had to adjust what we do a little bit.”
Northmont got off to a notoriously slow start with the Warriors taking an 11-2 lead before Wilson scored back-to-back baskets, the second a 3-pointer, to cut Lebanon’s lead to 11-7 at the end of the first quarter.
“I just didn’t feel like we played with the kind of energy that we needed with it being such an important game,” Abels commented. “I don’t know if we were a little bit nervous with it being such an important game or what.”
Northmont trailed until 2:45 remained in the half but tied it 15-15 on a bucket by Vinson Walker. Wilson scored the last two baskets of the first half to give the Thunderbolts a 21-19 lead at the break.
Lebanon continued to give Northmont a battle. Dakota Allen scored eight third quarter points and nailed a 3-pointer to put the Warriors up 29-26 midway through the period. The momentum began to shift when Jabari Perkins came up with a steal and took it in for a basket to cut the Warriors’ lead to one.
Wilson buried a trey to open the fourth quarter. Arius Spears came up with a steal and dished to Rodney Richardson for a bucket. Perkins scored a jump shot and after Dorsey blocked a shot Perkins buried a 3-pointer to put Northmont up 44-38 and from there Northmont outscored the Warriors 8-2 to post the 52-40 victory.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of our seniors,” Abels added. “I am just as proud as can be of the entire group. I walked in last year at the end of the season and shut the door and said, ‘Guys, this is the first time in four years I am going to say this, but I expect to win a league championship next year.’ We had a great off-season and worked harder than we’ve ever worked in the four years I have coached the team and it is just nice when that pays off for the kids.”
LEB 11 19 35 40 – 40
NMT 07 21 34 52 – 52
Lebanon: Dakota Allen 15, Sammy Stotts 2, Drew Sekerak 6, Zach Huffman 10, Parker Smith 4, Brendon Lamb 3. Totals: 16-6-40.
Northmont: Anthony Dorsey 8, Jabari Perkins 9, Rodney Richardson 4, Christian Wilson 18, Maurice Beavers 2, Vinson Walker 2, Arius Spears 5, Donavin Wallace 1, DaLonte Capers 3. Totals: 22-4-52.
3-point goals: Lebanon 2 (Allen); Northmont 4 (Wilson 2, Perkins, Spears).
Records: Lebanon 4-13 (1-8); Northmont 14-4 (7-2).
JV Score: Northmont 50 Lebanon 38
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind