MIAMISBURG — After a notorious slow start Friday night that saw both teams put up errant shots and commit turnovers Miamisburg eventually went on a 9-0 run to take an 11-4 lead over Northmont.
The Thunderbolts fought back to trail 15-10 by the end of the first quarter, but the Vikings outscored Northmont 16-7 in the second quarter to seize a 31-17 lead at halftime en route to a 70—58 victory. Coupled with Springboro’s 67 – 60 victory over Lebanon the Vikings’ victory gave them sole possession of the GWOC National West crown for the second straight year with a 6-5 conference mark and a record of 16-6 overall. Lebanon fell to 5-6 and 10-12, Springboro improved to 3-8 and 10-12 while Northmont remained in last place at 1-10 and 6-15.
Sadly, this is a Northmont team that has tons of potential. The Thunderbolts repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot in crucial situations to take themselves out of games. They fail to anticipate the trajectory of rebounds and remain planted in one spot under the hoop, commit untimely player control fouls, turn the ball over by making ill-advised passes, or fail to finish shots inside that should be easy scores.
The Thunderbolts could do a lot of damage in tournament play if they pull together as a team, play smart and make a commitment to play hard every minute of every remaining game. Senior guard Danny Lewis has been carrying the team all season. He is the GWOC’s ninth leading scorer with 340 points averaging 17 per game shooting 46.3 percent from the field, but he has gotten very little support from his teammates.
“We need one or two other guys to step up to give us an opportunity to win,” said Northmont coach Shane Kincer. “Here we are in game 21 and Danny has carried us on his back all year. We’ve got to get somebody to step up. I just told the kids in the locker room, ‘You’ve got one more night to send the seniors out the right way and then we get a week off to practice and prepare for the tournament where we will more than likely face Centerville.’ Hopefully one those seniors or underclassmen will take the challenge of helping Danny Lewis to get to play a couple extra basketball games, because I am going to be a really sad guy when I see him graduate. He is our workhorse.”
Kincer credited Lewis for being a great ball handler who would be difficult to replace.
“He is very good with the basketball in his hand and it is hard to move him away from the ball,” Kincer noted. “He averages six to seven foul shots a game that he makes. He is just so tough with the ball. If I can get three or four more guys to be that tough with the ball then we would have it going on.”
Lewis led Northmont with 13 points, but 11 of those points came in the first half. Obviously fatigued and with Miamisburg adjusting its defense to contain him it was left up to other players to make their mark. Senior Corey Gay scored nine fourth quarter points to finish with 12. Senior Ifeanyi Nwanoro scored 10 points, all in the second half and sophomore Patrick Ivory had eight second half points to also finish with 10.
Miamisburg bombed the lights out by scoring seven shots from 3-point range. Drew Barry led the Viking with four treys, Brett Hensley had two and Corey Hartman had one. Barry paced the Vikings attack with 19 points, Hartman had 17, Hensley 15 and Alex Ball tossed in 10.
Trailing by 20 entering the fourth quarter Northmont fought back with Gay scoring nine in the final period and Ivory six to reduce the loss to a 12 point margin.
Northmont closes out the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 16 at home vs. Franklin. The Thunderbolts open tournament play Tuesday, Feb. 26 vs. Centerville at a site to be determined.
NMT 10 17 35 58 – 58
MBG 15 31 55 70 – 70
Northmont: Danny Lewis 4-4-13, Di’talian Rayford 2-0-5, Patrick Ivory 3-4-10, Isaiah Baldwin 3-0-6, Jordan Smith 1-0-2, Ifeanyi Nwanoro 4-2-10, Corey Gay 3-5-12. Totals: 20-15-58.
Miamisburg: Corey Hartman 4-8-17, Luke Copsey 0-1-1, Drew Barry 7-1-19, Alex Ball 3-4-10, Colin Murphy 2-0-4, Brett Hensley 5-5-15, Anthony Coppock 1-2-4. Totals: 22-19-70.
3-point goals: Northmont 3 (Lewis, Rayford, Gay); Miamisburg 7 (Barry 4, Hensley 2, Hartman).
Records: Northmont 6-15 (1-10), Miamisburg 16-6 (6-5).
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind