CLAYTON — Northmont played well for three quarter Friday against visiting Centerville, but went flat in the third quarter to fall behind by 10 points.
The Elks played a controlled game to walk away with 46-38 victory.
The Thunderbolts managed to score only three third quarter points. Not that the Elks lit up the scoreboard, but Centerville had 11 to take a 33-23 lead entering the final eight minutes of play.
Northmont outscored Centerville 15-13 in the final period but the Thunderbolts’ perimeter shooting was horrendous and proved costly. When the Thunderbolts missed from 3-point range the Elks’ big men Jevon Henderson or Mo Njie would either snare the rebound or deflect it to a teammate. When the Bolts took the ball to the hoop the ball would go into the cylinder and then pop out. It was the kind of night.
The Thunderbolts appear to be a team that can play with the best, but on other nights seems to lack focus. Case in point: Northmont fell behind 17-0 to a heavily favored Trotwood team and then stormed back to pull within one point three times in the fourth quarter before losing 76-73 to the Rams last Saturday.
Many consider the Thunderbolts a dangerous team that can hang around long enough, and if they catch a few breaks can pull-off a victory. There seems to be a missing ingredient and that was magnified in the dismal third quarter scoring drought against the Elks.
When it was pointed out that his team appeared flat, Northmont Coach Collin Abels said, “Some of that was us and some of that was Centerville. They are the type of team that makes you work hard on both ends of the floor. Offensively they are extremely patient and they rebound the basketball really well. Defensively, against them you either have to score early quickly in transition or you have to be willing to go long possessions because they are going to be in the gaps and they are going to force you to kick it out and take tough shots at the rim. I felt like we couldn’t make any perimeter shots, going zero for thirteen or fourteen from three point range, so we didn’t make any of those kick out threes. Defensively we just gave up way too many offensive rebounds. In a game that is limited in possessions every time you give up an offensive rebound it takes away one of your offensive possessions.”
Northmont pulled to within three points in the fourth quarter on a basket by Cameron Rucker, but after that things started to fall apart. Centerville missed a pair of free throws and Northmont had a shot of cutting the Elks’ lead to one but got called for traveling. The Thunderbolts committed three consecutive fouls with the Elks converting five of six free throws to open up 42-34 lead.
The Thunderbolts never recovered as Centerville walked away with an eight point victory.
Northmont hosts Alter on Tuesday and then travels to Lebanon on Friday to try to avenge a 14 point loss to the Warriors earlier this season. Saturday the Thunderbolts play a non-conference game at Franklin.
CEN 09 22 33 46 – 46
NMT 10 20 23 38 – 38
Centerville: Matt Pearce 3-3-12, Donnie Skelton 1-4-6, Alec Grandin 4-0-9, Ryan Marchal 1-2-4, Ryan Ballard 1-0-3, Jevon Henderson 3-4-10, Mo Njie 1-0-2. Totals: 14-13-46.
Northmont: Dawson Walker 1-0-2, Jabari Perkins 2-2-6, Donavin Wallace 3-1-7, Cameron Rucker 3-0-6, Jamaal Linson 0-1-1, Ryan Foy 6-2-14, Danny Lewis 0-2-2. Totals: 15-8-38.
3-point goals: Centerville 5 (Pearce 3, Grandin, Ballard); Northmont 0.
Records: Centerville 10-5 (5-2), Northmont 5-9 (1-6).
JV Score: Northmont 39 Centerville 30.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind