CLAYTON — Northmont played a very competitive game Friday against visiting Centerville but came up short, 53-44.
Patrick Ivory and Trent Freeman both scored nine fourth quarter points and both finished with 14 points to lead the Thunderbolts as co-scoring leaders.
“Freeman played well. He played like he did in game one (12 points vs. Springboro),” said Northmont coach Shane Kincer. “We’ve been waiting for that for a long while now, but he finally decided that he was ready to compete again, and I hope he can repeat that performance tomorrow night against Butler.”
Centerville improved to 9-8 overall and 7-1 in conference play, but the Elks record is not what it appears to be. They have played some tough teams like Trinity Catholic (Kentucky), Pickerington North, Mater Academy, Bullit East (Kentucky), Palmetto (Florida), Cincinnati Moeller and Compass Prep (Arizona).
“Centerville is a very good basketball team,” Kincer stated. “Don’t let their 9-8 record deceive you. They have played some unbelievable teams and lost three games in an out of state tournament in Florida. They played a prep school from Arizona just the other night at Flyin’ to the Hoop.”
The Elks led by six after the first eight minutes and 21-14 at halftime. Tom House buried a trey at the buzzer at the end of the third quarter to give Centerville a 39-22 cushion, but the Thunderbolts fought back to outscore the Elks 22-14 in the final quarter.
“I challenged the kids the last couple days after our loss at Sidney (70-56). I told them to just go out and play as hard as they could and compete and I thought they bought into that tonight,” Kincer stated. “I told them after the game that I was happy with the way they played and that if they can repeat that performance tomorrow I feel very confident that we can get a win against Butler.”
Centerville’s 6-foot-8 sophomore Kebba Njie led the Elks with 15 points and Jayson Hayes had 12.
Northmont fell to 1-6 in conference play and 1-14 overall but hopes to pick up its second victory Saturday when Butler comes to town.
“It’s never fun to lose, but if you lose that way I can handle it rather than some of the ways we’ve lost some games earlier this year,” Kincer added.
The Elks hauled in 12 offensive and 24 defensive rebounds. Northmont had 18 offensive and 16 defensive rebounds.
CEN 12 21 39 53 – 53
NMT 06 14 22 44 – 44
Centerville: Gabe Cupps 1-3-5, Drew Thompson 1-1-3, Andre Zimmerman 2-1-5, Kebba Njie 6-3-15, Tom House 2-0-5, Rich Rolf 3-1-7, Jayson Hayes 4-3-12. Totals: 19-13-53.
Northmont: Markus Allen 1-2-4, Patrick Ivory 6-1-14, Andrew White 1-0-2, Jordan Smith 1-2-4, Trent Freeman 5-4-14, Stephen Kellum 1-0-2, Max Scott III 2-0-4. Totals: 17-9-44.
Three-point field goals: Centerville 2 (Hayes, House); Northmont 1 (Ivory).
Records: Centerville 9-8 (7-1), Northmont 1-14 (1-6).
JV Score: Centerville 53 Northmont 45
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124,via email at Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @RonNunnari