MIAMISBURG — Northmont hit only two of 12 free throws in a season opening double overtime loss to New Albany on Friday at Wilmington College and the Thunderbolts woes at the foul line continued Tuesday at Miamisburg.
Northmont converted only 12 of 29 from the charity stripe against the Vikings and as a result barely escaped with an 81-79 victory to improve to 1-1 overall.
Coach Collin Abels feels his team’s woes are mainly due to several players still transitioning from playing football.
“We are now 14 of 41 at the line in two games. I feel if we make our free throws in game one we win instead of losing in double overtime, and if we make free throws tonight it’s not even a close ball game,” Abels said.
Jarell Taylor led the Thunderbolts with 24 points, scoring inside as well as hitting a pair of shots from 3-point range in the third quarter when he accounted for 14 of Northmont’s 23 points.
“Taylor had a real nice game tonight,” Abels said. “He is a kid that is very versatile. All we’ve ever asked him to do is to be willing to go down and do some dirty work in the paint and we will give him some opportunities to take advantages of some mismatches on the perimeter. He has definitely got that skill, so that’s a nice luxury to have as coach. The biggest thing with him is when he plays hard he is really effective and he has been playing hard.”
Arius Spears also had a big game with 16 points hitting pair of 3-pointers and Jason Biggs finished with 15 including one trey. Spears hit the first 3-pointer of the night to put Northmont up 3-0. Biggs also hit a 3-pointer in the opening quarter and had back-to-back steals, one in the back court that he put in for a basket.
Abels has a handful of players that can score from three point range, some of which shot 40 to 45 percent from beyond the arc in summer ball.
“I know it’s a little bit different now, but we are still trying to get our basketball legs underneath of us and I think we will shoot it better,” Abels added. “We’ve got a handful of guys that can step out there and make shots on the perimeter, but the way we are going to play is up and down the court. I think the kids like playing that way and I think it suits there speed and ability. The nice thing is we dress 12 guys and we don’t feel like there is a ton of separation between number one and number twelve. That allows you to have the ability to play uptempo like that because we feel our bench is going to be as good as most teams that we play.”
The Thunderbolts quickness and speed enabled them to come up with nine steals (unofficial count) in the game.
The first quarter ended in a 20-20 deadlock but Northmont’s speed enabled the Thunderbolts to take a 39-33 lead at the half. Northmont held 62-56 advantage heading into the fourth quarter but Miamisburg knocked down nine 3-pointers to help the Vikings keep the game close. Kort Justice accounted for five of the Vikings’ nine treys and finished at the team’s leading scorer with 20 points. Tyler Sidenstick had 15 points, Tyrell Waters had 13 and Max Dungan 11.
With just under three minutes to play senior forward Max Dungan tried to inspire his team by going for a slam dunk, but the ball bounced out of the cylinder. Biggs grabbed the loose ball and was fouled by Duncan Hall. Biggs hit one of two free throws to boost Northmont’s lead to 76-69 but Dungan answered by dunking the ball on a put-back to fire up the crowd as the Vikings cut the Thunderbolts’ lead to five.
Perhaps the pressure caused by that dunk got to the Thunderbolts who turned the ball over on their next possession. Dungan responded with another score to reduce Northmont’s lead to 76-73 with 2:04 remaining. Northmont converted three of six free throws in the final two minutes and played tough defense to escape with the two point win, 81-79.
NMT 20 39 62 81 – 81
MBG 20 33 56 79 – 79
Northmont: Jarell Taylor 24, Myles Tanner 6, Jabari Perkins 4, Christian Wilson 8, Rodney Richardson 6, Arius Spears 16, Ryan Foy 2, Jason Biggs 15. Totals: 32-12-81.
Miamisburg: Kort Justice 20, Kyle Fox 5, Tyler Johnson 4, Max Dungan 11, Tyler Sidenstick 15, Tyrell Waters 13, Ryan Zech 6, Duncan Hall 5. Totals: 28-14-79.
3-pointers: Northmont 5 (Taylor 2, Spears 2, Biggs); Miamisburg 9 (Justice 5, Sidenstick 2, Fox, Dungan).
Records: Northmont 1-1, Miamisburg 1-1.
JV Score: Northmont 84 Miamisburg 52.
Jarell Taylor scores a layup as Kort Justice looks on.
Arius Spears scores inside as Tyler Sidenstick tries to block the shot.
Jason Biggs scores as Tyler Johnson tries to draw a charging foul.
Christian Wilson scores a layup as Tyler Johnson, Tyler Sidenstick (25) and Ryan Zech (33) look on.
Rodney Richardson dribbles down the sideline and looks for an opening as Max Dungan defends.
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind