BROOKVILLE — Wade Turner buried a trio of 3-pointers in the opening period Monday and finished the first quarter with 15 points to help give Brookville an early 22-19 lead over Northmont in the annual Foundation Game between the two schools.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils the Thunderbolts athleticism and quickness began to take its toll as Northmont opened up a 37-29 halftime lead en route to a 74-47 victory.
“We’ve struggled with some things this preseason and I think there are some reasons for that,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “Like I just told the team, I thought tonight we played our toughest basketball since the season began. I think we are starting to get our legs underneath us a little bit. We had quite a few guys on the football team that made that playoff run, so they started basketball a little late. There were definitely some things that we needed to work on, but I thought tonight in the second half we kind of kicked it into another gear and you could tell that Brookville was tired. We have had success with that in the past and we hope that wear-down factor happens again this year because I think that is part of our M.O. in being successful.”
Dawson Walker buried a 3-pointer for Northmont to open the third quarter and blocked a shot on Brookville’s next possession and blocked another shot a few possessions later.
Donavin Wallace and Cameron Rucker both came up with steals during the third quarter and Rucker buried a trey to help the Thunderbolts open up a 52-39 advantage entering the fourth quarter. Rucker came up with two more steals in the final quarter and Ryan Foy led the Bolts with seven points in the final period including a steal and dunk to cap the Northmont scoring.
After losing a solid group of eight seniors to graduation that helped lead Northmont to a division title last season, a memorable 81-80 overtime win over Wayne and a pair of victories in tournament play, Abels acknowledged those leaders will be hard to replace.
“I can’t say enough about the eight seniors that graduated last year. They are tremendous people and they took this program to the next level and I will forever be grateful and forever indebted to those guys,” Abels stated. “This year we have seven seniors and I think the difference this year is that it is seven guys that people haven’t heard their names yet. They are guys that were either role players last year or played on the junior varsity last year and a couple of guys that we didn’t have last year but decided to come out for the team this year.”
How this group performs will be the acid test for this year’s team.
“That is going to be a big telltale sign of how good we can be, is how quick those seven guys grow up on the floor and in their leadership abilities and things like that,” Abels added. “I will say this; I have seen tremendous strides since day one so if we can continue to do that I think we will be competitive. We’ve got a shot just like anybody else.”
This year’s senior players include 6-foot, 6-inch forward Ryan Foy, 6-foot guard Jabari Perkins, 5-foot, 8-inch guard Donavin Wallace, 5-foot, 11-inch guard Cameron Rucker, 6-foot, 3-inch forward Jamaal Linson, 6-foot, 2-inch forward Kameron Mathis, and 6-foot, 4-inch forward Ryan Foy.
The current lineup also includes junior players Di’Talian Rayford, a 5-foot, 5-inch guard, Corey Gay, a 5-foot, 10-inch guard, Ifeanyi Nwanoro, a 6-foot, 3-inch forward and Danny Lewis, a 6-foot guard.
Northmont opens the 2017-2018 regular season this Friday night at Greenville then returns home to host three opponents: Stebbins on Tuesday, December 5, Lebanon on Friday, December 8 and Springboro on Tuesday, December 12.
NMT 19 37 52 74 – 74
BRK 22 29 39 47 – 47
Northmont: Dawson Walker 8, Donavin Wallace 7, Cameron Rucker 16, Jamaal Linson 12, Di’Talian Rayford 6, Kameron Mathis 6, Ifeanyi Nwanoro 2, Ryan Foy 13, Danny Lewis 4. Totals: 30-9-74.
Brookville: Jaydin Baker 1, Wes Turner 9, A.J. Denlinger 6, Hayden Sharritt 6, Jacob Gudorf 5, Wade Turner 18, Jesse McGriff 2. Totals: 17-7-47.
3-point goals: Northmont 5 (Rucker 2, Walker, Linson, Rayford), Brookville 6 (Wade Turner 4, Sharritt 2).