CLAYTON – After coming out on the attack in a season opening win at Greenville the Northmont boys basketball team got off to a lethargic start for the second game in a row.
Tuesday night against Stebbins the Thunderbolts managed to pull out a 71-69 victory on a last second shot. Friday night against Lebanon the Bolts trailed by six at the end of the first quarter and at the half. By the end of the third quarter the Warriors opened a 15 point lead and Northmont never recovered with Lebanon posting a 60-46 victory.
Northmont had no answer for Lebanon’s 6-foot, 5-inch forward Harrison Hookfin who scored a game-high 25 points. Guard Drew Sekerak had 18 and Zach Huffman, another 6-foot, 5-inch forward, had 13 to pace the Warriors’ attack.
Donavin Wallace led the Thunderbolts with 14, nine of which came in the first half. Jabari Perkins had 10 points in the fourth quarter and was the only other T-Bolt to score in double figures.
Hookfin scored on too many second chance baskets and Sekerak handled the ball well. Lebanon frustrated the Thunderbolts with a slow, deliberate attack that featured multiple passes per possession. The Thunderbolts prefer to play an up-tempo game, but Northmont never got its offense in top gear.
“Obviously the pace and tempo that we want to play is quite different than the pace and tempo that Lebanon likes to play, and I thought early on they were able to establish their tempo and play the game at their pace,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “I give them credit because they have a lot of experienced guys that understand how they want to play and what they need to do to play that way. We are relatively inexperienced when it comes to that, but I think that is something we can look at and draw upon and try to get better at. The first game we kind of took it to Greenville early. The last two games we’ve had to wait to kick it in gear and when you are playing the type of competition we are playing and the players that we are playing, if you wait to kick it in it won’t work out. We just lucky on Tuesday and hit a shot at the end, but tonight we just dug ourselves too big of a hole and couldn’t get back out of it.”
The Warriors led by as many as 18 in the fourth quarter before the Thunderbolts offense finally got its offense the jolt it needed on a 3-pointer by Cameron Rucker. Rucker followed that with another bucket and Hookfin got called for a player control foul to negate a Lebanon basket inside the paint. Jabari Perkins scored and drew a foul from Sekerak and tacked on the free throw to cut the Warriors’ lead to 51-41 with 2:33 remaining.
Perkins buried a trey to pull Northmont to within nine, 53-44, with 1:32 left but from there the Thunderbolts were forced to foul to prevent Lebanon from taking time off the clock. The Warriors converted seven of eight from the charity stripe in the final minute to post a 14 point victory.
“In the second half there were stretches where we played more like we wanted to play and were able to create some runs and create some scoring opportunities, but when you are down by 14 points that is a tough hill to climb,” Abels added.
With the loss Northmont falls to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play while Lebanon improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
Northmont hosts Springboro on Tuesday, plays at Miamisburg on Friday and at Belmont on Saturday and then travels to Kettering on Tuesday, Dec. 19 to face Fairmont at Trent Arena. All four games start at 7:30 p.m.
LEB 14 23 42 60 – 60
NMT 08 17 27 46 – 46
Lebanon: Harrison Hookfin 25, Drew Sekerak 18, Zach Huffman 13, Brendan Lamb 4. Totals: 23-12-60.
Northmont: Dawson Walker 6, Jabari Perkins 10, Donavin Wallace 14, Cameron Rucker 8, Ryan Foy 4, Danny Lewis 4. Totals: 20-3-46.
3-point goals: Lebanon 2 (Sekerak, Huffman); Northmont 3 (Perkins, Wallace, Rucker).
Records: Lebanon 2-0 (1-0), Northmont 2-1 (0-1).
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@AimMediaMidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind