Northmor boys top MG


Northmor got out to a fast start offensively against host Mount Gilead Tuesday night and led the entire way in claiming a 73-43 KMAC boys’ basketball win.

Five points by Drew Hammond and two from Hunter Fulk staked the Golden Knights to an early 7-0 lead. The Indians would rally to within a 9-6 margin thanks to five Mitchell Sayers points, but the Golden Knights would get eight straight points — three each from Hammond and Grant Bentley to open up a double-digit lead.

Northmor coach Blade Tackett said the team’s strong start could be largely attributed to Hammond’s efforts.

“I think a lot of that was just Drew Hammond establishing his presence early,” he said. “For the last two games, we’ve gotten that out of him. We just have been constantly telling him, ‘You have great size, you have great length, you have great athleticism and on top of that, you are a pretty darn good basketball player.’ So when he stays out of foul trouble and he’s talking on defense and he’s active on his feet, the guy can impact the game in a big way and I think a lot of times this year, he’s going to be our X factor.”

The Indians got a three-pointer by Jacob Wilt, as well as baskets by Sayers and Cameron Vickers to narrow the Northmor lead to a 21-13 score after eight minutes had expired. Sayers then opened the second quarter with back-to-back hoops to make it a four-point game. However, they would be unable to get over the hump. Trevor Brubaker recorded six points to spark an 8-4 run that gave Northmor a 29-21 advantage and then the team added seven more points in a row to go in front by 15.

“Mitch had a great first half right there to establish himself,” said Mount Gilead coach Nathan Davis. “We missed a couple inside shots here and there and we just could never catch up. Hats off to Northmor; they played one heck of a game tonight. Their players showed out. They hit shots when they needed to hit shots.”

Tackett noted that his Northmor teams had been burnt by Mount Gilead’s guards in the past and their focus on preventing that allowed Sayers to record 13 of his team-high 15 points in the first half.

“We’ve had a lot of kids like Matt (Bland) last year and (Elijah) Chafin two years ago — there’s always someone who tends to go off who’s a guard,” he said. “So we made it a point to defend their guards and credit to Mitchell. The kid is strong and physical and on top of that, that kid’s got pretty good basketball skills. We didn’t realize he was going to impact the game that way, so we had to change up the way we guarded him at halftime and the kids made a good adjustment.”

Northmor would take a 39-23 lead into the half. Davis noted that his team struggled to keep Northmor off the scoreboard because they had issues keeping them off the offensive glass.

“What hurt most was the offensive rebounds,” he said. ‘We have to make sure we find a body and get a rebound in that situation, but they had a lot of second chance points tonight, especially in that first half.”

Bentley would score Northmor’s first eight points of the second half, as they increased their lead to 20 at 47-27. The Indians did get four points by Rowan Fitzpatrick and another three from Wilt, as they closed within a 53-38 score, but the Golden Knights finished the third quarter on an 11-3 run and then scored the first nine points of the fourth to assure themselves of the league win.

Bentley led Northmor with 21 points, while Hammond scored 20. Both A.J. Bower and Brubaker added 10. Sayers led MG with 15.

After the game, Davis noted his team will need to have a short memory because they’ll be back at it in KMAC play on Friday.

“We’ve got to have a short memory,” he said. “We have a big game coming up against Centerburg on Friday night. It’s going to be another tough match-up, but we have to come back ready to focus, get better and continue on with our season like we want it to be.”

Tackett noted that collecting a road win in the KMAC is something to be proud of, saying that wins in the league can be tough to come by.

“It’s hard to win in this conference,” he said. “There’s very good teams. Every single night that’s a KMAC night is going to be a battle because all these kids know each other, they’re all competitive and they’re all going to get after each other and nothing’s going to be easy. That’s why I love our conference, because of the kind of competitiveness that we have.”

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS

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