Mohawks hold off Eagles


Northwest senior Tanner Bolin shoots and scores over Eastern’s Wyatt Richardson (20) during last Tuesday night’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II boys basketball game at Eastern High School.

Courtesy of Julie Billings | Pike County News-Watchman

BEAVER — Simply put, when Northwest senior standout Connor Lintz went down, the remainder of the Mohawks stepped up — and in a critical spot.

Especially six-foot and three-inch senior Tanner Bolin.

In the end, Bolin bagged a career-high 30 points on nine total field goals and 9-of-10 free throws — and visiting Northwest fended off a hard charge from the Eastern Eagles last Tuesday night, winning 66-57 in a key Southern Ohio Conference Division II tilt inside the Eagles’ Nest.

Both teams entered the contest at 2-0 in early league play, as the Mohawks raised their record to 11-2 —their only setbacks against quality Division IV South Webster, and at Division II team Waverly.

But Eastern is always such a challenging cliffhanger for ANY visiting team —given the Eagles’ rich boys basketball tradition of a small school in Pike County.

Northwest is the largest school in the first-year SOC II —since the SOC expanded to three divisions for basketball.

With two-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter, the 6-2 scoring machine Lintz landed awkwardly and injured his ankle — and didn’t return to the game.

The Mohawks held a 41-34 lead at the time, although Eastern indeed hung around —remaining within five to eight points until the end of the third, and engineering nine unanswered points to get as close as 53-49 with four minutes to play.

A Tucker Leist old-fashioned three-point play made it that four-point margin —and made Mohawk fans nervous.

But Northwest never flinched, despite playing some faces unfamiliar with varsity action —and in a crucial stretch.

Ethan Crabtree, a sparingly-used sophomore, canned a corner-pocket three-pointer at the 3:50 mark.

Fellow sophomore Logan Wolfenbarker, the 6-4 starting center, then scored the first of his two fourth-quarter field goals a minute later —and the lead was back to nine (58-49).

The Eagles twice got to within seven points from there (58-51 and 60-53), but the Mohawks made good at the free-throw line in the final 49 seconds —meshing 6-of-8 en route to the nine-point win.

Northwest coach Rick Scarberry said his club didn’t bend —let alone break —when Lintz went down, with what was believed to be a sprained ankle.

Lintz, a 1,000-point scorer in his career and a first-team all-Southeast District Division III selection (from the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association) last season, leads the Mohawks in scoring —and can do so much more in terms of rebounding, defending and passing.

Northwest senior Connor Lintz (1) splits the defense of Eastern’s T.J. Richards (11) and Wyatt Richardson (20) during last Tuesday night’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II boys basketball game at Eastern High School.

Courtesy of Julie Billings | Pike County News-Watchman

“We had a lot of mismatches on the defensive end, so we had to play some games down there, and they took advantage of some matchups which they should’ve. But I thought our kids really sucked it up after Connor (Lintz) went out and made some really big plays,” said Scarberry. “A lot of times when you lose your top scorer and leader on the floor which Connor is, kids will say it’s over and just fold. But I thought we picked it up and shared the ball.”

And, made free throws — AND three-point goals.

At the foul line, Northwest was 18-of-24 —including 9-of-10 by Bolin, a perfect 6-of-6 which he meshed in the final quarter.

Lintz went 5-of-5 in the first half — and fellow senior Jay Jenkins was 4-of-6 in the last canto.

Bolin bucketed three threes — his final a splash off the wing with 6:42 remaining, which gave the Mohawks their largest lead at 53-40.

His other two were in the first half, as Jenkins drained his three trifectas in a five-minute first-half stretch — which gave the Mohawks the lead (16-14) at the 6:16 mark of the second stanza.

The Eagles never got closer than three points four times (23-20, 26-23, 35-32 and 37-34) the remainder of the way.

And Bolin was a big reason why.

His six two-point goals all occurred over the opening three quarters — through the first four minutes and 20 seconds of the third to be exact.

In the final nine-and-half minutes, he was 8-of-8 at the charity stripe — as that aforementioned triple was his final field goal.

Both coaches concurred about Bolin being a major differencemaker.

“Tanner Bolin played like a senior should and like a man should tonight. He was big for us. I thought he rebounded the ball well, and just his presence of getting guys where they needed to be,” said Scarberry. “We had some guys out there tonight that hadn’t played.”

“We knew they were a very physical team, because we’ve seen them on film and we’ve played them the last few years (in former SOC II). That’s the way Coach (Rick) Scarberry’s teams always play. They played really hard tonight and were very physical. They won the physicality battle, and that’s a big reason why they won the game. I thought our kids played very hard as well, but (Tanner) Bolin just really hurt us. He shot the ball really well early on when we were in zone,” said Eastern coach Ethan Leist. “That three-headed monster they have with (Connor) Lintz and (Jay) Jenkins makes them tough to guard. Bolin is a very formidable player, played a heckuva game tonight and scored at all three levels.”

Jenkins finished with 15, Lintz landed nine with two field goals, and Wolfenbarker with three deuces and Crabtree with two treys scored six apiece.

Northwest senior Jay Jenkins (10) hurries the ball upcourt during the Mohawks’ Southern Ohio Conference Division II boys basketball game at Eastern.

Courtesy of Julie Billings | Pike County News-Watchman

With a minute to play in the third, Crabtree checked in just a few tics off the clock earlier —and promptly pumped in his first corner-pocket three-ball.

“Their role players won the game for them tonight. Bolin had a good game, but the other guys stepping up and hitting shots was what really won them the game,” said Leist. “They just kept the game out of reach. Every time we would fight and make a run, they hit that dagger shot. It just makes it tough.”

Scarberry praised his bench performers, which helped fill in without Lintz —and with both Bolin and senior Caleb Lewis fighting through foul trouble.

“It was an up and down game and a very physical game. We don’t care to play that way, but we’re kind of short on bodies. We had to dig deeper into that bench than what we wanted to,” said the coach. “Jake (Brown) and Payton (Bell) and Ethan Crabtree with two huge threes came off the bench and really helped us out. They started trapping that whole third quarter, but I thought we did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball and finding the open guys and attacking it.”

Eastern senior Jace White, with seven total field goals and 8-of-9 free throws, poured in a team-high 23 points for the Eagles —all through the opening three frames.

Aiden Werner dropped in a dozen on six baskets, Tucker Leist added 11 on four buckets and 3-of-3 freebies, and Teagan Werner scored seven (two field goals and 3-of-3 free throws).

Wyatt Richardson with a second-quarter field goal, and T.J. Richards with a fourth-quarter field goal, rounded out the Eagles’ scoring.

There were three first-quarter ties (2-2, 7-7 and 11-11), as Eastern’s largest lead stood at 7-2.

But Bolin, Jenkins and Lintz all warmed up from the first-half field —and all three were instrumental at the line.

Combined with the Mohawks’ role players’ play, it made for a nice Northwest win —to remain atop the SOC II.

I feel like the effort was there, and the good news about it is that’s the team we have to beat in our league,” said Coach Leist. “I thought for a lot of the game tonight we competed right with them.”

Indeed, the Eagles never backed down —but the Mohawks held on for the key league win.

“Back when I was in school, it wasn’t a matter of winning here at Eastern. It was a matter of how bad they were going to kick your butt. They still have kids who can shoot, they know situational basketball, they know how to play. It’s important, and we’re trying to build that culture at our place” said Scarberry. “We have good senior group we’re trying to do that with.”

Bolin sets school record

LATHAM —Bolin backed up his career-high 30-point output at Eastern — with an even better, and even historic, performance last Friday night at Western.

That’s because Bolin set a new Northwest school record for most points in a single game —amassing a whopping 50 in the Mohawks’ 60-48 SOC II triumph.

Bolin buried six three-pointers in the 12-point win, and converted 14-of-16 free throws.

The remainder of his 50 points came from inside the three-point arc, and outside the foul-shot line.

* * *

Northwest 11 22 13 20 —66

Eastern 14 11 15 17 —57

NORTHWEST 66 (11-2, 3-0 SOC II)

Connor Lintz 2 5-5 9, Caleb Lewis 0 0-2 0, Ethan Crabtree 2 0-0 6, Jay Jenkins 4 4-6 15, Jake Brown 0 0-0 0, Tanner Bolin 9 9-10 30, Payton Bell 0 0-0 0, Logan Wolfenbarker 3 0-1 6; TOTALS 20 18-24 66; Three-point goals: 8 (Jay Jenkins and Tanner Bolin 3 apiece, Ethan Crabtree 2)

EASTERN 57 (6-7, 2-1 SOC II)

Tucker Leist 4 3-3 11, Teagan Werner 2 3-3 7, T.J. Richards 1 0-2 2, Jace White 7 8-9 23, Aiden Werner 6 0-0 12, Wyatt Richardson 1 0-0 2, Boston Webb 0 0-0 0, Dalton Southworth 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 21 14-17 57; Three-point goals: 1 (Jace White 1)

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on X @paulboggssports © 2024 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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