NEW BOSTON — Instead of dwelling on the prior night’s results, the New Boston Tigers knew they’d be in for a test come Wednesday night.
Coach Matt Mader’s young but eager Notre Dame Titans entered Homer Pellegrinon Gymnasium winners of three straight, while the Tigers themselves had just dropped their first game of the season in eight tries.
Behind a performance in which they scored at least 20 points in three of the game’s four periods, and held the visiting Titans to less than 20 in each stanza, New Boston indeed bounced back by a 75-49 count — extending its Southern Ohio Conference Division I winning streak to 20 games dating back to Feb. 15, 2019.
Tigers coach Adam Cox said following the win that his team’s focus was on simply bouncing back and taking care of business at home.
“Our message coming into tonight was that good teams always re-charge, always bounce back. If we learned anything from last night, it’s that we didn’t move the ball with any type of effort — our effort was poor,” Cox said. “I thought they came out tonight and showed that they didn’t want to lose in the league, didn’t want to lose at home.”
Notre Dame cut New Boston’s early lead to four points after the first quarter at 23-19, after a Notre Dame junior Jonathan Strickland made-three — his third of the quarter to give him a 13-point first.
After the first, though, Strickland was held to five points in the final three periods to finish with a team-high 18.
The second quarter was when the Tigers did their most damage, outscoring their guests 21-6 to take a 44-25 halftime lead.
Titans coach Matt Mader said after the game that he felt second-chance opportunities, and NB’s half-court defense, were the reasons why the Tigers pulled away in that decisive second quarter.
“I thought we handled their pressure better than we have in the past, got them out of the pressure in the first quarter. Their half-court defense was excellent tonight and we just gave up too many second and third-chance opportunities,” Mader said. “You can’t do that with a good basketball team, give them two or three chances at the rim. They hit eight threes, six of them in the first half. That second quarter we started off alright, but get outscored 21-6 and it kind of set the tone for the rest of the game.”
By the end of the contest, New Boston had outrebounded Notre Dame 29-26 — and had forced 18 Titan turnovers to just eight of their own, unofficially.
Notre Dame had an opportunity to cut the Tigers’ lead to single digits after trimming it to 13 halfway through the third — with senior Southeast District Division IV Player of the Year Kyle Sexton on the bench with four fouls.
With Sexton on the bench, however, New Boston’s rotation stepped up and ultimately tied Notre Dame 11-all in the third period — keeping the Tigers’ lead at 19 points entering the fourth.
“Grady Jackson hit a three to get it back to 16, De’Von (Jones) carried us in that third quarter,” Cox said. “With Kyle on the bench we held them even (11-11) in the third, which we told the kids was great. Played great ‘D’, didn’t get inside our lead, and we missed six shots that were good ones.”
“We talked about at halftime that we wanted to get it to 10 or under at the end of the third. We got it 13 at one point and felt good about that,” Mader said. “Then gave up an offensive rebound and a three to make it 16, and so forth. Giving up those second and third chances really hurt us.”
Despite him only scoring two points, Cox was pleased with the effort and energy of senior big man Chase Clark, who grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and helped force several of ND’s 18 turnovers.
“In a half court man-to-man defense if you force 18 turnovers, that’s pretty good,” Cox said. “Happy with the play of Chase Clark — grabbed 14 rebounds mostly on the defensive end, kept some plays alive for us. Only two points, but he played with an energy I hadn’t seem from him in two years.”
Tigers senior De’Von Jones scored a career-best 21 points to lead all scorers, just ahead of fellow seniors Sexton and Tanner Voiers, who had 17 apiece.
Grady Jackson also managed double figures with 11 points on five made field goals, including one of New Boston’s eight made threes in the win.
While it’s not entirely the result Notre Dame was hoping for, Mader believes it’s a step in the right direction for his young team with plenty of room to grow.
“New Boston’s a good team, they have been for awhile and that’s where we want to be,” Mader said. “Played with them for a little bit. It’s early in the season and we hope to get better and better. We’ve got them again down the road at our place, hopefully we’ve ironed out some things by then. The kids will respond well.”
Notre Dame is back in action on Tuesday (Jan. 5) night against Green — and at home for the first time since its season opener back on Nov. 28.
As for the Tigers, their next scheduled game is set for Tuesday night when they will welcome Western to Homer Pellegrinon Gymnasium — in hopes of extending their SOC I winning streak to an impressive 21 games.
“Hoping that we can get into 2021 and we can get through the season, and that everybody stays safe,” Cox said. “We’ve been lucky — our kids are really practicing the social distancing and want the season. All these things that go into having this season, pretty special that we’re able to play.”
* * *
Notre Dame 19 6 11 13 — 49
New Boston 23 21 11 20 — 75
NOTRE DAME 49 (3-2, 1-1 SOC I)
Carter Campbell 2 2-3 6, Jermaine Powell 3 0-0 6, Caleb Nichols 2 0-0 5, Wyatt Webb 0 0-0 0, Dominc Sparks 3 0-0 6, Gary Zheng 0 0-0 0, Jackson Clark 1 0-0 2, Dylan Seison 2 1-2 6, Jonathan Strickland 7 1-2 18, Reagan Lester 0 0-0 0, Ethan Kammer 0 0-1 0; TOTALS 20 4-8 49; Three-point field goals: 5 (Jonathan Strickland 3, Dylan Seison and Caleb Nichols 1 apiece)
NEW BOSTON 75 (8-1, 4-0 SOC I)
De’von Jones 7 6-8 21, Grady Jackson 5 0-1 11, Tanner Voiers 7 0-0 17, Josh Tabor 0 0-0 0, Kage Truitt 0 0-0 0, Kyle Sexton 7 1-6 17, Luke Henson 0 0-0 0, Hunter Easter 0 0-0 0, Josh Alley 0 0-0 0, Chase Clark 0 2-2 2, Brady Voiers 3 0-0 7, Rhys Bratchett 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 29 9-17 75; Three-point field goals: 8 (Tanner Voiers 3, Kyle Sexton 2, De’Von Jones, Grady Jackson and Brady Voiers 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved