When Norwalk zeroed in during the second quarter of Friday’s Northern Ohio League matchup vs. Willard, Flashes coach Dave Hirschy knew his team was in trouble.
Trailing 17-13 after a basket by Hayden Adams to open the second quarter, the Truckers went on a 20-0 run to open up a 32-13 lead in a commanding 78-43 win over the Flashes.
With the win, Norwalk (20-0, 9-0 NOL) clinched the league title outright, putting the coronation on a three-peat in the final home game of the season. It also extended its regular season winning streak to 41 games. Willard fell to 14-6, 6-3.
Norwalk’s 20-0 scoring run was essentially a Jeff Thomas and Damius Peacock highlight reel.
The duo combined for the first eight points of the run for a 25-13 lead.
Following a Willard timeout, Jake Fetherolf split a pair of free throws to make it 26-13, then Peacock brought the home crowd to its feet with back-to-back three-pointers that made it 32-13 with 3:21 left in the first half.
Two straight mid-range baskets by Thomas capped the run to give the Truckers a 37-13 lead with 1:39 left in the half. Thomas finished with 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting, which followed up a 39-point performance in two games last weekend.
Leading 40-20 at halftime, the second half was just a formality that needed played out. Norwalk held a 23-17 scoring advantage in the third quarter, and outscored the Flashes 15-6 in the fourth for the final margin.
“A lot of teams in the area have problems with our length on defense,” Gray said. “We’ve got some long armed kids who are pretty athletic and quick. We have the ability to get some shooters off their spots, and I thought in the second quarter, and for really most of the game, we did a real good job.”
After Thomas, Peacock added 11 points and six rebounds. Grant Hull scored 10.
Norwalk will also finish ranked in the final Associated Press state poll for the second straight season barring a late collapse.
“They deserve tonight,” Truckers coach Steve Gray said of his seniors. “They put up with a lot of grief from our coaches in practice, we really push them pretty hard. My only hope on game nights and when they walk alway from this that they can say it was a great experience and they thoroughly enjoyed playing for me and playing at Norwalk.”
Corey Bohach led Willard with nine points.
Read more in Saturday's Norwalk Reflector and Sandusky Register.