Truckers remain unbeaten on season

Norwalk moves to 9-0 with win over Western Reserve. Staff
Jan 5, 2014

The Truckers were challenged early and found themselves down 16-15 with less than a minute to play in the opening quarter.  

Norwalk changed the deficit, however, with a 25-7 run, en route to a 74-45 non-league boys’ basketball win over the Roughriders Saturday night.

“We forced 29 turnovers, which I think is outstanding,’’ Truckers coach Steve Gray said.  “The thing I was most proud of was the third quarter.  We were able to come out and defend in a half-court situation, and they went over 6 1/2 minutes without scoring.  We got great contributions from everybody.”

Norwalk improved to 9-0 and won its 52nd straight in the regular season.

The Roughriders dropped to 5-5 overall.

Norwalk’s Jeff Thomas opened with 12 first-quarter points, including a two-handed slam dunk on a break-away steal that erupted the crowd and gave the Truckers a 6-0 lead.

Western’s Logan Croft nailed a three-pointer to make it 16-15 before Thomas quickly answered with a three of his own.  

Two Ben Haraway free throws gave Norwalk a 20-16 lead after one period.

“Twenty-nine turnovers says it all,’’ Western Reserve coach Chris Sheldon said. “We did a lot of really good things when we executed our game plan.

“We were trying to control pace and see if our bigs could exploit them in the paint,’’ he added. “Unfortunately their athleticism and length sped us up at times, which caused us to make poor decisions.’’

Haraway started the second quarter on a personal 4-0 run before threading the needle with a beautiful assist to Jordan Johnson.  

Grant Hull and Nate Good traded three pointers.  

Haraway hit the highlight button again with a stunning spin move and jumper that gave Norwalk a 31-21 lead.   

Johnson hustled out a steal and assist to Matt Davidson, then the duo reversed the sequence as Davidson rewarded Johnson after his own steal.

Another Haraway steal and layup gave the visitors a 17-point lead with just over two minutes left in the first half.

The Truckers opened the third quarter on 16-0 run and didn’t allow a Roughrider point until 50 seconds left in the quarter.  

Thomas once again lit up the audience with a monstrous jam at the other end of the court during the run.

“The reason we play Western Reserve is because of Chris Sheldon,’’ Gray said. “It’s because of him I now know the things we need to work on both offensively and defensively.”

Thomas finished with 22 points and three steals, while Haraway had 18 points and four steals.

Johnson had 12 points, Hull had nine and Matt Davidson added seven.

Western’s Zach Blankenship led his team with 14 points and Nate Good contributed 12.
In reserve action, Norwalk forced eight turnovers in the opening quarter to claim a 72-28 victory.

The Truckers had 11 players score in the action, including nine players in the first half.

Ben Neuberger and Travis Cring led Norwalk to a 28-8 advantage after one period, scoring six points apiece in the opening frame.

Griffin Rinner led Norwalk with 16 points all in the second half, Travis Cring posted 10 and Noah Hicks chipped in with nine.

Western’s James Ashe had 12 points.

The Truckers are slated to play Tuesday at Shelby in Northern Ohio League action.

Western is at St. Paul Friday in Firelands Conference action.