Strong second half lifts Truckers over Whippets

Norwalk extends regular-season winning streak to 53 straight. Staff
Jan 9, 2014

Norwalk and Shelby finally played their Northern Ohio League boys’ basketball game on Wednesday night.

The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 14. It was briefly rescheduled for Dec. 16, then Tuesday.

Cold conditions the postponement Tuesday and rescheduled for Wednesday.

The game was first at Norwalk, then moved back to Shelby.

When the dust had settled, the Truckers won their 53rd straight regular-season game with a 78-49 decision over the Whippets.

“We talk all of the time about what we can control,’’ Norwalk coach Steve Gray said of the delays in playing the game.

Norwalk, which is ranked sixth in the state in Division II, moved to 10-0 overall, 4-0 in the league.

The Truckers expanded on a close 33-30 halftime lead with a 21-4 run and 23-8 third-quarter advantage to go up 56-33.

Ben Haraway had a personal 4-0 run, as the Truckers opened the third with an 8-2 advantage to take a 41-32 lead.

In the quarter, Jeff Thomas had seven points and Haraway added six.

Meanwhile, the Norwalk defense limited Shelby to a basket in the first six minutes of the third.

“I give all the credit to my assistant coaches,’’ Gray said. “They did all the talking at halftime.’’

Norwalk then outscored the visitors 22-11 in the fourth quarter for the final margin.

Haraway led the Truckers with 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the floor.

Thomas had 15 points and Jordan Johnson chipped in with 14.

Haraway also dished out six assists, grabbed five boards and picked up five steals.

Thomas added four rebounds and three steals.

Breck Turner and Hinckley pitched in with three steals apiece.

Johnson scored eight points in the last five minutes of the fourth.

“I thought Matt Davidson, Joseph Hinckley and Jordan Johnson played outstanding,’’ Gray said. “Jordan knocked down some big shots in the fourth quarter.’’

The Truckers were 31-of-53 from the field and 13-of-16 from the free-throw line with 20 rebounds, 20 steals and 10 turnovers.

The Truckers led 25-12 after the first quarter, paced by Haraway’s 11 points and five steals.

Thomas had a two-handed break-away dunk to give Norwalk a 19-9 lead. That was part of an 11-3 run to close the first quarter for the Truckers.

But the Whippets, helped by a 13-2 run to start the second quarter, closed the gap to 33-30 by halftime. They got to within 27-25, but no closer.

Tristan Kehres paced Shelby with 27 points and eight rebounds.

In reserve action, after Shelby scored the opening bucket, Norwalk went on a 10-0 run and captured a 46-32 victory.

Jaycee Jordan led the Truckers with 15 points, six rebounds, and four steals.
Brandon Bleile had seven points and Seth Staley added six.

Shelby's Jared Hostetler led his team with nine points.

The Truckers are home twice over the weekend — playing against Sandusky for a NOL game Friday and Lorain in non-league action Saturday.