Norwalk Truckers’ hot shooting scorches Perkins Pirates

NORWALK — One night after winning three straight Northern Ohio League championships for the first time in school history, Norwalk continued its postseason tune-up with a great shooting night as the Truckers topped Perkins 75-58 on Saturday night.

Three Norwalk players scored at least 15 points, led by 18 from center Jake Fetherolf. Jeff Thomas and Ben Haraway each added 15 for the Truckers (19-0), as the team shot a blistering 63 percent from the field to beat the Pirates for the second time this season.

“To have four people with around 15 points, that’s the balance we’re looking for,” Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “We played a really good game tonight. The only thing I was disappointed in was we just didn’t rebound the ball like we’re capable of. A lot of that has to do with Perkins. They’ve got good athletes that went after it.”

Perkins (15-4) outrebounded Norwalk 32-13, doing a lot of damage on the offensive glass where it got several putback baskets. Unfortunately for the Pirates, they had a tough time dealing with turnovers as they commmited 17, seven in the first quarter, compared to just five by the Truckers.

“They’re good, they’re athletic, they’re disciplined and they’ve got a lot of weapons,” Perkins coach Scott McVeigh said. “We don’t take care of the ball early and I think we had at least 17 turnovers for the game. When you play a team at this level, you can’t do that.”

The Truckers set the tone early on offense, outscoring the Pirates 25-15 in the first quarter led by eight from Haraway. While Perkins never let Norwalk get ahead by too much, the Pirates failed to cut the deficit below six points at any point after the first quarter.

“I think we got, especially defensively, exposed by a very good team,” McVeigh said. “We relax off the ball. We relax on help. We tend to relax when our guy doesn’t have it for some reason. That showed tonight, and it showed that against a good team like this, you can’t do it.

“We weren’t intimidated. We weren’t nervous coming out. It was just coming out and playing basketball, and they played at a higher level.”

After being held to just 49 points in its win Friday at Bellevue to clinch another NOL championship, the Truckers’ offense was looking for a good performance to bounce back. They found some relief offensively on Saturday, but Gray knows his team is still far from a finished product with three games left until the postseason starts.

“If we want to make a tournament run, we’ve got to be better at dribble penetration, stopping it,” he said. “And we need to rebound the basketball a heck of a lot better. Those are things that can be corrected. We’ll work on it next week, hopefully get better.

“Unfortunately for us, we’ve got two great games coming up (against Willard and Huron next week) and we need to get a little bit better.”

Nic Williams led the Pirates with 19 points and seven rebounds and David Doster added 13. Playing against one of the top teams in the state, McVeigh said his team learned a lot about what they need to work on heading into the postseason.

“It starts with taking care of the ball and executing, and getting the shots we want,” he added. “You’ve got to give Norwalk credit. They’re good. They’re a good team. They’re not undefeated for no reason. They’ve got it going on.”

Norwalk’s win extended its regular-season winning streak to 40 games. Their last regular season loss came back on Feb. 19, 2011 when they lost at home to Huron, and have only lost one game since then.

The Pirates are back in action on Friday when they host St. Mary.

Norwalk 75, Perkins 58

Non-Conference

PERKINS — David Doster 6-0 13, Kyle Lewis 1-0 2, Brandon Smith 4-0 9, Nic Williams 7-4 19, Mitchell Benkey 4-0 8, Chase Green 3-1 7. TOTALS 25-5 58.

NORWALK — Damius Peacock 2-1 5, Ben Haraway 7-1 15, Grant Hull 2-0 6, Trey Hallock 5-4 14, Jeff Thomas 7-0 15, Jake Fetherolf 6-6 18, Kaleb Cashen 1-0 2. TOTALS 30-12 75.

3-POINT GOALS — P: Doster, Smith, Williams; N: Hull (2), Thomas.

Score By Quarters

Perkins (15-4) 15 13 14 16 — 58

Norwalk (19-0) 25 15 16 19 — 75

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Perkins 25 of 55 (45 percent), Norwalk 30 of 48 (63 percent).

Free Throws — P 5 of 5 (100 percent), N 12 of 24 (50 percent).

Rebounds — P 32 (Green 7, Williams 7), N 13 (Thomas 6).

Turnovers — P 17, N 5.

J.V. — Norwalk, 58-32.

@Bielik_Tim

Last Updated: 2/9/2013 11:53:32 PM EST

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