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Tallmadge -- Nordonia girls basketball coach Mike Griffen knew his team was in for a tough challenge last week.
The schedule had Nordonia taking on Suburban League powers Wadsworth and Tallmadge in one week.
The Knights knew they needed to be at their best to have a chance against either squad -- and the Knights were far from their best in these games.
First, the Knights had to endure a 73-32 loss to the Grizzlies Dec. 12 at Wadsworth.
"They were a good team, but we were our own worst enemy," Griffen said. "We turned the ball over way too much."
The Knights still didn't have a good handle on the ball when they travelled to Tallmadge Dec. 15.
Tallmadge took a 9-0 lead to start the game and never really looked back.
The Blue Devils finished with a 58-38 win.
Tallmadge improved to 6-0, 4-0 in the Suburban League, while Nordonia dropped to 3-4, 1-3 in the league.
Despite having only seven varsity players, the Blue Devils overpowered the Knights, who proved both turnover- and foul-prone throughout the game.
Griffen said the biggest reason for the loss was simple.
"They outworked us," Griffen said. "I fully compliment Tallmadge's team. They brought a lot of energy tonight and we didn't."
Tallmadge's frenetic defense was its usual disruptive self, forcing 19 turnovers, including nine steals. However, Tallmadge also had a big edge in rebounding for the first time this season, beating Nordonia on the boards 37-23.
Those edges in hustle allowed Tallmadge to sprint out to a 9-0 lead. Although the Knights were able to rally a bit and cut the deficit to 13-9 after one quarter, that would be as close as Nordonia would get the rest of the way.
Tallmadge outscored Nordonia 15-6 in the second quarter to take a 28-15 lead and the deficit would remain in double digits the rest of the way.
Center Hannah Stroe led the Knights with seven points, while guards Brandy Merritt and Nataly Ciocca each had six.
Tallmadge's starting forward duo of Mary Ryan and Leah Makuch each finished with double doubles. Makuch finish with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Ryan had 15 points and 13 boards.
Nordonia will host Medina Highland Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. They will not see action again until after Christmas.