Nordonia boys basketball runs past Tallmadge at home

by Frank Aceto Associate Sports Editor Published:

Macedonia -- Once the jump ball took place, the Nordonia boys basketball team operated on three speeds: fast, faster and fastest.

One way or another, Tallmadge couldn't keep up.

The Knights improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the Suburban League after posting a convincing 69-49 victory over the Blue Devils Dec. 18 in Macedonia.

Nordonia took an 11-2 lead and never looked back, thanks to its rapid-fire offensive attack and full-court pressure.

At times, the Knights' approach led to great theater. Other times, not so much.

In the end, Nordonia, which had one returning starter from last season, had just a bit more firepower.

"It was sloppy at times, but we're learning how to execute," Knights head coach Matt Cash said. "Our philosophy is to shoot it before we turn it over. If it's a good shot, it's going up."

If the shots weren't falling, Nordonia had a very reliable backup plan. That would be 6-foot-6 senior post player Chris Scott, a three-year starter.

Scott scored eight of his game-high 20 points in a span of a little more than three minutes in the third quarter.

Tallmadge (1-4, 1-3), which was at a considerable disadvantage in terms of height, had no answer for him.

"Our first look in any offensive set is the 6-8 kid," Cash said. "We work a lot on the in-out game. If we start hitting from three, then they have to go out and guard it."

Thanks mainly to Scott's presence in the post, the Knights had a considerable advantage on the boards.

Nordonia didn't need to do too much rebounding in the first quarter.

Max Hartman buried all four of his three-pointers in the first eight minutes as the Knights raced out to a 23-10 lead. Hartman, a sophomore guard, finished with 14 points. Senior guard Kenny Kitchen added 12 points for Nordonia.

After halftime, though, the Knights decided to establish their veteran post player. Either way, the Blue Devils couldn't keep up.

"We came out of the first half hitting a lot of threes, so we decided if they're going to go man on us, we're going to get it inside," Cash said. "That was stressed at halftime to get it into him [Scott] and let him go to work."

Tallmadge, which lost a 61-34 decision to Suburban League rival Highland Dec. 14 at home, got another strong performance from its leading scorer, Andrew Francesconi. The standout sophomore knocked down a trio of three-pointers and finished with a game-high 21 points.

Sophomore Joe Vassalotti also had a strong game for the Blue Devils. He also made three triples and finished with 13 points.

"We have a good group of kids who are getting their first varsity experience," Hinkle said. "These kids want to win. It's not easy to build a program. It's going to take awhile."

The Knights were set to face Highland Dec. 21, but results were not available at press time.

Nordonia will participate in the The Greynolds Classic at Barberton Dec. 29. They will play Canal Fulton Northwest at 6 p.m.

Email: faceto@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9444

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