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The Nordonia High School boys basketball team picked the most opportune time to play its best game of the season.
That's because the Knights were facing Suburban League foe Highland on the road Dec. 21. Nordonia, battling a tough opponent in a hostile environment, silenced Highland's raucous fans by swatting the Hornets 71-45.
"That was the best game we've played all season," said Nordonia head coach Matt Cash. "They went up 4-0 on us, and then we went on an 18-0 run with our press and our defensive pressure."
That 18-0 run helped the Knights build an 18-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. Nordonia then scored even more points during the second period -- 26, to be exact.
That provided the Knights with a 44-24 advantage at intermission. Despite Highland's best efforts in the second half, Nordonia stymied the Hornets, leading to an impressive 26-point victory for the Knights.
With the victory, Nordonia improved its overall record to 6-1. The Knights are also still undefeated in league action with a ledger of 5-0.
At the forefront of Nordonia's attack was senior center Chris Scott, who collected 20 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.
Senior shooting guard Nick Piotrowski was also in double digits with 14 points, while sophomore guard Alex Alders contributed seven points and junior guard Eli Linder accounted for six points, eight rebounds, and six steals.
"Eli put pressure on Highland's point guard all night," said Cash. "He had a tremendous game."
In addition, senior forward Damon Luster tallied six points, senior power forward Eugene Coleman added four markers and three players added two points each -- senior guard Kenny Kitchen, sophomore guard David Murray and senior center Zach Holt.
"That was a big statement game for us, playing on the road against one of the better teams in the league," said Cash.
The only other undefeated team in the Suburban League is Green. Nordonia will face the Bulldogs on the road Jan. 11.
"We're working four sophomores into the lineup, with one starting and three others coming off the bench," said Cash. "They're playing well and picking things up. If we continue to play like we have been, we'll continue to get better."
On Dec. 29, Nordonia played Northwest in the Greynolds Classic, an event held every year for stroke awareness.
"It's a nice one-day deal for the kids," said Cash of the Classic. "They get to play in a very nice facility in Barberton that rivals some college programs. Northwest is a fundamentally sound team that's not going to make a lot of mistakes, so we'll have to be ready to play."
Results from Greynolds were not available at press time.
On Jan. 4, Nordonia is scheduled to host league foe Revere. On Jan. 5, the Knights will travel to non-conference opponent Medina. Tip time both nights is set for 7:30 p.m.