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The Nordonia High School boys basketball team played five games in eight days recently, and although the Knights didn't win all five contests, they still played at an extremely high level.
Nordonia finished 4-1 during that stretch, and the one game the Knights lost -- a 73-71 thriller against Twinsburg at home Jan. 8 -- was a non-league affair.
Nordonia's big victory during that stretch was a 74-72 win against Suburban League rival Green on the road Jan. 11.
The Bulldogs entered the game undefeated, both overall and in league play. The Knights are now the only unbeaten team in the Suburban League.
Nordonia sports an overall record of 11-2. The Knights are 7-0 in league action.
Senior center Chris Scott led the way for Nordonia in the loss to the Tigers, scoring 26 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. In addition, senior shooting guard Nick Piotrowski contributed 14 points, sophomore guard Alex Alders tallied 12 points and senior power forward Eugene Coleman accounted for eight points and 14 rebounds.
"It was an exciting game," said Nordonia head coach Matt Cash. "There was a 30-second stretch where we made some bad decisions and turned the ball over. Then, we tied the game at 67, and they banked in a three-point shot. It was a hard-fought, exciting game. It was fun to watch, even though we came out on the losing end."
Against Green, it was Piotrowski who led the way. He poured in a career-high 31 points on the strength of seven three-pointers, and he also recorded six steals.
"He was on fire," said Cash of Piotrowski. "He hit open shot after open shot. The atmosphere was electric. It was great for a high school basketball game. The gym was packed."
In addition to Piotrowski's performance, Coleman posted a double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. He also played extremely well on the defensive end of the floor.
Senior forward Dameon Luster added 11 points and junior guard Eli Linder contributed five points to the Knights' offensive effort.
On Jan. 12, Nordonia played a make-up contest at home against Aurora.
There was no late drama this time as the Knights drilled the Greenmen by the score of 74-31.
Nordonia led 20-5 by the end of the first quarter and 42-14 at intermission, cruising to victory in the second half.
Scott produced a double-double, scoring 18 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking two shots. In addition, Alders scored 12 points, sophomore guard David Murray was also in double digits with 10 points, sophomore forward Diallo Niamke had nine points and Coleman contributed eight markers.
"We had 25 assists as a team, that was the big thing," said Cash. "It was a nice game to have after two extremely hard-fought games and playing five games in an eight-day stretch."
According to Cash, the Knights are starting to hit their stride, although there's still room for improvement.
"We just have to clean up a few mistakes here and there," said Cash. "Other than that, the kids are playing hard. They're giving it their all every time they step on the floor."
Because this is final exam week, Nordonia has just one game scheduled. The Knights will visit league foe Copley Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.
"This is going to be a tough game," said Cash. "Copley has lost a lot of close games, so their record doesn't reflect how good they are."