The Nordonia High School boys basketball team was challenged by some tough competition this past week.
The Knights were up to the challenge.
Nordonia beat both non-conference opponent Walsh Jesuit and Suburban League foe Wadsworth. As a result, the Knights improved their overall record to 15-2 and their league ledger to 10-0.
Nordonia downed Walsh Jesuit by the score of 71-61 at home Jan. 29.
The Knights led the Warriors 15-13 after the first quarter and 33-26 at intermission. They kept the heat on after that, outscoring Walsh 19-15 in the third stanza and holding the Warriors off during the fourth frame.
Three players scored in double digits for Nordonia. Senior shooting guard Nick Piotrowski led the way with 18 points, while senior center Chris Scott tallied 14 points and five rebounds and senior power forward Eugene Coleman notched a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards.
Piotrowski also collected six rebounds and dished out five assists.
In addition, sophomore point guard Max Hartman contributed nine points and sophomore guard Alex Alders accounted for eight points. Rounding out the scoring for the Knights were senior forward Dameon Luster with five points and sophomore guard Eli Linder with four points.
"The Walsh game was a great one," said Nordonia head coach Matt Cash. "There was a packed house with an exciting atmosphere. It was also a good preview for the district tournament. About 11 of the 12 teams in our district could win [the tournament]."
Walsh Jesuit now sports a record of 11-4.
On Feb. 1, Nordonia knocked off Wadsworth by a 70-59 margin, also at home.
The Knights held a slim 11-9 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter. Then they blew the game open in the second period, outscoring the Grizzlies 24-13
As a result, Nordonia carried a 35-22 advantage into the locker room at intermission.
Wadsworth attempted a comeback in the second half. The Grizzlies topped the Knights 16-11 in the third quarter, but Nordonia responded by scoring 24 points in the fourth stanza to put the game away.
"It was a tough league match-up," said Cash. "Wadsworth threw multiple defenses at us, and in the end, it was our second unit that made the difference for us. They came in during the second quarter and at the end of the third quarter and got us on a run. We absolutely have confidence in everybody coming off our bench."
Scott paced the Knights offensively with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while three of his teammates tallied 11 points apiece. Those three were Piotrowski, Luster and Linder.
In addition, Luster pulled down six rebounds and Linder racked up five steals.
Sophomore forward Diallo Niamke produced eight points and five rebounds, Alders recorded six points, senior guard Kenny Kitchen registered five points and Coleman added four markers.
With the loss, Wadsworth's record on the season slipped to 7-10.
On Feb. 6, Nordonia was set to travel to league rival Tallmadge, but results were not available at press time.
On Feb. 9, the Knights are scheduled to host conference nemesis Highland.
"Those are two good, athletic teams," said Cash. "Hopefully, we'll be able to take care of business."
The Division I district tournament draw will take place Feb. 10 at Copley High School.