A combination of youth and experience combined to propel the host Newcomerstown High Trojans past the Sandy Valley Cardinals, 47-44, in Inter-Valley Conference action on Friday as the Trojans celebrated "Senior Night" festivities in the regular season finale for both squads.
Forming the potent duo for the Orange and Black were senior Kristopher Wolf, who took care of the workload inside the "paint", and sophomore Austin King, who handled the outside with deadly shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
Checking in at 6-4, with considerable girth according to his coach, Wolf proved too much to handle inside for the Cardinals all night.
"We went to our Shaq-Kris attack tonight," Newcomerstown coach Danny Weekley joked of feeding the ball inside to Wolf. "Kris is a big boy, and when you have that type of size advantage it gives you a big edge. We were able to capitalize on that tonight and we did a good job of getting him the ball and then Kris was able to finish around the basket."
Wolf finished with a game-high 15 points, on a sizzling 6-of-7 shooting performance, with most of his shots coming from point-blank range.
While Wolf was holding down the inside, King took care of the perimeter with some deadly outside shooting to tally 14 points with a total of four three-point makes on the night.
"Austin is really shooting the ball well right now," Weekley said. "Tonight he was really in a 'zone' out there, he is a young player who has really improved this season."
Newcomerstown started quickly as King connected on a pair of "treys" in the opening quarter en route to a eight-point frame as NHS lead 12-8 after one period.
In the second stanza, it was the visiting Cardinals who had the hot-hand in the form of senior Zach Schlimm with nine points as Sandy Valley enjoyed a 17-10 scoring edge to take a 25-22 lead at the halftime intermission.
Sandy Valley extended its lead in the third period, using a 12-9 advantage to push out to a 37-31 lead headed to the fourth quarter.
Starting the fourth frame, Wolf began to impose his will inside the "paint" area, knocking down consecutive inside shots to pull the Trojans closer at 37-35.
Moments later at the 6:07 mark, fellow senior Caleb Fenton scored to tie the contest at 37-37.
Sandy Valley retook the lead at 39-37 on a bucket from Andrew Milhoan, but Wolf responded getting loose inside again to deadlock the contest at 39-39. Adam Feicht of Sandy Valley connected on 1-of-2 foul shots to put the Cardinals in front at 40-39, at which point it was time for King to answer the bell once again.
King drilled home back-to-back three-pointers, the last of which coming with 3:27 left in the game to give the Trojans a 45-40 lead. Despite missing some foul shots down the stretch, the Trojans were able to hold on and pick up the win with a 16-7 edge in the final period.
"We missed some foul shots there at the end," Weekley said. "That made it a little tighter, but is seems Sandy Valley always plays us tough. I think last year, all three of our games were decided by just a few points."
Getting a win for six seniors was special for Weekley, playing their final home game for Newcomerstown were Wolf, Fenton, Paul Mathews, Woody Burrier, Cody Sproat and Eric Rose.
"Our six seniors have worked really hard," Weekley said. "It's been tough year wins wise, but they have continued to put in the work and that's a credit to them. They are all good kids and I'm very proud of them all."
Sproat and Fenton each added five points and five rebounds for Newcomerstown (4-16, 1-13 IVC).
Sandy Valley (6-14, 2-11 IVC) was led in scoring by Schlimm and Feicht, who each finished with 11 points, while Milhoan chipped in with nine.
Nc'town reserve game
The Trojans also won the reserve game 56-30. Tyler Wheeler led Newcomerstown (11-9, 7-7 IVC) with 11 points. Steve Poe finished with 10 points while Bril Dansby and Chance Bower each scored eight.
In the Division III Sectional at Claymont, Coshocton (14-5) received the No. 1 seed and Ridgewood (13-5) was tabbed with the No. 2 seed.
Newcomerstown (3-15), the No. 7 seed, will open play against No. 3 seed Garaway on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., while Ridgewood plays No. 6 seed Union Local (6-12) at 7 p.m. Feb. 23.
The winners of those two games play Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m.
The Redskins play in a one-game sectional final against either No. 5 seed Tuscarawas Valley (5-13) or No. 4 seed Sandy Valley (6-12) at 3 p.m. March 1. They find out their opponent at 7 p.m. Feb. 21.
Ridgewood 77, Garaway 64
SUGARCREKK - The Generals ended the regular season on a high note with a 77-64 win over the Pirates on Friday.
Ridgewood moved out to a 17-13 first quarter edge and used a 17-9 second quarter to take a commanding 34-22 halftime lead. Garaway closed the gap slightly in the third period by taking it 19-18, but came up short in the fourth stanza, 25-23.
Tanner Stoffer led the Generals (15-5, 10-3 IVC) with 26 points while Zak Keesee was strong with 20. C.J. Grove tacked on another 12 points.
Tyler Walter had 19 points for the Pirates (11-8, 8-6 IVC) while Duane Troyer was right behind with 18.
Ridgewood 17 17 18 25 - 77
Garaway 13 9 19 23 - 64
Indian Valley 53
NAVARRE -- The Falcons used a strong first half to secure a 64-53 PAC-7 win over the Braves in their last regular season game on Friday.
Fairless led 11-9 after the first quarter and built their halftime lead to 32-21 on the strength of a 21-12 second quarter advantage.
Both teams scored 11 in the third period and 22 in the fourth to close out scoring.
Jamie MacAdam hit four three-pointers to lead Indian Valley (6-14, 4-10 PAC) with 15 points while Brett Cox added 10. Brady Byers and Chase Gibson came through with eight points apiece.
Jake Dennis had 19 points to lead Fairless (10-9, 8-6 PAC).
The Falcons won the reserve game, 52-38.
Indian Valley 9 12 10 22 - 53
Fairless 11 21 10 22 - 64
River View 55, Newcomerstown 49
WARSAW -- The Black Bears took advantage of a sluggish third quarter for the Trojans to pick up a 55-49 home victory on Tuesday.
Five points from Paul Matthews helped the Trojans (3-16) out-score the host Black Bears 16-12 in the first quarter. In the second quarter, River View (3-16) decreased its deficit by outscoring Newcomerstown 15-12 behind 10 points from Michael Adams which were offset by Austin King's two treys.
The Trojans held a slim 28-27 advantage at halftime.
The decisive third quarter saw Newcomerstown score only five points while the Black Bears racked up 13 points to take a 40-33 lead going into the fourth period.
The Trojans fought their way back to tie the game 42-42 with 4:13 remaining thanks to a 9-2 run, including two three-pointers from Hunter Snearey.
But the Black Bears pulled away again from there with their own run of 13-7 to close out scoring.
For Newcomerstown, Austin King finished the contest with 13 points; Matthews tallied 10 points; and Chris Poe chalked up nine. Cody Sproat knocked down seven points while Snearey and Caleb Fenton collected six apiece.
For River View, Adams turned in 20 points, while Jason Hammond and Gwinn each put in 10.
The Trojans racked up a 43-34 win over the Black Bears in the reserve game. Bril Dansby scored nine points to lead Newcomerstown.
Newcomerstown 16 12 5 16 - 49
River View 12 15 13 15 - 55
WEST LAFAYETTE -- The Generals rolled to a 63-55 win over the visiting Tigers in IVC action on Tuesday.
The Generals got 22 points from Tanner Stoffer and 14 apiece from Ryan Lowe and C.J. Grove to run their record to 14-5 overall and 9-3 in league play. Zac Keesee added eight points.
Ridgewood raced to a 13-8 first quarter lead that they built up to 34-22 by halftime. The hosts went on a 14-9 third period run to make it 48-31 as the fourth stanza began. A 15-14 final eight minutes in the General's favor provided the final score.
Hunter Schnieter scored 14 points to pace Strasburg (3-14, 2-10 IVC).
The Generals won the reserve game 31-28 behind Josh King's 11 points.
Strasburg 8 14 9 14 - 55
Ridgewood 13 21 14 15 - 63
Indian Valley 49,
Tusky Valley 46
ZOAR -- The Braves came out on top of a tough see-saw battle to claim a 49-46 win over the Trojans in PAC-7 action on Tuesday.
Tusky Valley led 12-11 after the first quarter but Indian Valley came back strong in the second period by taking it 22-10 to lead 33-22 at halftime.
But the Trojans came back just a strong in the third quarter as they posted a 16-2 advantage to regain the lead, 38-35, with one quarter to play.
The Braves turned it around in the fourth period though with a 14-8 effort to earn the victory.
Jamie MacAdam burned the nets for Indian Valley (5-13, 4-8 PAC) with 20 points, including six three-pointers. Brett Cox gave solid support with 15 points while Brady Byers added six.
Don Lewis had 16 points for Tusky Valley (5-13, 2-10 PAC).
Indian Valley 11 22 2 14 - 49
Tusky Valley 12 10 16 8 - 46