Still a mystery.
Through various injuries and discipline, there have been a lot of moving parts through five games this season on the Norwalk boys basketball team.
One night after a hardfought, 53-48 win vs. Clyde in SBC Lake division play, the Truckers saw a 25-22 halftime lead turn to disaster in a 55-39 home loss vs. Keystone on Saturday in non-league action.
On Dec. 8, the Truckers also won a tight league game (51-50) at Tiffin Columbian, then lost by 24 the next night to Mansfield Madison (75-51) in non-league play.
The exact same script played out this weekend, as Norwalk fell to 2-3.
“We don’t know anything about us or what kind of team we have,” Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “(Friday) night we played really hard, and I thought pretty well. And (Saturday), I just felt we had poor body language and zero energy. But we’ll go to work Monday and try and get better.”
Saturday’s loss to Keystone (5-1) was also the third game out of the last four where the opponent’s 3-point shooting hurt the Truckers.
The Wildcats were 9-of-22 from the three-point line in the win.
In five games, Norwalk has allowed 41 three-point baskets.
“We lack team discipline on defense,” Gray said. “We help up when we’re not supposed to. We take picks, shoulder-to-shoulder. We’re just not doing the little things defensively to be a good team right now.”
Trailing 19-16 early in the second quarter, Norwalk went on a 7-0 scoring run over a 3:36 span to take a 23-19 lead with 2:41 left in the half. Brandon Haraway six of those points as part of his team-high 14 points scored.
A pair of free throws by Garrett Chapin with 1:32 left in the half gave Norwalk a 25-22 lead — which it took into halftime.
But it was all Keystone from there.
The Wildcats opened the third quarter with a 13-1 scoring run over a 5:38 span to open up a 35-26 lead. Norwalk briefly battled back, as a 3-pointer from Jack Mei and a basket by Chapin cut the deficit to 35-31 with 1:27 left in the quarter.
A basket by Haraway then brought the Truckers within a single possession at 35-33 with 1:04 left in the third. But the ‘Cats closed the quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to push the margin back up to 41-33.
Another basket just 12 seconds into the fourth quarter gave Keystone a double-digit lead (43-33), and Norwalk drew no closer than 43-35 with 6:47 left on another basket from Haraway.
Norwalk was 8-of-21 shooting in the first half, but just 6-of-24 in the second half to finish 14-of-45 (31 percent) for the game.
“They packed it in and our shooters didn’t make shots,” Gray said. “We got some good looks, but right now we’re just not knocking them down. We have some shooters who are shooting with too much pressure.
“But tonight was an example that it’s hard to coach effort,” he added. “And for whatever reason, we’ve laid two eggs two non-league Saturday’s in a row.”
Chapin finished with 12 points and six rebounds for Norwalk. After Haraway and Chapin, only four players scored for the Truckers, totaling 13 points.
There will be little time to dwell on the loss, as another SBC Lake division home game is on tap with short rest. The Truckers entertain Perkins (4-1, 2-0) on Thursday.
“It’s a huge game for us at home that we have to have,” Gray said. “Perkins is very talented and well-coached, and I think we’ll find out about the character of our team.”
Norwalk won big in the junior varsity game, 51-33. Ryan Sowders and Nolan Flowers each scored 11 points, while Andrew Mozina and Brandon Ehrenberg each added eight points.
Gerhardinger 4-0–9; Sokolowski 4-0–12;
M. Mealwitz 0-4–4; Rodick 5-2–12; Kuhl 3-0–6; K. Mealwitz 4-0–12. TOTALS
Brandon Haraway 5-3–14; Garrett Chapin
4-2–12; Jacob Roth 1-1–3; Eric Hull 1-0–2; Andrew Ehrenberg 1-0–3; Jack Mei 2-0–5. TOTALS 14-6–39.
Keystone 16 6 19 14 — 55
Norwalk 15 10 8 6 — 39
3-point FGs: (K) Sokolowski 4, K. Mealwitz 4, Gerhardinger; (N) Chapin 2, Haraway, Ehrenberg, Mei
(c)2017 the Norwalk Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)
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