Dec. 16–NORWALK — Norwalk grabbed its first lead of the night when senior Eric Hull sank a three-point ball from the corner.
From that moment in the second quarter onward, when the Truckers had a 17-15 advantage, Friday’s Sandusky Bay Conference Lake division game was a back-and-forth affair.
Norwalk came out on top, 53-48, to remain unbeaten in the SBC at 2-0 and 2-2 overall. Clyde fell to 1-2 and 2-2.
Truckers coach Steve Gray saw the difference when his team started playing a lot harder.
“We got beat up early in the paint and then they finally understood what it was going to take,” he said. “We had to go chuck the ball and then go get the ball.
“Clyde is a good team. They play hard, they’re athletic, they’re physical (and) they can shoot it,” he added. “This was a big win us.”
Norwalk junior Brandon Haraway led all scorers with 24 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds and two steals. Coming off the bench, Haraway was 11-of-17 from the floor.
“I just think he had to settle down. He was really excited about playing tonight,” Gray said. “We just told him, ‘relax and be Brandon. You don’t have to be anyone else.'”
The Truckers had three consecutive steals — two by Haraway — with about five minutes left in the third quarter. The turnovers electrified the home crowd with the score tied at 29.
Clyde led at the end of the first quarter 13-12 and took a 23-20 advantage into the locker room.
Two free throws by Hull with 4:18 left in the third quarter gave Norwalk a 31-29 lead.
“Eric (Hull) could be our toughest kid,” Gray said. “He’s undersized, but yet he goes and gets the ball. He’s willing to sacrifice his body. Hats off to Eric; he was by far our best player inside tonight.”
Hull and freshman Garrett Chapin each pulled down five rebounds.
The third quarter ended with Norwalk up 36-32. The Truckers outscored the visitors 16-9 in the quarter.
Clyde had a 38-37 lead with 6:42 left in the game.
Haraway tied it up again at 44-all with 2:51 left in the game when he went coast to coast for a layup.
“Norwalk did a fantastic job of controlling the pace,” said Clyde coach Ryan Fretz, who saw the Truckers slow down the faster play his team prefers.
Junior Derick Harrah led the Fliers with 20 points. He also had four rebounds.
Classmate Cameron Farraer added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Trevor Burtch led Clyde with nine rebounds. He also grabbed two steals.
“Any given night there’s a handful of guys who can step up and have stepped up,” said Fretz, who has yet to see his four scorers “go off” during the same game. “Tonight it was Derick Harrah going off and Trevor Burtch having a great game.
“We’re still growing as a team. We’re making big growth from where we were last year at this time. However, we still have to get over that hump,” the Clyde coach added.
“To have two league losses — one of them by one point and this one by five — it comes down to being able to execute and take care of the ball. That’s the stuff we have to work on more in practice.”
The Norwalk junior varsity squad also won, 55-43. Sophomore Garrett Orbinger swished in 13 points and classmate Ryan Sowders added 10.
Both teams face non-conference opponents tonight. Clyde hosts Lexington while Norwalk plays Keystone at home.
“Keystone is a really good team. We’re going to have to play just as well (tonight) as we did (Friday),” Gray said.
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger.”
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