CENTERVILLE — Northmont’s game plan Friday night was to take the ball right at Centerville’s 6-foot-9 forward Mo Njie with the hope of drawing some fouls to get him on the bench and out of the way.
That plan did not work. Njie blocked eight shots and scored four dunks to lead Centerville with 16 points during a 70-49 victory over the Thunderbolts. Njie committed only three fouls the entire game, one in each of the first three quarters, one of which was a player control foul.
“When you’ve got a great player like that there were a couple of shots that we probably should have turned down, but part of the game plan was to take it right at him with the intention of getting some fouls drawn on him to get him out of the game. When you are 6-foot-9 with a wingspan that is out of this world you’ve got to try to do some stuff, but the refs said he was vertical on all of his blocks,” said Northmont Coach Shane Kincer. “I don’t know if that was necessarily the case.”
With Njie dominating the paint the Elks out-rebounded the Thunderbolts 42 to 25, including 12 offensive rebounds. Andrew White also blocked one Northmont shot inside to compound matters.
The Elks jumped out to a 10-2 lead and led 16-8 at the end of the opening quarter. Northmont fought back to trail 19-14 with 5:22 remaining in the first half but the Elks took a 28-18 lead at the break.
The Thunderbolts fought back hard in the third quarter. Despite Njie blocking two Northmont shots in one possession the Thunderbolts managed to go on a 10-0 run to tie the game on a 3-point field goal by Patrick Ivory with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter. The Elks outscored Northmont 8-2 in the final three minutes of the period to take a six point lead entering the final quarter.
Prophet Johnson scored the opening bucket of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 38-34. The Elks tossed in a pair of free throws and Di’talian Rayford buried a 3-pointer to pull Northmont within three, 40-37. Njie countered with a dunk for the Elks and Jordan Smith scored inside for the Thunderbolts to keep it a three point game.
Leading by seven with 4:34 left the Elks went on a 7-0 run to take a 55-41 lead to effectively put the game out of reach. With 55 seconds left the Elks pulled all of their starters. Two Centerville players came off the bench, Corey Burnette and C. Smith, to bury 3-pointers to add insult to injury.
The Elks extended their winning streak to six games while Northmont suffered its eighth consecutive loss.
“I thought our players competed,” Kincer added. “They battled and played really hard. They out-rebounded us 42 to 25, which really hurt us and had 12 offensive rebounds in the first half. The reason we were down ten at half was that we gave them twelve extra possessions and Njie had three or four dunk put-backs. He is a great player. He averages five points a game and tonight he ended up getting 16 because we couldn’t match his height, which really hurt us tonight.”
Northmont faces 11-2 Trotwood-Madison on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) and travels to Alter (8-8) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
NMT 08 18 32 49 – 49
CEN 16 28 38 70 – 70
Northmont: Danny Lewis 4-6-14, Di’talian Rayford 1-0-3, Patrick Ivory 3-1-7, Isaiah Baldwin 1-0-2, Jordan Smith 4-4-12, Prophet Johnson 4-2-11. Totals: 17-12-49.
Centerville: Ryan Marchal 3-2-9, Corey Burnette 1-0-3, Matt Pearce 5-0-11, Mo Njie 6-4-16, Kebba Archimalo 1-0-2, Ryan Ballard 4-0-9, Jason Sneed 3-7-13, Davis Mumaw 1-0-2, Zimmerman 1-0-2, C. Smith 1-0-3. Totals: 26-13-70.
Three-point goals: Northmont 3 (Rayford, Ivory, P. Johnson); Centerville 5 (Marchal, Burnette, Pearce, Ballard, Smith).
Records: Northmont 4-10 (1-7), Centerville 10-5 (6-2).
JV score: Centerville 74 Northmont 30.