CLAYTON — Chandler Fontino and Demond Parker knocked down 3-point shots early in the first quarter Friday to put Northmont on its heels as Wayne took a 10-3 lead that appeared to unsettle the Thunderbolts.
Parker hit another trey to boost Wayne’s lead to 13-5 and it appeared as if the Warriors were going to rout Northmont.
The Thunderbolts fought back with a pair of free throws by Vinson Walker and Rodney Richardson and a back court steal that led to a basket by Walker to cut Wayne’s lead to 14-11. Roderick Caldwell countered with a baseline dunk for Wayne.
The first quarter ended with a 3-point basket by Northmont’s Jabari Perkins as Wayne clung to a 16-13 advantage.
But from that point the Warriors took control of the game and took a 43-22 halftime lead and went on to post an 88-64 victory. With the win Wayne improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Central Division of the Greater Western Ohio Conference. Northmont dropped to 4-3 and 1-1.
Wayne dominated inside the paint and had five players score in double figures. L’Christian Smith led the Warriors with 15 points followed by Roderick Caldwell with 13, Demond Parker and Trey Landers with 12 each, and Kenny Couch had 10.
“The number one thing we said we had to do defensively was keep them out of the paint,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “I know that’s not easy because athletically Wayne is very talented. It must be nice to get Division I guy after Division I guy after Division I guy that just shows up on your doorstep. I know it is tough athletically at times, but still that was the number one game plan defensively.”
Vinson Walker led Northmont with 13, Jabari Perkins had 11, and Rodney Richardson and Jason Biggs had 10 each. The problem was that Perkins and Richardson were held to a combined total of 4 points in the first half while Biggs was held scoreless. Walker scored 10 of his team-high 13 points in the first half. The Bolt’s big gun, Jarell Taylor suffered a twisted ankle in the third quarter and sat out the rest of the game to end the night with 6 points.
It was a disappointing performance for the Thunderbolts against the division’s perennial power.
“I think the thing that freaked our kids out was Parker hitting a couple of threes early and all of a sudden they are thinking, ‘Oh my God, we gotta go chase, we gotta chase,’ and that is exactly what they want you to do because then they are going to play right through your chest in the paint and get offensive rebounds,” Abels added.
Wayne got its season off to a late start due to the football team’s long run deep into the playoffs totaling 15 games. As a result some of the Warriors are still adjusting to playing basketball, but from the looks of things Friday they are well on their way to being the Dayton area’s premier team.
“We are still just trying to get in shape,” said Wayne Coach Travis Trice. “I kind of just let them play in the first quarter. We were really, really sloppy with seven turnovers. Then we settled down. I thought we pushed the ball, we set some screens and Roderick Caldwell found them and had seven assists in the first half and finished the game with 11 and I thought that was a big key because we didn’t settle for all jump shots. It was good for Demond Parker to get off to a good start hitting three threes in the first half. Overall we have to be happy with winning by 24, but we really didn’t play very well to be honest.”
Trice was also pleased with the performance of Kenny Couch who scored four baskets in the second quarter.
“He is a hustle player and has a nose for the rim,” Trice added. “We had him for 10 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. He stayed active and had three blocked shots. That’s what he does for us. He is a guy that is tough and is always around the basket and gets his hands on a lot of loose balls and goes after rebounds, so I was pretty pleased with the way he played tonight.”
In his second game with the team Chazz George contributed 8 points to the Warriors 24 point victory.
“I know that he can do a lot more,” Trice commented. “He is just trying to figure out what we do. We do a lot. It’s a little bit complex at times. We are trying to learn plays and we can’t run very much right now with guys trying to learn the system and what we do. That’s kind of messing with him. It’s got him thinking a little bit more than just playing. Once he gets a few more games under his belt I think he will loosen up and you will see a little bit more out of him as well.”
The Warriors host Detroit East English Village Prep Saturday at 6 p.m., Fairborn on Monday and Fairmont on Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Northmont plays at Belmont Saturday and doesn’t return to the court until Saturday, January 2 when the Thunderbolts host Chaminade-Julienne.
WAY 16 43 73 88 – 88
NMT 13 22 41 64 – 64
Wayne: L’Christian Smith 15, Deshon Parker 4, Chandler Fontino 7, Trey Landers 12, Scott Lute, Jr. 4, Chazz George 8, Roderick Caldwell 13, Kenny Couch 10, Matt Palma 1, Max Morgan-Elliott 1, Isaiah Trice 1, Demond Parker 12. Totals: 31-18-88.
Northmont: Jarell Taylor 6, Myles Tanner 3, Jabari Perkins11, Christian Wilson 7, Rodney Richardson 10, Vinson Walker 13, Arius Spears 4, Jason Biggs 10. Totals: 24-9-64.
3-point goals: Wayne 8 (Parker 4, Caldwell 2, Fontino, George); Northmont 7 (Perkins 2, Biggs 2, Taylor, Wilson, Richardson).
Records: Wayne 2-0 (1-0), Northmont 4-3 (1-1).
JV Score: Wayne 46 Northmont 45.