CLAYTON — Northmont completed its season sweep of Fairmont with a 56-51 victory Friday at the Thunderdome as the northern ‘mont’ defeated the sourthern ‘mont’ for the second time this season.
Jarell Taylor and Jason Biggs paced the Northmont attack with 19 points each while Jimmy Bergman had 15 and Darius Dunson 13 to lead the Firebirds.
Taylor played a consistent game by scoring 10 first half points and nine in the second half. Biggs on the other hand had a tough time finding his stroke. He was held scoreless in the first half but came to life in the third quarter with 12 points and seven in the fourth, including some big steals. Northmont Coach Collin Abels attributed Biggs’ first half slump as a case of trying too hard.
“I give our assistant coaches credit. In the first half they kept Jason calm because he is an emotional player,” Abels said. “When you start to struggle you start to emotionally get away from the things that allow you to have success. Our assitatant coaches did a great job on the bench in the first half and then Coach Spears at halftime talked to him about how the first half doesn’t matter. What matters is how you play the second half. He told Biggs, whether we win or not will be somewhat dependent on how you play in the second half. I am proud of him and the way he responded. He made some big baskets, hit some huge free throws down the stretch and came up with some big steals.”
Abels also credited Biggs for distributing the ball well. Late in the game in a two on one situation Biggs came to a jump stop and dished the ball to Myles Tanner for a basket. Tanner finished with nine points, four in the first quarter and five when it counted most in the fourth quarter.
Taylor also had a big role in the victory with steady play in all four quarters.
“I want to give Jelly Taylor credit,” Abels said. “The two things about him is, if he plays with tremendous energy and plays solid, smart basketball defensively he is as good a big man as there is in the league. I think where he sometimes hurts himself is that he either doesn’t play with that tremendous effort or he gets himself in foul trouble instead of just being smart playing defense. The last few games he has played with tremendous heart and tremendous energy. He has done what we’ve asked him to do defensively and when he does that he is as good as anyboy in the league.”
The Thunderbolts took a 15-7 lead after the first quarter but Fairmont got pair of 3-pointers in the second period from Jimmy Bergman and began to put the heat on. Northmont slowed the game down and held a 23-19 lead at halftime. Biggs scored 12 points in the third quarter to counter two more treys by Bergman, one by Kellen Bochenek and baskets by Dunson and Cade Morgan to enable Northmont to cling to a 39-34 lead entering the final period.
Biggs went 4 for 4 at the charity stripe in the final 20 seconds to help Northmont secure the victory.
Northmont plays at Wayne on Tuesday when the Thunderbolts will try to hand the Warriors their first loss of the season and then travels to Beavercreek on Friday, Feb. 5.
FMT 07 19 34 51 – 51
NMT 15 23 39 56 – 56
Fairmont: Darius Dunson 13, Cade Morgan 9, Jimmy Bergman 15, Jansen Davidson 2, Kamron Drollet 7, Kellan Bochenek 5. Totals: 18-7-51.
Northmont: Jarell Taylor 19, Myles Tanner 9, Jabari Perkins 3, Rodney Richardson 2, Arius Spears 4, Jason Biggs 19. Totals: 19-14-56.
3-point goals: Fairmont 8 (Bergman 5, Drollet 2, Bochenek); Northmont 4 (Biggs 2, Taylor, Perkins).
Records: Fairmont 5-13 (1-5), Northmont 10-7 (4-2).
JV Score: Northmont 60 Fairmont 49.