CLAYTON — Northmont limited Greenville to just three baskets during the first half to open up a 17 point lead early in the second quarter, but the Green Wave came storming back to cut the Thunderbolts’ lead to 10 with just over three minutes to play.
Northmont settled down in the final minutes to post an 82-69 victory, but they had to work to earn it.
Isaiah Gable, who led Greenville with 22 points, and Aaron Rich (20 points), led the late surge. Rich scored 18 points in the second half while Gable had 15. Gable, Kyle Mills and Kyle Phillips each nailed a three-pointer in the second quarter to account to the Wave’s only first half buckets.
The Thunderbolts took a 10-5 lead midway through the first quarter and limited Greenville to a single free throw the remainder of the opening period to open up an 18-6 lead. Northmont led 37-22 at the half and led by 21 points, 58-37 by the end of the third period. After that Greenville started chipping away at the lead.
“Northmont’s offensive rebounding hurt us,” said Greenville Coach Kyle Joseph. “They got a lot of points around the rim. In the first half we didn’t make a single two pointer, so I think those points in the paint that they got came as a result of their rebounding. I was really proud of our kids. They didn’t quit and it would have been really easy to do that trailing by 22, but we cut it down to 10 points at one point.”
Joseph was pleased with how Gable and Rich led his team’s second half surge.
“We have seven seniors and those are two guys who have been through adversity before,” Joseph added. “They kept playing and kept fighting and played well for us.”
Northmont led 61-39 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Phillips scored inside and drew a foul and sank the free throw and Devin Hendrix sank a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 17. Vinson Walker countered with a dunk for Northmont but Greenville kept battling away and cut the Thunderbolts’ lead to 10 on a three-pointer by Gable to make it 71-61 with 3:12 remaining.
Down the stretch Northmont’s quickness and offensive rebounding were too much for Greenville to overcome. The Thunderbolts did a good job of distributing the ball with 12 players contributing to the victory. Vinson Walker led the team with 16 points while Rodney Richardson, Christian Wilson and DaLonte Capers each scored 12.
“It was a good lesson. We played stretches really, really well and then went through a stretch where we made some mistakes and got away from our principles and our fundamentals defensively and gave them some opportunities to score,” said Northmont Coach Collin Abels. “This is a game of runs and a game of momentum, so when you let a team start to claw back in they start to gain some confidence. We talked to our guys to make sure that we understand what got us that big lead so that we continue to do those things and not let a team claw their way back in so that they gain that kind of confidence.”
Abels credited Rich and Gables for their fine efforts for Greenville.
“They are two very good players,” Abels noted. “The Gable kid averaged about 19 points a game last year and Rich averaged 10. I was pleased with how well we guarded Gable in the first half but in the second half we got away from our fundamentals defensively and to their credit, both are good players. So when you are not where you are supposed to be and doing what you’re supposed to do they are going to make you pay.”
The fans were very vocal and involved in the team’s first home game with a nice turnout to launch the season. Abels was appreciative of the support the team received.
“I was absolutely thrilled with the atmosphere and energy tonight,” Abels added. “I thought our guys really fed off the crowd, the band, the cheerleaders and everybody who came out to support us. I told our guys, if you want people to fill the stands you’ve got to win and you’ve got make them feel like they are a part of it and tonight the crowd was amazing.”
Next Friday night the Thunderbolts play at Lebanon while Greenville travels to Troy.
GRV 06 22 37 69 – 69
NMT 18 37 58 82 – 82
Greenville: Devin Hendrix 2, Trae Wood 1, Peter Pandey 3, Kyle Phillips 9, Kyle Mills 8, Aaron Rich 20, Isaiah Gable 22, Will Coomer 2, Noah Vanhorn 2. Totals: 20-23-69.
Northmont: Anthony Dorsey 8, Jabari Perkins 7, Rodney Richardson 12, Christian Wilson 12, Maurice Beavers 6, Vinson Walker 16, Arius Spears 3, Kameron Mathis 1, Cameron Rucker 2, DaLonte Capers 12, Danny Lewis 1, Kenyon Sneed 2. Totals: 31-19-82.
3-point baskets: Greenville 6 (Phillips 2, Mills 2, Gable 2); Northmont 1 (Perkins).
Records: Greenville 0-1, Northmont 1-0.