December 12, 2014 BASKETBALL: Willard at Ontario
ONTARIO – Ontario jumped to a fast start and played tremendous defense the entire game to run away from Willard 61-39 Friday night at the O-rena.
It was the opening night of Northern Ohio League play and the Warriors improved to 3-0 overall, 1-0 in the league.
Coach Joe Balogh’s bunch got busy early, with Paul Homan’s two treys helping Ontario roll to an 8-0 advantage.
“I thought defensively, that’s as good an effort as we’ve had in our program in many, many years,” Balogh said. “We made everything that they had to take very, very tough.
“I thought Paul (Homan) making some shots early on was key.”
Willard climbed to within 14-8 at the end of the first quarter, and a 3-pointer by Carson Ebert closed the margin to 16-11 early in the second period. But that was as close as the Flashes (1-2, 0-1) would get.
The Warriors kicked it into another gear when back-to-back steals fueled an 8-0 burst that pushed the gap to 43-25.
“I thought Lenell (Shelby) was really good throughout, getting in the lane and being strong with the basketball and decision-making was just really, really good,” Balogh said.
The Ontario advantage grew as high as 25 points, 57-32, before Balogh emptied his bench.
“Our bench has been really good,” Balogh said. “Our bench, in all three games so far, has had a sequence where they’ve just kind of turned the tide.”
Willard was held to 14-of-45 shooting and 3-of-14 from beyond arc. Ontario outrebounded the Flashes 33 to 23 and forced them into 15 turnovers.
Ontario shot 23 of 43 from the field for 53.8 percent and made 4 of 8 from 3-point range. If there was one weakness it was foul shooting. The Warriors made just 11 of 19 free throws, while Willard connected on 8 of 12 charity tosses.
“A big emphasis we had this week was to make sure we rebounded the basketball,” Balogh said. “We thought that was going to be a high-priority with our games this weekend and I was really pleased, especially with the toughness that our kids showed at the defensive end of the floor, going and getting some rebounds; not only our post kids, but our perimeter guys.”
Shelby led all scorers with 14 points for Ontario. Griffin Ness added 11 points off the bench and Homan chipped in 10. Andrew Rathburn scored eight points and Bradley Garverick had seven.
For Willard, Carson Ebert had nine points, Keaton Moore scored seven off the bench, Jordan Moore had six and Gage Keaton had five.
Ontario will host Lexington tonight, while Sandusky travels to Willard on Tuesday night.
Willard ALS Fundraiser
There will be a silent auction at next Saturday night’s Bellevue at Willard boys basketball game as part of a fundraiser to combat Lou Gherig’s Disease. Bidding ends at halftime of the game, and includes Major League Baseball memorabilia in connection with C.C. Sabathia, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, Carlos Beltron, Jimmy Rollins, Orel Hershiser, Andrew McCutchen, Mark Teixeira and others. Cash is expected for payment.