GALION — Poor shooting in the second half and a lack of rebounding throughout the game cost Norwalk its control of first place in the Northern Ohio League.
The Truckers lost to Galion, 52-46, Tuesday night at Galion High School in NOL boys’ basketball.
The loss drops Norwalk to 13-4, 10-2 on the season and tied with Shelby for first place in the league.
Each team has two NOL games left.
Norwalk hosts Willard Friday and Fostoria Feb. 25.
The Whippets host Fostoria Thursday and go to Upper Sandusky Feb. 25.
After a back-and-forth first quarter against Galion, Norwalk seized the lead at 13-11 on an Evan Light three-pointer as the first quarter clock expired.
The Truckers used the momentum to build a seven-point lead twice before halftime, as the Tigers shot just 1-of-8 to start the second quarter. The score at halftime was 29-23 in favor of Norwalk.
After posting 12-of-28 numbers from the floor in the first half, Norwalk went cold to begin the second half.
Norwalk shot just 4-of-17 from the field in the third quarter and saw its six-point halftime lead taken away from it on a Ridge Durbin three with 3:12 left in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the Tigers went 7-of-14 in the third quarter to take a 40-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
The first points of the final quarter came on a Light two-pointer to make it 40-39 Galion with 5:31 left in the game.
The Tigers then went on a 5-0 run to force a Norwalk timeout with 2:13 left in the game. Galion held its biggest margin at that point, leading 45-39.
After a Tiger turnover, Norwalk’s Jake Fetherolf added an put-back to make it 45-41 Galion with 1:07 left in the game.
The Truckers would never get any closer.
As Norwalk began to foul to conserve time, Galion shot 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to seal the win.
Norwalk shot just 8-of-29 in the second half, compared to 9-of-19 for Galion. The Truckers shot just 3-of-8 on free throws, while Galion went 11-of-16.
Galion dominated Norwalk on the boards all night, outrebounding the Truckers 38-24.
“I thought Galion played a great game,” Truckers coach Steve Gray said. “They rebounded harder, they got every loose ball and I don’t think we as a group handled success very well.”
For the Truckers, Jake Fetherolf continued his recent strong play with 15 points and nine rebounds. Ben Haraway notched 12 points Evan Light added 10 off the bench.
“I thought our rebounding was atrocious,” the coach added. “I thought our ability to keep them off the boards was unbelievable. Tonight they were a better team, they wanted it more and it makes our job a little bit harder now.”
Gray said he was displeased with the collective effort of his team.
“We just didn’t as a group put forth enough effort to do the things we’re capable of doing,” he said. “If we don’t put forth more effort than we did tonight, we’re in trouble.”
“We’re a young team and we learned a valuable lesson tonight,” the coach added. “We still have an opportunity to do something very, very special this year.”
Tigers coach Tim Birie talked about what his team’s keys were entering the contest.
“We had to handle their pressure, and we have to get stops and rebounds,” Birie said. “And if we could do those two things, then we would get shots. And I thought we did a great job of that.”
Birie mentioned the difference in the second half in which Galion outscored Norwalk, 29-17.
“The key to the second half was…we guarded, we rebounded and we ran,” Birie said. Everyone talks about how athletic we are, and in the second half it showed.”
Andrew Nicholls scored 22 to lead all players. Chad McCray added 11 points and eight rebounds. Marc McCuen controlled the paint in the second half, tallying 11 rebounds for the game and 4-of-4 from the line in the final minute of the game.
Norwalk won the reserve contest, 59-51. Shane McGuckin tossed in 13 points, while Cody Gregory and Michael Finch added 10 each.
Haraway 5-2-12, Light 4-0-10, Cook 3-0-6, Thomas 1-0-3, Fetherolf 7-1-15. Totals: 20-3-46.
Durbin 1-0-3, Nicholls 9-3-22, McCray 4-3-11, Kirk 3-0-6, Huggins 1-1-3, McCuen 1-4-7. Totals: 19-11-52.
Score by quarter
Norwalk 13 16 8 9 — 46
Galion 11 12 17 12 — 52
Gregory 4-2-10, G. Hull 2-2-8, Finch 4-2-10, Obringer 1-0-3, Foos 2-0-5, K. Cashen 1-1-3, R. Hull 2-2-7, McGuckin 6-1-13. Totals: 22-10-59.
Noggle 0-1-1, Johnson 1-0-3, Armistad 2-1-5, Keller 1-0-2, Burket 9-2-21, Clouse 5-3-13, Blair 2-1-6. Totals: 20-8-51.
Score by quarter
Norwalk 14 12 15 18 — 59
Galion 18 7 12 14 — 51