The Norwalk Truckers did their part Friday to remain in the hunt for a Northern Ohio League boys’ basketball championship.
The Truckers topped the Flashes, 51-49 improving to 14-4 overall, 11-2 in the league.
Shelby also won, downing Fostoria 72-36 and also have an 11-2 NOL mark.
After going to Huron today for a non-league contest, Norwalk concludes the regular season Friday at Fostoria.
The Whippets host Ontario Tuesday and play Friday at Upper Sandusky.
“We hope the community will go with us to Fostoria,’’ Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “If we’re fortunate to end on the correct side of the scoreboard, we hope the community and students will celebrate.’’
Meanwhile, Willard dropped to 9-9 and 6-7. They host Madison tonight and Bellevue Friday to end the regular season.
Norwalk, which swept the Flashes for the first time since 2006-07, rallied from a 39-32 third-quarter deficit.
The game was tied at 45, 47 and 49, before the Truckers broke the deadlock for good when Jake Fetherolf put in two free throws with four seconds left.
Jalen Douglas’ game-winning shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
“We’re a really, really good team when we hold teams to under 50 points,’’ Gray said. “We got some defensive stops.”
Fetherolf led Norwalk with 16 points, while Darian Cook tossed in 12.
The Truckers were playing without freshman point guard Ben Haraway, who has been battling the flu and only saw the floor for a brief period of time.
“I thought it was a gutty performance without our point guard,’’ Gray said. “How about Jeff Thomas, a freshman playing the point?”
Douglas netted 15 points and Joe Loar added 12 for Willard.
“They got the ball in key offensive operation areas and good teams make big plays,’’ Flashes coach Dave Hirschy said.
Willard led 12-10 after the first quarter and 26-24 at halftime. The Flashes stretched that advantage to 39-32 with 3:21 left in the third on a Nate Storts three-pointer.
The Truckers closed the margin to 42-39 after three when Jacob Cashen converted a triple. Norwalk took a 49-47 lead with 1:15 remaining when Cook hit two free throws on an intentional foul call.
Douglas’ bucket tied the game at 49 with 49 seconds left, before the Truckers played for the last shot. Fetherolf cut across the lane and was fouled going up for a shot.
Norwalk shot 22-of-51 from the field and 6-of-7 from the line with 30 rebounds and 16 turnovers. Fetherolf pulled down nine rebounds.
The Flashes were 17-of-47 from the field and 11-of-15 from the charity stripe with 21 boards and 14 turnovers. Loar grabbed six rebounds and Hayden Adams added five.
In the reserve game, Willard handed Norwalk its first loss of the season, 63-49.
Matt Cok scored 23 points, including four triples for the Flashes (12-6, 9-4). Brendon Wagoner put in 14 points.
Cody Gregory had 20 points and Grant Hull 13, with three threes, for the Truckers (17-1, 12-1).
The Flashes were aided by a 32-17 halftime lead.
Phillips 2-0-4, N. Storts 1-0-3, Loar 4-4-12, Douglas 6-2-15, Temple 2-1-7, Adams 0-2-2, Hahler 2-2-6. Totals: 17-11-49.
Light 2-0-4, Hallock 3-0-6, Cook 4-4-12, Thomas 2-0-4, Fetherolf 7-2-16, Cashen 4-0-9. Totals: 22-6-51
Score by quarter
Willard 12 14 16 7 — 49
Norwalk 10 14 15 12 — 51
Cok 6-7-23, Adelman 3-0-7, Wagoner 4-4-14, Bohach 1-1-3, A. Storts 1-1-3, Tuttle 2-2-6, Buurma 3-1-7. Totals:
Gregory 7-6-20, Finch 0-2-2, G. Hull 5-0-13, Foos 3-0-7, R. Hull 2-0-5, McGuckin 1-0-2. Totals: 18-8-49
Score by quarter
Willard 21 11 14 17 — 63
Norwalk 9 8 18 14 — 49