West Holmes Boys Basketball

Admiral Ackbar’s warning too late as Bobcats spring a trap to defeat Knights 71-50

"It's a trap!"

To quote beloved Star Wars character Admiral Gial Ackbar, who uttered what is perhaps one of the most iconic lines ever from a Star Wars movie, “It’s a trap!”

On Tuesday, February 14, the Norwayne Bobcats (11-9) played the role of the Galactic Empire and sprung a trap on the West Holmes Knights (1-20).

Unlike the Republic Army in Star Wars, there was no escape from the teeth of this trap. The trap the Bobcats expertly played out was a ferocious defensive half-court trap that saw them go from a seven point deficit early in the third quarter to a seven point lead that seemingly took fewer seconds that it took for Admiral Ackbar to utter his famous line. That deceiving trap led to a 71-50 Bobcats win in a game that for one half seemed like anything but a blowout.

“That stretch when they started to trap, we went from up seven to down nine in a heartbeat,” said West Holmes coach Keith Troyer. “We didn’t handle their trap well at all, and it happened in a hurry.”

“We came out after the half and went into our half-court trap, and I thought our kids executed that perfectly,” said Norwayne head coach Brian West. “There were four or five straight possessions where we got steals and converted them into scores on the other end. For West Holmes, it snowballed from there.”

The game began as anything but a blowout, as the two teams traded runs to draw to the end of the half nearly where they started. Josh Goudy gave the Knights an early 4-2 lead, but Norwayne would respond with a 12-3 run the rest of the way in the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead through one. That run was spurred by a pair of Alex Widmer threes and some tough inside play by big center Nate Weinman.

West Holmes responded quickly to start the second period. Chase Wells hit a jumper and Goudy hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but Norwayne’s Nick Besancon scored twice to keep Norwayne’s lead at 18-12. However, scores by Wells and Goudy helped the Knights crawl back to within two at 18-16. Eventually Connor Roach’s two free throws knotted the score at 20, and when Chance Wells dropped home a trey, the Knights were up 23-20. Weinman answered with an and-one, but a hustling play by Shane Jones right before the half gave the Knights a 25-23 half-time edge.

“We talked at the half about how we had absolutely no energy in the second quarter,” West said. “It showed on the floor. We were stagnant offensively, we weren’t reversing the ball well and it hurt us.”

Troyer said the first half and the fall into the abyss that was the second half was a microcosm of their season, one that has seen them play well at times, awhile struggling to put together that complete game effort.

Thus, the second half became a showcase for the Bobcats, who put together what West said was their best half of basketball this season. The trap paved the way for a 48-25 trouncing in quarters three and four. The lanky frame of Brevin Harris proved to be one of the biggest reasons the Bobcats trap worked. Harris was all over the place in the trap, and although he scored just four points, his presence on defense went a long way in turning the tide in the game.

Blaine Hager hit a three to open the half and Goudy followed with a score inside, and West Holmes looked like the team that was threatening to pull away. However, Widmer stepped into a huge 3-pointer, and Weinman scored inside before Connor Roach nailed a trey to give the Knights a 33-28 lead. Then came Admiral Ackbar’s surprise attack and the game was over. The defensive effort led to three Weinman scores from close range, Quinn Hiles scored off a steal as did Harris. In what was seconds, Norwayne went from trailing by five to leading 40-33. Goudy scored a pair of buckets, but Widmer fired in a pair of three-balls to give the Bobcats a 46-37 lead through three. Widmer seemed to step up big every time Norwayne needed a score.

“Alex is legit,” West said. ‘He is a great shooter and a true gym rat. He is smooth, and he is the same with his shot time after time.”

Any hopes West Holmes had disappeared in the initial moments of the fourth quarter. Continuing to trap, Norwayne went on a 13-0 run over the first two minutes to seal the deal. That run included not only a pair of threes from Hiles, but a rare four-point play in which he nailed a three, was fouled and made the free throw. By the time that happened, Norwayne had built a huge lead at 59-37. Hager and Chance Wells each scored five points and Slade Barnes hit a put-back late, but it was far from enough for West Holmes.

“I thought our second level kids came through tonight, and that was one of the best halves we have put together this year,” West said. Weinman finished with an impressive 27-point, 11-rebound night, Widmer added 17 points, Hiles scored 11 points and Harris pitched in with four points, adding three blocked shots.

The Knights got 13 points and four rebounds from Goudy, while Chance wells scored 10 points, Hager added eight points, Chase Wells tossed in six points, Roach scored five points and Brayden Chaney added three points. The active Jones only scored a pair of points, but did a great job cleaning the glass, collecting 10 rebounds. “We had a short stretch where we didn’t handle the pressure, we lost our composure and it killed us,” Troyer said. “Their trap definitely got us, and that was the game.”

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