The evils that haunted the West Holmes Knights all season long reared their ugly head in the Steubenville Div. II sectional opener versus New Philadelphia Friday, Feb. 19.
West Holmes scored the first points of the contest against the Quakers, then struggled in every aspect of the game en route to a 71-45 loss that bumped them from tournament play.
Having struggled to a two-win season to date, the Knights recorded too many turnovers, struggled to get the ball in the hole, succumbed to some serious on-ball trapping pressure and simply didn’t have enough firepower to stop the Quakers’ attack.
New Philadelphia, a heavy favorite coming into the contest at 14-8, didn’t hesitate in letting West Holmes know it was not going to take the Knights lightly.
After trailing 2-0, New Philadelphia scored eight straight points to forge an 8-2 lead. After the teams traded scores to a 12-4 Quakers lead, Josh Goudy, the one Knight to have some success on the offensive end of the floor, knocked down two free throws to trim the deficit to 12-6.
That would be as good as it gets for the Knights, as Braden Young would can a trifecta to give the Quakers a 15-6 first quarter edge.
That lead would go to 15-6 before Connor Roach, who also played well in the loss, would drop home a pair of free throws to get the Knights to within 15-10. However, a Logan Bitikofer put-back would move the Quakers out to a 20-10 edge. When Bitikofer scored again later in the second quarter, and Young and Zander Ricklic both drilled 3-pointers, New Phila had quickly built a commanding 30-12 lead.
Roach scored inside and after a stop, Goudy clicked again inside off a nifty pass from Blaine Hager, and the Knights trimmed the deficit to 14 at 30-16. But just as quickly, Michael Karl scored three points and Ricklic hit again inside. Hager’s buzzer-beating triple to end the half gave West Holmes some hope, as it now trailed 36-19.
When Roach scored on ap air of charity tosses to begin the third quarter, West Holmes was as close as it had been for a while, down 36-21.
But Young would sandwich a trey and a lay-up around a Karl score, and New Phila was back up by 22 at 43-21.
Goudy scored twice inside to keep the deficit at 20 points, but late scores from Ricklic and Nate Voll gave the Quakers a 48-25 lead.
An 8-4 New Phila run to end the quarter, led by Karl and Ricklic, left the Knights trailing big at 57-29.
Goudy scored seven points and Chase Wells hit on a driving lay-up to propel the Knights on a 9-4 run to start the fourth quarter,. But it would be far too late to mount a meaningful comeback for West Holmes.
Joe Booth scored eight points in garbage time for New Phila, and a few of the Knights youngsters got in some tournament action and performed capably, including Shane Jones, who scored four points, and Grady Hay, who sparked the Knights late and scored his first career points on a driving baseline lay-up.
Goudy would end his night with a game-high 17-point effort, tacking on three rebounds while making 6-of-8 action shots. Wells may have not had his usual scoring effort, but the feisty sophomore guard did lead the Knights in rebounds with five. Roach added six points, with Hager adding five, Jones tacking on four, Ethan Kinsey had three and Hay and Bryce Myers each scored a pair.
Leading the way for the Quakers was Young, who tallied 14 points and added four rebounds and four assists, while Karl and Ricklic each chipped in with 11 points.
New Phila won the rebounding battle, but it was close at 29-23, while the Quakers did rack up a solid 12 assists. And while the Knights weren’t putrid in the shooting department, canning 15-of-35 action shots, they struggled from downtown, making just 1-of-8. More importantly, the Knights found no success in stopping the Quakers’ offensive surge. New Phila went a stellar 24-of-50 from the floor, including hitting 8-of-23 trifecta attempts. Just as important, was New Phila’s ability to limit its turnovers, the Quakers committing just seven on the night, ands also used a ferocious half-court trapping defense to create 13 first-half turnovers for the Knights.
New Phila advanced to 15-8 and will now face Morgan, which knocked off Claymont 66-42, in a district semifinal contest. Claymont was one of the two teams West Holmes has beaten this season. The Other team the Knights have taken down is the Clear Fork Colts, a team West Holmes will end its campaign with in its final regular season tilt.