Area Basketball

Quakers top Knights 74-50 in an absolute 3-for-all

Grant Baker

The sign over the doors of New Philadelphia’s gymnasium should have read “Gunslingers wanted: Blue collar workers need not apply.”

For the first two quarters of New Philadelphia’s Div. II 74-50 sectional final victory over West Holmes on Saturday, March 2, it looked like a wild west shoot-out, but instead of slinging bullets, the two teams traded firing threes. It was an unmitigated three-for-all.

The two teams combined to go an astronomical 16-of-26 from downtown in the first half, a half that saw Quakers’ all-time top-two 3-point artists Noah Begue and Nate Voll showcase exactly why they are where they are in Quakers’ lore by hitting three and four treys, respectively, in the game’s opening two quarters.

It was a three-point free-for-all that watched massive underdog West Holmes trade 3-point punches, Peyton McKinney connecting on two including one from somewhere around the West Holmes bus parked outside the gym and Bubba Hay coming off the bench to give the Knights two more including the lead late in the half.

“That was pretty wild,” West Holmes head coach Jordan Widder said. “For awhile it seemed like nobody had much of an interest in shooting inside the arc.”

“That was a phenomenal shooting night in the first half, both ways,” New Philadelphia head coach Matt Voll said. “I didn’t know for awhile if either team was going to get stops.”

Begue started the three-for-all party with a deep ball, and Knights’ junior Jacob Goudy answered right back. Voll and Begue hit from deep, but McKinney hit one and then hit another from close to 8 feet beyond the arc. With New Phila leading 15-13, off the bench came Hay to bury a triple and give the Knights a 16-15 lead after one quarter.

Goudy buried his second 3-pointer of the game to push the West Holmes lead to 19-15, but Voll knocked one down, and Brock Chumney also drilled a trey, and the Quakers regained the lead 21-19. Not to be outdone, Hay responded by chucking in a triple, but the Quakers’ had no qualms in replying in kind, Caden Richmond scoring from deep and Voll hammering home his third of the half to push the Quakers out to a 27-22 lead.

“That team has so many dangerous shooters you kind of have to pick and choose who you want to try to stop,” Widder said of the Quakers. “Voll and Begue are so dangerous as spot-up shooters. Then you have a kid like Jent Joseph who can penetrate and beat you or shoot the three.”

Goudy actually scored a bucket in the paint, a rarity in this half of high-flying hoops, and moments later Begue hit his third trey to make it 31-24. With New Phila up 33-25, West Holmes’ Grant Baker tossed in a three-ball to trim the Quakers’ lead to 33-28. Chumney scored on a drive, and New Phila got a late stop, then ran their offense to perfection as they weaved their way to getting the ball in the hands of Voll, who let loose with the 26th and final 3-point attempt of the half. A nothing but net later the Quakers entered intermission with a 39-28 edge.

“It is no secret that we do utilize the 3-point line a lot,” coach Voll said. “That is a big weapon for us. We feel like we have five kids who have the green light.”

West Holmes was still within striking distance, especially with the way they were shooting the rock, but an old nemesis jumped up and bit West Holmes. All season long the start of the second half has been absolute Kryptonite for the Knights, and it would be here again.

West Holmes dug its own grave early, turning the ball over on three straight possessions, and the Quakers made them pay. Voll scored three the old-fashioned way with a drive and a free throw; Jent Joseph scored on a put-back and then hit two free throws for a 46-28 lead. Mehki Johnson and Josh Schrock gave the Knights a thread of hope with driving scores to trim the deficit to 46-32, but New Phila turned it on and exploded for a quick kill, going on a nice run to build a large lead.

Stokey scored inside; Voll tossed in his fifth 3-pointer; West Holmes earned a technical foul for having six players on the floor, which turned into two Voll free throws; and Voll then split two more charity tosses. Just like that it was a 54-34 ball game.

Baker hit a triple for the Knights, but the damage was done. The intermission voodoo had worked its magic again against the Knights.

“We’ve got to find a way to get past that,” Widder said of the intermission blues that plagued his team this season. “I think now it is as much psychological as anything. Maybe it is because we play hard, then go sit for a few minutes and don’t come out focused. I think physically we are OK, but we need to get beyond that mental image of that getting in our heads.”

Three turnovers to begin the fourth period allowed Voll to score two lay-ups, and Joseph added a third. West Holmes seemed to simply run out of gas.

Six more points from Voll pushed the lead to 70-37. Hay connected on his third and fourth 3-pointers in the game, Shiloh Jones added another, and Garrett Eastep and Zach Stair each scored inside for West Holmes over the final minutes, but this one had been long sewn up in the Quakers’ favor.

“We took absolutely nothing for granted tonight, despite their record (3-20),” coach Voll said. “I have so much respect for their tradition there and the people there. Fortunately we were dialed in, but they made a few changes we didn’t have in our scouting report that kind of threw us early, and they were making plays, but credit our kids because I thought we really got locked in on both ends of the floor in the second half and made some nice things happen defensively. Chumney and Joseph are very athletic kids, and they got a lot of touches and deflections in the second half, and that was a credit to those two kids.”

Voll ended the night with a brilliant 25-point performance while Begue added 15, Joseph scored 10, Chumney added eight and Stokey added seven. The Knights were paced by a dozen from Hay while McKinney added nine, Goudy added eight and Baker scored six.

“I feel for our seniors,” Widder said. “This always hurts. But I have enjoyed every day of working with these guys, and I am looking forward to working hard with them this off-season and watching them grow and get better. It’s a great group of kids. We struggled, but we saw some kids improve on the floor and as leaders. We got a chance to see them cut down the nets tonight, and that is where we aspire to get to.”

New Philadelphia, the East district’s top seed, now advances to the district tournament with a 19-4 record.

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