Northridge too strong for Falcons 61-48

The Polar Bears overwhelmed visiting Fenwick for three-plus quarters, storming to a 55-27 lead before settling for a 61-48 nonconference boys basketball triumph.

“You’ve got to believe in the fact that at least you didn’t lay down and die,” said Falcons coach Pat Kreke, whose team slipped to 5-9. “I never question our kids’ effort. We played with our hearts too much and not enough with our brains. We played with no confidence for most of the game. We let them control both ends of the floor.”

Northridge played with speed, power and a full-court mentality, pressuring Fenwick from the get-go and forcing the visitors into nine turnovers in the opening period.

Drew Ogletree (19 points, six rebounds), Kie’Shawn Arnold (14 points, 10 boards) and Averon Ely (12 points, seven caroms) led the way for the Polar Bears (13-2).

“We’re at our best when we get off to a good start and we’re flying around like that,” Northridge coach Jeff Lisath said. “I didn’t like the way we finished. It’s a 32-minute game, so we have to have 32 minutes of relentless pressure.”

The Falcons never led and were never really in the game. The Polar Bears were ahead 19-9, 35-21 and 52-27 at the three stops, and it was 55-27 early in the fourth period before Fenwick rallied back to respectability.

Andy Riazzi sank three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and had 16 points for the Falcons. John Stomps added 11 points.

“We knew what they were going to do. We just didn’t handle it very well,” Riazzi said. “We started playing with some confidence and having fun in the fourth quarter. But it’s still a loss.”

Fenwick nearly got tripled on the glass. Northridge had five players with six or more rebounds, and the hosts were particularly impressive on the offensive boards.

The Falcons got three rebounds apiece from Stomps, Bradley Schuh, Luke Sennett and Riazzi.

“We came into the game with three goals,” Kreke said. “We needed to rebound, take care of the basketball and communicate on defense. We didn’t do those things. We didn’t do any of them.

“Northridge is good. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of size. They’ve got a nice combination out there. They’re not having the success they’re having because they’re lucky.”

The Polar Bears are 2-1 against the Greater Catholic League this year, having beaten Moeller and lost to Carroll. They are undefeated in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division.

Northridge was averaging 69.8 points per game before Saturday and hopes to make a statement in the Division III postseason. The Polar Bears buried Waynesville 102-67 on Friday.

“Our kids have put in the work for sure,” Lisath said. “You have to stay humble and hungry when you have success. Everybody wants a piece of you. Our kids have to understand that.”

Lisath is a former Miami University standout. He earned four letters (1979-82) playing for Darrell Hedric and was a tri-captain his senior year with Steve Allen and George Sweigert.

Northridge will go after its seventh straight win next Saturday against visiting Tri-County North. Fenwick will host GCL Coed rival Badin on Tuesday.

“We’ll bounce back,” Riazzi said. “We’ll come out strong against Badin.”

Fenwick 9-12-6-21—48

Northridge 19-16-17-9—61

FENWICK (5-9): Blake Kistner 1 0 2; Jimmy Gephart 1 3 5; Brett Jacobs 2 0 5; Luke Sennett 1 2 4; John Stomps 4 3 11; Bradley Schuh 2 1 5; Andy Riazzi 6 0 16. Totals: 17-9-48.

NORTHRIDGE (13-2): Kie’Shawn Arnold 5 4 14; Coyle Ballard 1 0 2; Averon Ely 4 3 12; Anthony Carroll 3 0 8; Drew Ogletree 6 7 19; D’Anthony Ivery 1 0 2; Austin McLaughlin 1 0 2; Tommy Sims 0 2 2. Totals: 21-16-61.

3-pters: F 5 (Riazzi 4, Jacobs), N 3 (Carroll 2, Ely)

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