WADSWORTH — Alex Alders is an All-Ohio wide receiver for Nordonia’s football team, but he’s also quite skilled on the hardwood.
The junior power forward scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds Friday in leading the Knights to a 64-52 win over Wadsworth in Suburban League boys basketball action.
Alders made 8-of-11 field goals, including 4-of-6 3-pointers, and 3-of-4 free throws as Nordonia (8-7, 4-5) handed the Grizzlies (8-6, 5-4) a costly conference defeat.
“That was a great win for us as a team and a great performance by Alex,” Knights coach Matt Cash said. “He’s been our leader, and developing leadership skills is something we’ve been working on all year with our young team, so I’m very proud of him.”
Alders only scored five points in Wadsworth’s 65-47 win at Nordonia on Dec. 14, but was the best player on the court in their rematch. The 6-foot-1 sharpshooter had 13 points in the first half as the Knights built a 35-29 lead, his only miss coming on a 35-footer at the buzzer.
Junior small forward Austin White scored 17 points and senior center Kyle Prunty collected 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies, but the All-Gazette duo shot just 8-for-27 from the field thanks to suffocating defense by Nordonia.
“That’s all Bill Cash. He’s my defensive coordinator and he designed our game plan,” a smiling Cash said of his father, a longtime Strongsville girls basketball coach. “We learned a lot about what we wanted to do against Wadsworth tonight based on what happened the first time we played.”
The Grizzlies entered the evening one game behind SL tri-leaders Highland, Tallmadge and Green, but fell two off the pace with just five contests to play.
Wadsworth’s problem was two-fold: It couldn’t stop the Knights from making 9-of-14 3-pointers and its bench was outscored 19-3 over the first three quarters.
“We definitely couldn’t stop Alders tonight, but I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t contest their other shots better,” Grizzlies coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “Then again, even when we did play good defense, they were finding ways to score, which can be very demoralizing to a team. They just had our number tonight.”
Junior power forward Joel Kipfer chipped in seven points and five boards for Wadsworth, which also received four rebounds and two assists from senior shooting guard Barry Fernholz.
Nordonia senior point guard Eli Linder had 12 points and three assists while coming off the bench for the first time this season. The returning starter was unable to attend a practice earlier in the week.
The Knights shot exactly 50 percent for the game, while the Grizzlies made just 32 percent of their field goal attempts and were 5-for-24 on 3-pointers.
“Wadsworth dominated us the first time we played, so that was definitely on our mind,” Cash said. “Based on that, our goal was simply to come out and compete for 32 minutes.
“To our guys’ credit, they put together four really good quarters against a very well-coached team tonight. We’re getting better every game and this was another sign of the progress we’re making.”
|The Grizzlies only passed for two assists in the second half, but decisively won the rebounding battle for the game 32-24.|
lWadsworth’s junior varsity pitched a shutout in the first quarter en route to a 56-38 triumph. Sophomore Daniel Weinerman scored a game-high 16 points for the Grizzlies.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.
Nordonia 64, Wadsworth 52
NORDONIA 17 18 18 11 — 64
WADSWORTH 17 12 11 12 — 52
Nordonia — David Murray 2-0-4, Alex Alders 8-3-23, Diallo Niamke 2-0-4, Max Hartman 3-2-9, Jordan Adams 1-0-3, Brandon Gamble 1-0-2, Eli Linder 3-4-12, Ryan Smith 2-2-7. TOTALS: 22-11-64.
Wadsworth — Austin White 5-3-17, Joel Kipfer 3-1-7, Kyle Prunty 3-4-10, Patrick Long 2-0-5, Tyson Heideman 2-0-4, Nick Hewitt 1-0-2, Cliff Colyer 2-1-5, Barry Fernholz 0-0-0, Jimmy Elchlinger 1-0-2, Ben Bingham 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-9-52.
3-point goals — Alders 4, Linder 2, Hartman, Adams, Smith, White 4, Long. Rebounds — Nordonia 24 (Alders 8), Wadsworth 32 (Prunty 13). Assists — Nordonia 12 (Hartman, Linder 3), Wadsworth 10 (White 3). Records — Nordonia (8-7, 4-5), Wadsworth (8-6, 5-4). Junior varsity —Wadsworth 56, Nordonia 38.