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Nordonia boys basketball loses early lead, but wins playoff opener

by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor Published: March 1, 2017 9:42 PM

Nordonia boys basketball couldn't hang on to a double-digit first-half lead in its Division I playoff opener.

Fortunately for the Knight, they recovered in time to get the "W."

After spotting Nordonia a 9-1 lead to start the game, Cuyahoga Falls came back to take the lead in the fourth quarter, only to lose 58-56 in a Division I sectional final game March 1 at Falls.

Nordonia has won seven of its last nine games to improve to 8-15 on the season. The Knights will play at Medina March 4 at 7 p.m. in a sectional final game.

At first, Nordonia looked like it might run away with contest, as center Ryan Smith keyed a 9-1 Knights run to start the contest.

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Falls steadied the ship a bit, but the Knights still led 15-8 after one quarter.

Three-point shooting was a key for the Knights, as Nordonia would hit eight 3-pointers on the night, compared to just one for Falls.

Mike Piotrowski hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter alone, as the Knights led by as much as 27-14 with three minutes left in the half.

Falls was able to cut the lead a bit, as center Troy Tofil beat the buzzer with a layup, cutting the lead to 29-20 at the half.

Nordonia still led 40-30 midway through the third quarter, but the Knights started to lose their composure.

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Falls senior Ka'Von Gainer keyed a 7-0 run for the Black Tigers, cutting the lead to three. Gainer scored 20 of his game-high 22 points after halftime.

Falls trailed 45-40 after three quarters, but seemed to have the momentum.

With just under five minutes, Gainer drew a foul and Nordonia forward Luke Alders was called for a technical foul. Gainer hit all four free throws to make it 51-48 Nordonia.

Guard JaQuan Campbell then hit a layup and two free throws to give Falls its first lead at 52-51.

Smith then split a pair of free throws to make it 52-52 with 3:19 left in the game.

Gainer then hit a backdoor cut for a layup, but Nordonia forward Tye Evans was the hero down the stretch.

Evans went 6-of-6 from the line in the fourth quarter and hit a layup to make it 56-54 Knights.

A putback layup from Tofil tied it at 56-56 with a minute to go. Tofil had 18 points and nine rebounds on the night.

On Nordonia's next possession, Evans was fouled while shooting. He hit both free throws to make it 58-56 with 28 seconds left.

Falls called three timeouts in the last 28 seconds, the last of which came with 3.5 seconds left as Smith deflected the ball out of bounds.

Gainer got the ball on the inbounds, but with Evans in his face, his three-point attempt banged off the rim as time expired.

Evans finished with 20 points on the night, while Piotrowski had 14 and Smith had 13 for the Knights.


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