Coach praises Quakers' effort in win
Dec 27, 2013 11:24 PM
NEW PHILADELPHIA Winter must be when the Quakers turn their minds exclusively to playing good basketball.
“I think we started playing better right after the (winter) solstice,” quipped New Philadelphia head basketball coach Chad Spurgeon after the Quakers handled West Holmes 67-55 Friday night in the nightcap of The Barnett Realtors Holiday Classic in the New Phila gym. “The days are getting longer now, and I think our effort and determination have come around the past few days, too.”
The Quakers will return to play at 8 tonight against Cincinnati St. Xavier, a 60-36 winner over Philo in the evening’s first game. West Holmes will play Philo at 6 tonight in the consolation game.
New Philadelphia (4-4 overall) continued its mastery over the Knights (6-2) in recent seasons thanks to a hot shooting night early in the game and some tough defense in the first half on West Holmes star guard Brady Arnold. The Quakers canned five of their 10 3-pointers on the night in the first quarter alone and held Arnold to six points in the first two quarters.
“I thought (Quaker sophomore guard) Braden Young did a nice job on Arnold early, keeping the ball away from him and trying to get him out of his comfort zone,” Spurgeon said. “We also shot the ball a lot better early and that helped our confidence.”
By the time Arnold heated up in the second half – 22 of his game-high 28 points in the final two quarters, including all eight of his team's points in the third quarter – the Quakers had taken over the game, building a double-digit lead in the third quarter that they would not give up.
“We've had a couple of team bonding nights and a couple of team bonding dinners the past few days,” said New Philadelphia senior Marco Colombo, who had five 3-pointers and a team-high 24 points, including a pretty rebound dunk.
“I think we just all decided we need to come together and play harder.
“We shot it well tonight and we played harder overall and that helps.”
The Quakers held a 32-27 lead at halftime before outscoring the Knights 18-8 in the third quarter to take a 50-35 bulge into the final eight minutes. New Philadelphia senior post Ethan Boose scored 11 of his 19 points in the final period to keep the Knights from building too much momentum.
“I thought we played hard, but we should have went to man (defense) a bit sooner,” said West Holmes coach Keith Troyer. “Come tournament time, games like these will help us. We're still finding ourselves and still working into our roles and I think we improved there, too.”
The Knights placed three players in double figures as Josh Neer and Scott Troyer added 10 apiece. West Holmes made 20 of 46 shots overall (6 of 17 in 3-pointers) and nine of 12 free throws.
New Philadelphia also had three players in double figures, as junior guard Dylan Hagan fired in four 3-pointers for 12 points. Overall the Quakers made 24 of 45 shots, including 10 of 21 in 3-pointers, but struggled again at the free throw line where they connected on 9 of 18.
Cincinnati St. Xavier, which includes Miami (OH) signee Rod Mills, will prove a big challenge for the Quakers tonight. The Bombers have lots of size and athleticism.
“They are very big and they have a lot of talent,” Colombo said. “We'll have to be scrappy and smart out there.”