Boys fall to PV in double OT
The Northwestern boys basketball opened its season with a win in the first round of the annual Wilson Tip-Off Tournament, beating the host team and Colonial League rival 67-55 behind 25 points from Sam Yadush. The next night, the Tigers battled Pleasant Valley and went to the last second of the second overtime period before dropping a 67-64 decision on a three-point buzzer beater from Isaiah Howard.
After averaging 13 points per game last season, Yadush is off to a good start to his junior season, averaging 23 points per game in the season’s first two games by following up on the 25-point performance against Wilson with 21 against Pleasant Valley. The win over Wilson counts as a Colonial League regular season game.
On Saturday, the game was a constant shift of momentum as the two teams battled to take control and finished regulation tied at 53-53. After the first overtime period, the score remained tied, this time at 58.
Pleasant Valley took a quick 60-58 lead in the second overtime, but Devan Thomas looked to take over the game for Northwestern. Thomas pulled down a rebound and went right back up for a shot to tie the game. Less than 30-seconds later, Thomas hit one of two foul shots to give the Tigers a short-lived lead that evaporated on a basket by Michael Duviella and Howard followed with a jumper to make it 64-61 in favor of the Bears, giving them the biggest lead that either team had since the third quarter.
Northwestern got two foul shots from Thomas and Devin Bollinger nailed another to tie the game at 64 with 20 seconds left.
The Tiger defense disrupted the set play that the Bears looked to run, but Howard was able to snake around a defender and put up a three-pointer that dropped to give Pleasant Valley the win.
Thomas was the star down the stretch for Northwestern, scoring seven points in the two overtime periods and finishing with a game-high 23 points for the Tigers. Teammate Sam Yadush finished with 21, while Howard led Pleasant Valley with 18.
The Bears also got 17 points each from Deshawn Scarboro and Duviella.
“This was kind of a coming out for him,” said Northwestern coach Billy Hallman of Thomas. “We have had confidence in him all summer and coming into the year, he just had to believe in it. He started a little slow last night [Friday], but tonight he was ready to go. We count on him a lot.”
Northwestern saw an early six-point lead disappear in the first quarter and Pleasant Valley took a 26-23 lead on a three-pointer from Noah Neubert with 2:20 left in before half-time.
The Tigers rallied back and led by four at the break, only to see the Bears come out dominating the early third quarter when they went on a 12-2 run and led by seven.
The Tigers then went on a run of their own, outscoring Pleasant Valley 10-2 late in the third quarter and into the fourth.
The game was filled with three-point shots, with Pleasant Valley sinking seven from outside the arc and Northwestern hitting for six, with four from Yadush and two from Luke Hallman.
Yadush and Thomas were named to the All-Tournament team, while Howard was awarded the MVP award.
In splitting the two games over the weekend, Hallman believes that the team has already understands what it is going to have to do to be successful this season.
“We learned a lot,” said coach Hallman. “We really competed and that’s what we’ve been talking about a lot is competing on every possession. Tonight we didn’t give up.
“These are the kind of games you want to play and we’re only going to get better. This, hopefully, will propel us into the league now and we’ll be ready to play.”