AW Clinches Share Of NLL Title, Loses In Tourney

AW senior Evan Ruhe (22) battles for a rebound against Northview. MIRROR PHOTO BY KEVIN FINNIGAN

BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Two major events happened for the Anthony Wayne boys basketball team over the weekend – one good and one not so good.

In the Northern Lakes League tournament championship on Friday at Perrysburg, Northview defeated AW, 74-62.

In a league game played on Sunday, however, Southview defeated North-view, 74-70 in overtime, and that could be enough to award the Generals an outright NLL championship.

AW finished 6-1 at the close of the regular season, losing only to the Wildcats, who then lost to Southview and Perrysburg (58-54) to finish 5-2 in the league.

Meanwhile, the Cougars are still in the mix at 4-1 and set to play Perrysburg on Monday, plus they still have a game with Springfield that has yet to be rescheduled, if at all, if they are to be co-champs.

While Anthony Wayne got through every NLL team except Northview, the Generals had a hard time handling the Wildcats this season.

Northview has defeated AW on three occasions, accounting for all but two of AW’s losses this year. The Generals closed the regular season 10-5 overall, while Northview is 19-3. 

In the season opener and official NLL encounter, the Wildcats won, 69-62. They also won a non-league game, 80-56, in early February and then the NLL tourney championship last Friday.

The Generals were hoping the third time would be a charm, similar to Southview’s win on Sunday just four days after the Wildcats had routed the Cougars, 80-47, in the tourney semifinals.

To change things up, AW employed a zone defense at the start, hoping to slow Northview down.

“We tried to a little just to stifle and change it up, so we were not so predictable, and it worked for a couple of possessions,” said AW coach Josh Arthur.

“We missed a couple rotations out of it, but they just made a lot of shots. We rebounded and we took away their transition points for the most part. We did everything we needed, but they just buried a lot of shots.”

Northview guards Kasey Hunt and Brendon Sharp and forward Sean Craig all hit 3-pointers to propel the Wildcats to a 21-16 first-quarter lead.

On a feed from AW senior guard Garret Pike, senior guard Dominic Debo drove and scored with 5:10 to go in the first half to make it a one-possession game, 26-23.

Northview led 35-29 at halftime, but it was the 6-foot-6 Craig who continued to be unstoppable, hitting four treys on his way to 29 points, plus he grabbed 10 rebounds and had two steals.

“Sean Craig has developed a 3-point shot and he is a pretty tough guard out there and he’s making a couple threes on top of that. It’s a credit to him,” Arthur said.

Northview guard Grant Kopan had 12 points, five rebounds and two steals and forward Justin Noe scored 12 to lead the ‘Cats.

Pike had 20 points and five rebounds, senior forward Evan Ruhe scored 12 points and Debo added 10 to lead the Generals.

The game was nearly even in rebounding, 31-30 in AW’s favor, but Northview was 25-for-54 from the field, made 12-of-14 free throws and had just five turnovers. As a team, the ‘Cats hit 10 treys.

The Generals were 22-for-49 from the field, made 13-of-19 free throws and had six turnovers.

Hunt and Sharp scored eight points apiece, forward Jared Matuszewski had three and guard Braden Tackett scored two for the ‘Cats.

For AW, senior guard Evan Anderson had nine points and nine rebounds, junior guard Jacob Copley scored six points, senior forward T.J. Winston had three and sophomore guard Parker Schofield added two.

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