After a 63-41 blowout loss to Willard December 21, the Truckers (4-2, 2-0) rebounded at home in a big way with a huge 66-35 win against Vermilion in Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division action Friday at the high school.
Garrett Chapin got Norwalk’s offense going early when he scored a pair of quick baskets to put the Truckers up 4-0. He finished with an efficient game-high 20 points and made 7-of-10 shots he took.
After Zach Kovak (12 points) scored on a lay-in for the the Sailors (0-8, 0-3) to put them down a basket at 4-2, the Truckers shifted into high gear and scored 14 unanswered points to put them ahead double digits, and Vermilion was never able to get close the rest of the way.
Norwalk shot a blistering 65 percent from the field and went 9-of 12 from the free-throw line while holding the Sailors to just 36 percent from the field — Vermilion didn’t make a foul shot in four attempts and turned the ball over 20 times times as they were unable to solve the Trucker defense.
“I thought we played exceptionally well tonight,” Norwalk coach Steve Grey said. “We changed a lot of what we were doing over the past two weeks, and the kids have done a good job of implementing it.
“The whole team played together, and Ryan Sowders (10 points, five steals) I thought was great tonight,” he added. “He did a lot of nice things. He was effective running through the passing lanes and gave them problems on defense.”
The effort was there for Vermilion, but they made too many mistakes to compete with a talented team like Norwalk.
“The guys are really playing hard out there,” Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl said. “We just can’t get out of our own way, and these teams like Norwalk that we are playing are really good. So you can’t keep making the same mistakes.
“We are doing some nice things out there, but the frustrating part is that we keep making the same mistakes,” he added. “One of the things we have talked about is that when our anxiety levels rise we really struggle and we have now played eight games and we should be getting to the point where we are no longer anxious when we get out there.”
With the win Norwalk is off until next Thursday (Jan. 2), when it will play host to Sandusky (5-0, 2-0) in another SBC Lake Division rivalry. The two teams have gone back and forth for the SBC Lake title in each of the first two seasons of the big school division since it debuted prior to 2017-18, and they are again near the top in the early going as 2020 nears.
“Our goal is to play at our standard regardless of who play, and we played at a high level tonight,” Grey said. “We just have to continue building the team and get better overall. We have always said that teams are made over Christmas break.”
In the junior varsity game, Norwalk improved to 5-1 with a 37-29 win. Drew Shope had 10 points and seven rebounds for the JV Truckers, while Daniel Traczek added eight points and Jamyis Williams had six points and six rebounds.
VERMILION (0-8, 0-3)
Zach Kovach 6-0—12, Zach Jones 3-0—6, Gus Matheson 1-0—2, Donnie Lewis 2-0—4, Ben Rini 1-0—2, Jack Wells 3-0—7, Uriah Rhodes 1-0—2. TOTAL 17-0—37.
NORWALK (4-2, 2-0)
Garret Chapin 7-4—20, Garrett Obringer 4-2—11, Kyler Lacy 5-0—10, Ryan Sowders 5-0—10, Jad Oglesby 2-2—6, Will Gelhausen 2-0—4, Andrew Mozina 1-1—3, Daniel Traczek 1-0—2. TOTALS 27-9—66.
Vermilion 4 14 11 6 — 35
Norwalk 18 19 13 13 — 66
3-point FGs (V) Wells; (N) Chapin 2, Obringer.