Two Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division rivals entered Saturday night’s contest trying to get the taste of a bad loss out of their mouths.
Visiting Bellevue had lost, 53-37, to Clyde on Thursday, while host Norwalk fell at home, 62-36, to unbeaten Sandusky on the same night.
But on Saturday, after a fairly even first quarter that ended with Norwalk shooting three free throws thanks to a foul at the buzzer, the Truckers eventually cruised to a lopsided 60-28 win on their home court.
The Truckers (5-3,3-1) answered the challenge laid out to them from coach Steve Gray after losing convincingly to the Blue Streaks on Thursday. Norwalk was outscored 18-2 in the third quarter of that game.
“I was disappointed Thursday, but I think everybody gave it a little bit more tonight,” Gray said. “The players the coaches, the bench — it was everyone. It was a big game for us tonight, and I thought we played the hardest that we have played all year. They responded by giving their best effort all season.”
In the end, Norwalk just had too much Garrett Obringer and Garrett Chapin for the Redmen (3-6, 1-4) to overcome.
Obringer went 8 for 10 from the field and went 2 for 3 from beyond the three-point line to score a game-high 21 points. Chapin added 13 points for the Truckers, but more importantly, he controlled the tempo of the game to keep Bellevue off balance for most of the game, according to Gray.
“I thought this was Obringer’s best game overall, rebounding, defending and finishing,” coach Gray said. “And I thought that it was Chapin’s best game as a point guard. I thought in the first quarter, he was outstanding and he didn’t even score.
“Then in the second and third quarters, he scored like eight of his points, but I thought that they were both outstanding tonight and gave great effort,” he added. “Bellevue’s a good young team and Coach (Ed) Rich is doing a good job of getting them ready.”
After playing Norwalk close for the first eight minutes (13-12 deficit), the Redmen were unable to solve the Norwalk defense the rest of the way. Bellevue shot 10-of-40 from the field and was outscored 14-3 on points off turnovers. The loss was the fifth straight after Bellevue after it began the season by winning three of their first four.
“This is what happens though, we often start off pretty good,” Rich said. “I thought we played pretty good — I thought we played pretty well in the first quarter, and then that’s when our snowball of errors starts. We start kicking it around, then we start missing layups and not following our deep shots.
“This is the kind of stuff that has killed us all year,” he added. “It’s just the mental errors that have really been our major, major weakness all year — missing layups, mental errors and taking care of the basketball. We’ve seen all of that happen in the second quarter, and it just snowballed on us.”
Rich went on to say the margin of defeat was especially tough.
“We thought that we could compete a little bit better than that tonight,” he said. “When you lose by thirty points, it’s obviously no good. We got a beat up a little inside and it’s something that we have to improve on. We thought we were getting better, even though it may not show on the record. They have played much better on the court — but tonight we took a big step backwards.”
Bellevue was led by Grant Nichols with eight points. Tyer Ray drilled a pair of three point shots to account for all six of his points, while Keegan Ray tossed in five points.
Also for the Truckers, Will Gehlhausen added eight points and Andrew Mozina tallied six to compliment the scoring Chapin and Obringer. Ryan Sowders added four points and seven assists, and Ian Minor had four points and seven rebounds.
In the three games that Norwalk has lost to Shelby, Willard and Sandusky — the three teams are a combined 24-1.
“We have lost to three really good teams, and I think a little of it is between the ears in terms of, ‘Are we good enough to play at that level?’” Gray said. “We as coaches have to do a better job in practice to put them in position to where they can compete better in those games.”
In the junior varsity game, the Redmen came away with a 35-23 win.
Daniel Traczek had five points and five rebounds for the JV Truckers, while Carson Bauman had five points and Drew Shope added four points and six rebounds.
Norwalk stays in SBC Lake Division play this coming Friday when it hosts Tiffin Columbian (6-3, 2-2) to cap a stretch of seven straight home games. The Truckers visit Ashland on Saturday.
BELLEVUE (3-6, 1-4)
Tyler Ray 2-0—6, Keegan Ray 2-0—5, Grant Nichols 2-2—8, Preston Ray 0-1—1, Parker Smith 2-0—4, Wagner Horn 1-0—2, Seth Gerhardstein 1-0—2. TOTALS 10-3—28.
NORWALK (5-3, 3-1)
Garrett Obringer 8-3—21, Garrett Chapin 5-3—13, Will Gehlhausen 2-2—8, Andrew Mozina 3-1—7, Ian Minor 2-0—4, Ryan Sowders 2-0—4, Jad Oglesby0-3—3. TOTALS 22-12—60.
Bellevue 12 3 10 3 — 28
Norwalk 13 16 17 14 — 60
3-point FGs (B) T. Ray 2, Nicols 2, K. Ray; (N) Obringer 2, Gehlhausen 2