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Jacks Top THS on Senior Night

All season long the Lumberjacks have been living by the motto of strength in numbers. They displayed it once again. Four players scored in double figures as North Tonawanda scored a 78-35 Senior Night win over the Tonawanda Warriors in the TNT boys’ basketball rivalry game that was played at NT’s Alumni-Student Activity Center on Monday night. The Lumberjacks, whose nine seniors saw the virtually all of the playing time, were paced by senior Alex Johnson who scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter as the Jacks built a 19-6 lead. It was a hole far too deep for the Warriors to climb out of. “Basically coach told us before the game we’re going to go out there and we’re going to play the way (we always) do. We’re not going to take them lightly because they’re a Class B school,” said Johnson, who also had five rebounds. “We’re just going to show no mercy and keep coming.” While the Jacks weren’t looking to demoralize Tonawanda on the scoreboard they knew they couldn’t let up at any point because that could lead to bad habits creeping into their game. Something they can’t afford with sectionals on the horizon. “We treated it like any other game,” Johnson said. “We could be playing Niagara Falls, we’d still play the same way we played tonight.” Prior to the game, Warriors coach Hank Hughes, whose team has been struggling in ECIC IV this season, said that his boys’ had been playing better as of late. Though no one on the Tonawanda side was happy with the final score, Hughes said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort. They were just beaten by a bigger, more complete team. “We’ve just had a lot trouble scoring, and that’s what it comes down to. They tried hard and they’ve battled the last two or three weeks,” said Hughes, “they execute pretty good, they just can’t finish shots and that (NT) team is really good. They’re the champs of the NFL and they obviously look like they deserve it.” Trey Lilly had 12 points to lead Tonawanda who trailed 34-17 at halftime. As coach Hughes said, the Warriors brought an honest effort, but for all their hard work they just could not penetrate NT’s rock solid 2-3 zone. “I liked how the team played,” said NT senior Joe Kish. “We were playing together….no one was playing selfish and that’s what our team is about.” Kish hit a trio of 3’s en route to a 13 point night for the Jacks, while senior Alex Quinn (12) and senior Zack Woodard (11) were also in double figures. But what Jacks coach Ryan Mountain liked most of all was the unselfishness on and off the court. Senior Jordan Fox (five steals) has six of the team’s 22 assists. Mountain was also impressed by the actions of junior captain Trevor Book, the Jacks leading scorer, who graciously stepped aside so that all nine seniors could enjoy as much playing time as possible on their night. “That’s unselfish leadership and the NT way,” Mountain said. Mountain also announced that the Lumberjacks, who finished 11-3 in the Niagara Frontier League, gained a share of the league title with Lockport. Kenmore West, currently 10-3, would make it a three-way co-championship if they defeat Niagara-Wheatfield on Wednesday. “We set that bar at the beginning of the season. We wanted to get that and it’s a great feeling to actually get it,” Kish said. Mountain feels a league title is a reward for the hard work his entire team has put in all year. Especially his nine seniors who set the tone. “Some are destined to be great while these men are determined to be,” Mountain said of his seniors.

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