NEW CARLISLE — Entering a boys high school basketball showdown with the Northmont Thunderbolts, the Tecumseh Arrows had a few factors working for them in a battle of Southwestern Ohio heavyweights.
The Arrows had home-court advantage, they were undefeated, they were ranked No. 12 in the first state poll and they had inspiration to avoid another 31-point loss like the one suffered last season.
What they didn’t have was Andrew Parish … or anyone that could match up with him. Northmont’s 6-foot-8-inch center helped Northmont start fast and finish strong with a 58-40 non-league win on Tuesday. Parish finished with 11 points, 20 rebounds, had a couple of the Thunderbolts’ six blocked shots and forced the Arrows to alter more.
“Andrew Parish was a monster,” said Northmont coach Jim Brown. “Even if he didn’t get one rebound, he influenced the game. It got to the point they were shot faking and there was nobody there. He’s not there offensively as a player, but defensively he’s the real deal. He really makes a difference in the game.”
Tecumseh, whose height drops off after 6-5 Jordan Kimmey, struggled early with Northmont’s quickness in transition and defensive pressure inside. The Thunderbolts (10-1) snapped a 4-4 tie with an 11-0 run to cap the first quarter. A basket by Steve Newell and two from Brian Tolle restored the lead to double digits with 4:28 left in the half. It never fell below 12 again.
“They came out and set the tempo early in the game. They kind of caught us on our heels,” said Tecumseh coach Roger Culbertson.
Tecumseh (10-1) managed one first-quarter field goal and trailed 28-13 at the half. The Arrows, who entered averaging 70 points per game, went scoreless for a stretch of 5:15 in the first half. The Arrows stayed with the Thunderbolts in the second half (they were outscored 30-28), but still finished with their second straight game of 47 points or less.
“We need to get other guys stepping up,” Culbertson said. “We can’t rely on Josh McKee to be the answer every night for us. The biggest thing is we need to do is rebound the basketball down low. We didn’t get any transition baskets.”
Unofficially, Northmont outrebounded Tecumseh 45-27. The T-Bolts helped themselves with 23 offensive boards.
Jerontae Hunter led Northmont with 14 points, including 10 in the second half. C.J. Barnett, Newell and Parish each added 11 and Tolle had nine.
Northmont also scored well under its average — the T-Bolts entered with 73 per game — but offset that with defense. The win was the fifth straight for Northmont, whose only loss came 68-66 to Trotwood-Madison.
“We were on the verge several times of taking control of the game,” Brown said. “We just couldn’t do it. That’s a compliment to (Tecumseh). They wouldn’t let us.”
Brown said he warned his T-Bolts to be ready for a battle Tuesday, especially after the 71-40 win Northmont hung on Tecumseh last season.
“As coaches we convinced them they were walking into something they better be prepared for,” he said. “I could sense yesterday in practice, with a couple of my kids we consider leaders, they were getting us ready.”
Tecumseh never led and tied the game just once. That’s when the Thunderbolts responded with the 11-0 burst, keyed by Parish’s play inside.
“He is what can take us to the next level. We’ll be a good team,” Brown said. “But when he plays as well as he can play, there aren’t many people in the state we can’t play with. He has that kind of an impact.”