game, courtesy of Andrew Parrish. The Thunderbolts’ 6-foot-8 senior
center threw them a block party. Parrish swatted, smacked and slapped away Trotwood-Madison’s bid
to win outright the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s North Division.
His 13 blocks highlighted the T-Bolts 48-42 win.
CLAYTON – Northmont High School’s gymnasium — and especially its student section — was festive following Friday’s boys high school basketball game, courtesy of Andrew Parrish. The Thunderbolts’ 6-foot-8 senior center threw them a block party.
Parrish swatted, smacked and slapped away Trotwood-Madison’s bid to win outright the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s North Division. His 13 blocks highlighted the Thunderbolts’ 48-42 win in front of 900 spectators tightly packed into the T-Bolts’ gym.
“They just kept coming inside and I kept sending them,” said Parrish, who has 58 blocks this season and 147 over the past two seasons. “They were getting frustrated. That’s why they kept driving to the basket, hoping I wouldn’t get it.”
The win forged a tie atop the North Division standings and helped Northmont (14-1 overall, 7-1 GWOC) get a step on Trotwood (14-3, 7-1) in this weekend’s sectional tournament draw. Trotwood held the advantage coming into Friday. The Rams used a reverse layup at the buzzer to beat the T-Bolts 68-66 on Dec. 21.
“The worst-case scenario is instead of winning it outright we’re probably going to have to share it,” said Trotwood coach Larry Ham. “Instead of being a No. 2 seed going into the tournament we might be a No. 4. Nevertheless, my team is the type of team that can out of nowhere go on a winning streak. We’re gonna be all right.”
The Rams nearly put together one of those bursts Friday. After going the first 6 minutes, 41 seconds of the second half without scoring, the Rams continued to claw back. Down as many as seven in the third quarter, Trotwood pulled to 36-34 with 5:57 left in the game on Greg Gainey’s two-hand slam over Parrish. The dunk knocked off Parrish’s glasses and ignited the Rams’ crowd.
“After he did that I’m like, ‘We gotta win now. I can’t get dunked on and lose the game,’” said Parrish. “Every time he got the ball I just wanted to block him.”
He nearly did. Parrish responded by ending the Rams’ next three possessions with blocks. After Trotwood’s Domonick Britt tied the game with 2:50 remaining, Parrish — using every bit of his 6-8 frame — lofted a soft jumper over a pair of Rams’ defenders for the go-ahead basket.
“He had long arms so I had to throw it up high, throw a floater,” said Parrish, who scored four points and added six rebounds. “I knew it was going in. The rest I airballed so I knew that one was going in.”
Teammates Jerontae Hunter and Brian Tolle scored the T-Bolts’ final seven points from the free-throw line to help Northmont’s senior beat Trotwood for the first time.
“At one time, when I came to Northmont, we played Trotwood pretty even,” said Northmont coach Jim Brown. “But the last five years they’ve had their way with us.”
Until Friday. After Parrish’s basket, he ended the Rams’ next two possessions with defensive rebounds and forced a turnover on the third. Parrish blocked a shot right back at the Rams’ shooter, who grabbed the ball but fell to the floor for a travelling call. The Rams did pull to 45-42 on Britt’s 3-pointer with 16 seconds left. Forced to foul, Trotwood sent Tolle to the line twice. He hit three -of-four tosses to seal the win.
“I thought their guard play this time around was a lot better,” said Ham, referring to that first meeting. “But I have to give our kids credit. They don’t quit. Some of them are going to be second-guessing themselves and people out there are going to be second-guessing them. I’ll second-guess myself. There are some things I maybe could have done better. … I take my hat off to them. Northmont has a fine team.”
The win snapped Trotwood’s eight-game winning streak. It also likely puts an end to the Rams’ streak of outright North Division titles at three.
“I’ve never beaten them before so I wanted to beat them this time,” said Parrish.
Northmont, meanwhile, has won 14 or more games nine straight seasons. Barring an upset in its two remaining North Division games and the T-Bolts will grab a piece of its first league title since capturing the Greater Miami Valley Conference in 2001.
Hunter led Northmont with 12 points. Tolle, Steve Newell and Davin Lewis each added eight points. Lewis also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Gainey led the Rams with 11 points. Aaron Robinson and Britt each added seven for a Rams team that threw a rotation of 11 players at the T-Bolts.
“They’re so daggone deep. That’s the thing,” Brown said. “They’re a different team than anybody you play because they have so many guys that can come in and they’re athletic. … You have to attack. That’s what I keep telling my kids. You can’t shy away.
“We’ve gotten to the point at Northmont where we don’t back down. We used to. Believe me, when I first got here we backed down. These kids go right at people now. That’s kind of neat. That kind of means you’ve arrived.”