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Falls fires away

Tigers beat Badger for fourth win this week

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Joey Kline (14) of Newton Falls, heads to the net past the defense of Badger’s Heath Stanhope on Saturday. Kline finished with 16 points.

NEWTON FALLS — Newton Falls closed out its first week of play, its fourth game since Monday, with a strong second-half performance to post an 82-60 win over Badger on Saturday night.

The Braves took advantage of some sloppy Falls defense and fired off a 21-point second quarter to trail 36-33 at halftime.

“There were a lot of things I liked, but our pressure in the first half was just really sloppy,” Newton Falls coach Roy Sembach said. “We weren’t aggressive enough. We were lazy, fouling, reaching. I hated the pressure in the first half. Other than that, offensively we moved the ball really well all night. Worked the ball inside out. Defensively, we backed the pressure up in the second half which worked very well.

“They shot the ball really, really well. (Braves coach) Josh (Upshire) is a good coach and does a nice job and they really, really battled us hard. Other than our full-court pressure in the first half I thought we played really well.”

The Tigers got out to a 23-12 lead after the first quarter, with Josh Honeycutt scoring 10 of his game-high 26 points in the opening frame.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Badger forward Jack Lendak pushes past Newton Falls defender Jordan Dowling to make a drive to the basket. Lendak led the Braves with 22 points.

It looked like Newton Falls was going to run away with it, but in the second quarter, Badger seemed to have had an answer for everything the Tigers threw at them, especially from beyond the arc. The Braves hit 10 3-pointers. Jack Lendak, who scored 22 points on the night, hit five shots from deep.

“We shot well, they shot well, there were some possessions where it was just back-and-forth shooting 3s,” Upshire said. “Our focus this year was getting shots up, and we did well getting to the lane tonight and kicking it out for shooters, and we knocked them down tonight.”

As the game went on, the Tigers’ depth and athleticism won out. Newton Falls scored 46 points in the second half and, throughout the second half the Tigers began to pull further and further away.

“Over the years, I’ve had a lot of good teams, a lot of really good teams, but this team probably has as much athleticism as any team I’ve had,” Sembach said. “It enables us to play faster and do more pressing.”

This game was a late addition to the schedule, being added the day prior. That made preparation difficult, but in this season, a last-minute scheduling is the least of a team’s issue.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Josh Honeycutt, center, of Newton Falls, splits Badger defenders Jack Lendak and Logan Murphy, right, during the first quarter of Saturday’s game. Honeycutt led the Tigers with 26 points.

“We competed, for scheduling the game yesterday and not knowing anything about them,” Upshire said. “We knew Joey (Kline) was good and (Josh) Honeycutt can shoot it, but we didn’t know a whole lot about them, but we came out and competed for 28 minutes.”

Badger (2-5) plays Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday against Fairport Harbor, Maplewood and Bristol before taking on Heartland Christian on Friday.

The Tigers (4-0), who had a late start to the season, are playing another four games this upcoming week, with back-to-backs on Tuesday and Wednesday against Campbell and Howland, and then a second back-to-back against the Academy of Urban Scholars on Friday and Brookfield on Saturday.

“We were probably the last team in the area to play a game,” Sembach said. “We were shut down, Tuesday was our first game, but we played Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and won all four. Monday was the first day we practiced in the previous nine days. If all things go well, we’ll play another four this week.

“We have a lot of work to do because we haven’t had time to practice on things that need improvement, so hopefully we’ll have a day here Monday where we can work on things and shore some things up before it’s another crazy week of play.”

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