Friday night lights are usually referred to when it comes to high school football.
For Nordonia boys basketball, however, the big stage was last Friday at home in the season opener against Mayfield. According to Nordonia coach Matt Cash, that did his team in.
"We have all juniors and seniors on the team, but only four of them have any varsity experience," said Cash, whose team lost 58-46 to the Wildcats. "It was on the varsity stage, so there were probably some first-game jitters. The crowd was amped up and we got caught up in it, especially in the fourth quarter."
Nordonia trailed 13-7 after one quarter but then got things together and led 30-28 at halftime and 44-39 after three quarters.
Unfortunately, the Knights were outscored 19-2 in the fourth quarter.
"We let our emotions get the better of us and the kids started to hang their heads a little bit," Cash said. "Obviously, I didn’t do a good enough job of calming them down, picking them up, helping them handle the situation and getting them ready to close out the game."
Actually, it was a minor miracle that Nordonia had the lead at any time throughout the game, considering its poor shooting night. The Knights shot only 27 percent from two-point range and just 30 percent from the foul line.
"We actually shot better from three-point range than we did from two-point range," Cash said. "We were getting looks, we were getting attempts, but we just didn’t shoot the ball well. We took more shots than Mayfield and we outrebounded them, but they made their shots and we didn’t, including several layups.
"Another big thing is that we can’t allow our offensive struggles to control our defensive effort."
Cash’s staff this season includes assistant coach Dave Smith.
Nordonia junior shooting guard Evan Wiehe scored 8 points and had 3 rebounds. Junior guard Gabe Byrd had 6 points and guard Steve Barnes, Byrd’s classmate, had 5 points.
"Evan, Gabe and Steve gave great efforts and played hard," said Cash.
Senior forward Tye Evans had 7 points and 10 rebounds, while senior guard Drew Petros had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
"Drew played well, played hard for most of the game," the coach said.
Senior center Ben Broscheid came off the bench to contribute 6 points and 5 rebounds.
"While he was in the game, Ben dominated the inside," said Cash.
Scoring 2 points apiece were guards Spencer Harp, a senior, and junior twin brothers Jordan Jones and Julius Jones.
Senior forward Kyle Craft made good on a free throw.
Nordonia was scheduled to host American Conference rival Medina Highland Tuesday.
The Knights are set to open National Conference play at home against Wadsworth Friday at 7:30 p.m.
They are scheduled to host American Conference rival Kent Roosevelt Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.