It was a solid way to kick off the season as the Twinsburg boys basketball team won the opener in impressive fashion 67-39 over Pepper Pike Orange.
Strong team defense and balance led the Tigers under head coach Phil Schmook. The Tigers are looking to improve on a 6-16 season and its standing in the difficult Suburban League National Conference.
Orange, which competes in the rough Stow-Munroe Falls Division II sectional-district, always has talent.
"This was a good win for us to open with and I don't think anyone was expecting us to beat Orange," said Schmook. "Our defense was outstanding."
Twinsburg's pressure defense forced 21 turnovers as Schmook emptied his bench often as the team was sparked by a 16-7 start in the first period at home.
The Tigers fought back against a charge by the Lions, who trailed 29-19 at the half. A 21-9 third quarter blitz blew the game open.
"We wanted to pressure and the guys played with a lot of energy," said the coach. "We did a great job containing the ball; we held them to 21 points after three quarters."
In all, 12 Tigers scored in the victory.
Senior Darrell Newsom led Twinsburg with a superb outing in the opener. The returning 6-foot-2 Newsom poured in 18 points and pulled down six rebounds. He canned two 3-point bombs and also converted four free throws.
"Darrell had a nice game and he shot the ball well for us, but he also defended and led us on the glass as well," said Schmook.
First-year athlete Jared Young, a 5-9 junior guard, popped in 14 points. Young showed his range by draining four triples, which is also a career best.
"Jared Young had a great game and did a great job sticking shots; he has improved a lot since playing JV last year, but he picked up the other parts of his game (besides shooting), and that's why he is playing well," said Schmook.
"His teammates did a nice job of setting him up," he added.
Twinsburg posted assists on 19 of their 25 baskets, which is incredible.
"We really moved the ball around well and if we do that, we can be a very good team," said Schmook.
Junior point guard Ryan Felberg also hit two treys in the win and finished with nine points for the Tigers. Felberg also dished out five assists.
Guard Mike Moore, a senior, added four points as did junior forward Ralph Campbell, while sophomore wing Kenny McElrath added three free throws and sophomore guard Josh Wanton also buried a 3-pointer.
"Felberg, McElrath, (Leroy) Fitzgerald, and Moore all moved the ball around well; they combined for 19 assists," said the coach.
Adding two points for Twinsburg was Fitzgerald (a senior guard), senior forward Stefon Scott, senior guard Dean Curran, senior guard Antonio Solomon, and junior forward Patrick Flaherty.
Other seniors for the Tigers this year are Jaylin Glover and Cameron Harris.
Twinsburg was to set to play at rival Solon Tuesday.
Orange was led by 6-6 forward Revelation Sanders, who netted 13 points.
Forward Yorel Stowers had nine points for the Lions (0-1).
"We were not able to limit Orange to just one shot," said Schmook. "They (the Lions) have some size, but we need to do a better job on the (defensive) boards."
In upcoming action, the Tigers open Suburban League National Conference play Friday at Cuyahoga Falls at 7:30 p.m.