It was a poor start to the game but a fine start to the season for the Nordonia boys basketball team Nov. 30 in the season opener at Mayfield.
The Knights trailed the Wildcats 13-2 early on but recovered and rode a strong second half to a 78-57 victory.
"Mayfield came out shooting the ball really well," said Nordonia head coach Matt Cash. "We subbed in the second unit, who calmed us down, and we made a run to end the first quarter.
"The starters came back in and were able to calm down and let the game come to them and just take over.
"And then our depth, constant pressure and conditioning wore Mayfield down. By the fourth quarter, we’re playing 10-11 guys and they’re playing seven to eight guys."
Nordonia was down 17-16 after one quarter. The score was tied 39-39 at halftime. The Knights forged ahead 58-51 after three quarters and put it in cruise control the rest of the way.
"I was happy with our overall performance," Cash said. "We had first-game jitters to start the game, but our second unit came out and played extremely well, and that includes a freshman guard named John Henderson. The moment wasn’t too big for him. He hit some big shots.
"We played extremely hard and got after it defensively. We caused 21 turnovers. I’m extremely proud of our effort."
Nordonia senior guard Evan Wiehe scored 14 points and had three assists, two rebounds and two steals.
"You expect that kind of performance from Evan," said Cash. "I have high expectations for him. He’s a great shooter. Teams are going to start face guarding him and try to take away his shot, but he creates for other guys."
Henderson scored 11 points, including two three-pointers, and had two assists and a steal.
"John is a mentally tough kid, but he prepares himself every day in practice," said the coach. "It prepared him for the moment, and he takes on the challenge. He’s a smart kid, too."
Senior guards Julius Jones and Gabe Byrd also gave strong performances. Jones had 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal, while Byrd had nine points, three assists and a steal.
"Julius has got to be the catalyst for it all," Cash said. "He distributes the ball and is a force in the press.
"Gabe came on at the end of last year and has continued that this year."
Senior center/forward Harry Harris scored seven points and had four rebounds.
"Harry was big. He’s our tallest player," said Cash. "He came off the bench with that second unit and was able to get some rebounds and put-backs. He also disrupted some shots in the paint. It’s good to see his maturation. He’s going to continue to mature and grow every day and every game and have a good year."
Nordonia was scheduled to host Green Tuesday.
The Knights are scheduled to open Suburban League National Conference play Dec. 11 at home against Hudson at 7:30 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC.