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Warriors Play Eagles For NCC Lead

Story By: Brian Skowronski

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 1/10/2013

The top teams in each division of the North Central Conference will meet Saturday night in a game that may just determine the league champion in mid-January.

NCC Black Division leader Ontario (8-3) remains unbeaten in league play at 4-0 after completing their first round of games with opponents in their division. Next up for the Warriors is a trip to North Robinson on Saturday where they will play the only other unbeaten in the conference, 11-1 Colonel Crawford.

Like Ontario, the Eagles went unbeaten in their first round of games in the NCC Silver Division and are looking to do the same within the Black Division with a win already over Galion. The Warriors and Col. Crawford are two of only three teams in the 10-school league that boast a winning record (Upper Sandusky 5-4) and have clearly proven themselves to be head and shoulders above the competition up to this point.

The two programs rank first and second in the NCC in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, forced turnovers and made 3-pointers. They also will play eachother only once this season so the stakes for this matchup are more significant than a divisional conference game.

"It's big from the stand point that you're not going to get another chance to play each other." Warriors head coach Joe Balogh says. "So it should make for a fun atmosphere to play in on Saturday."

"It means a lot to get a win." Ontario junior forward Cameron Mack says. "It's definitely a big game and they have a lot of fire power so hopefully I'll come out for my return and help the team to a win."

Mack has sat out the Warriors last two games on suspension after receiving two technical fouls in Ontario's 81-55 win at rival Wynford's place back on Dec 28. The Warriors split their two games without Mack, who leads the team in rebounding and scores 10 points per game, but other players have picked up the slack in his absence.

Senior guard Wyatt Clemens was instrumental in Ontario's 72-53 win at Galion last Saturday, scoring a career high 26 points to lead all scorers in the game. He also leads all scorers on the team, averaging 11.3 ppg, and says he play AAU ball in the summer with some of the Eagles players and they shouldn't be taken lightly.

"I know they got some kids that can play." Clemens says of Crawford. "We can't just go over there thinking we're going to get a win. I know they're going to play hard, especially at their place where it's always a crazy environment."

The Eagles had a shot at winning the NCC a season ago, but lost to eventual conference winner Upper Sandusky on the final night of the regular season. While the Rams have played themselves back into the league title picture this season, as of now it appears that either Crawford or Ontario will capure what will be the last ever NCC crown. Warriors junior forward Tyler Gorbett says he will take great pride if it's his Ontario team that does so.

"We're getting kicked out of the league basically." Gorbett says. "So it would mean a lot to go out there and show the teams that wanted us out that it was a good decision to get rid of us."

Last season the Warriors knocked off the Eagles in one of the most exciting games of the year 67-61 in overtime, given the magnitude of this game it would be silly to expect anything less.

Ontario and Colonel Crawford will tip-off Saturday night in North Robinson with live audio streaming the game on WMFD.com and updates available on Twitter from @BrianSkowronski. The game will also be replayed Sunday night at 9 pm and Monday at 7 pm on WOHZ TV.

   
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