NORTH TONAWANDA — Kenmore West coach Mike Meetze said that the North Tonawanda basketball team has always been like his team's kryptonite, but on Friday night the Lumberjacks looked like supermen.
NT shot 59 percent from the field, had three players score in double figures and held Ken West standout Quinton Campbell to only six points en route to a 68-47 runaway win.
The Jacks (7-6, 6-3 NFL) responded after an 81-35 drubbing at the hands of Niagara Falls on Jan. 18, which proved to be a good learning experience for them.
"We think it's the Falls and then everybody else," said NT coach Ryan Mountain. "We have a quote: 'Separation is in the preparation.' Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks said that and we loved it. We said the only way we can beat them is if we do it in practice. I told them in the locker room, 'Listen to me now, believe me later. While we're learning how to win, we'll learn how to beat them.'"
The Blue Devils (9-4, 7-2 NFL) won big, 60-42, in the teams' first meeting, but the Jacks lost junior Michael Awad in the first quarter after he suffered a knee injury. He was the difference-maker Friday night.
He finished with 15 points, six blocks and five rebounds and went 4 for 5 from three-point range. His shot making was important, but Mountain, who said Awad was a huge contributor on offense and defense, thought his ability to take Campbell away from the basket on the defensive end opened more holes inside for the other bigs and penetrating guards.
The Jacks went up quickly in the first quarter and never looked back. Mountain, who usually employs a standard 2-3 zone defense, installed a 3-2 zone this week in practice in an attempt to confuse the Blue Devils.
Senior forward Ian Gilhousen, who finished with a game-high 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals, thought it worked well.