Tonawanda News —
Kenmore West coach Mike Meetze said that every time his basketball team goes up against North Tonawanda's he expects a physical game. And judging from the amount of ice used on both sides after 32 minutes, he wasn't kidding.
The Blue Devils outlasted the Lumberjacks, 60-42 in a game where a player from both sides had to be helped off the court after suffering a leg injury.
Blue Devils (2-2, 2-0 NFL) big man Quinton Campbell limped off midway through the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury and spent the rest of the game on crutches. But before he went out he went off, scoring six of the Blue Devils' first eight points in the quarter. It was almost like a switch went off in his head.
"He asked for the ball. He said, 'Give me the ball.' So we did," Meetze said. "When he gets one-on-one we tell him that he has a green light. If anything we have to tell him he's too unselfish sometimes."
Campbell finished with a game-high 16 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, despite going out early in the fourth quarter and dealing with double teams for most of the game. Meetze said after the game that he was still waiting to find out how serious the injury was to his star big man, but is hoping it's only a sprain.
The Blue Devils controlled the pace of the game throughout and put pressure on the Lumberjacks' (1-5, 0-2 NFL) backcourt. Ken West finished with 12 steals in the game and Meetze said he was happy with the way his team defended.
"I liked our on-the-ball defense tonight. ... That's going to be our key," he said. "If we can put pressure on guards then we get to run — and you saw us in transition. I don't think we shot the ball very well tonight from outside or inside. We missed a lot of ones that we usually make, but our defense was what was keeping us around."
Lumberjacks guard Joe Piotrowski netted a team-high 13 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter when he tried to lead his team back from a large deficit. He sank three 3-pointers in the final eight minutes after returning from a leg injury suffered when he collided with Ken West's Adam Fron late in the third quarter.
NT coach Ryan Mountain said the difference in the game was missed opportunities by his squad.
"That's a team we can beat. No question about it," Mountain said of the Blue Devils. "We probably missed around eight layups — easy, high-percentage shots and unfortunately they're so athletic and great at what they do they convert missed, high-percentage shots into layups at the other end. That was the difference in the game because you're looking at 16 points — us not converting on one end and them taking advantage of it."
Ken West's Shay Cuadra scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds while North Tonawanda's Chris Woodard totaled 12 points, three rebounds and four assists.
NT forward Ian Gilhousen played for the first time this season and scored four points and grabbed five rebounds. Jacks center Michael Awad had to be helped off the floor in the second quarter after suffering a knee injury. He scored four points before he left the game.
Both teams are back at it on Friday night when the Jacks host Kenmore East and the Blue Devils travel to play Lockport. Both games tip at 7 p.m.Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.