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January 22, 2014

NT complete season sweep over NF

Tonawanda News —

Coming off four wins in six days earlier in the week, the North Tonawanda boys basketball team was looking to keep momentum going Friday night and make a little history in the process.

NT point guard Nehemiah Stone scored a game-high 17 points, had five rebounds, four assists and four steals to lead the Lumberjacks to a season sweep of Niagara Falls as they knocked off the Wolverines, 59-53. It's NT's fifth win over the Falls since 2000 and only the second time this century NT has won two in one season over NF (2009).

"Our quote of the night was, 'The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary.' I thought that was the difference," said NT coach Ryan Mountain. "I thought the Falls played extremely hard, but we played just a bit harder."

Stone was the catalyst for the Jacks, controlling the pace of the game and making the right decisions with the ball in transition, as NT dealt with the Falls' full-court press for most of the game. 

NT led for almost all of the game and seemed poised to pull away several times in the second half. Holding only a 26-19 lead at halftime, the Jacks stretched it to 10 on the strength of a 8-2 run orchestrated by Stone and junior Chris Woodard, who finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, at the midway point of the third quarter. 

The Falls hung around into the fourth, but NT started the final frame with an 8-0 run before extending its lead to 54-40 with just about five minutes to go. The outcome seemed certain but the Wolverines refused to quit and answered the Jacks with an 11-2 run to close within five points at 56-51.

A stretch of nine straight missed free throws by the Jacks, which would have put the game out of reach, gave the Falls a chance in the final minute. NT's Mike Awad broke the streak by sinking one of two from the line before NF's Charles Lamar, who netted a team-high 13 points, was able to convert near the basket to make the score 57-53 with 6.2 seconds remaining. 

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