KINGSLAND—Norwell senior Josh Vanmeter put up 20 of his 24 points on the Jets in the second half to lead the Knights past the Jets at the Castle on Saturday night, 77-42.
Vanmeter made the opening field goal straight off the tip cashing in on a driving lay-up but then Norwell went cold for the next four minutes. Adams Central took advantage of several Knights’ miscues jumping out to a 12-2 lead before Vanmeter would break the four-minute slump with a smooth drive and score.
By the sound of the first horn, Norwell had began to creep back but the underdog Jets held firm to a 16-9 advantage behind the strength of Dalton Combs’ 10-point burst.
“They’re a great team, certainly a top five team in 3A,” praised AC coach Aaron McClure. “I thought through the first half of the game I thought we really controlled the game.”
The Jets looked as though they would continue their stretch of solid play to start the second quarter when senior Issac Luginbill picked up the scoring. The guard sank a pair of free throws, then drilled a three on the next possession giving AC a 21-9 advantage, the largest lead they would have all game.
Midway through the second half, the tide turned against the Jets, however, as the shots began to fall for the home team Knights.
With 1:25 to go in the second frame, Norwell tied the game at 23-23 on a pair of free throws by senior big man, Cam Denney. On the last possession of the half, Vanmeter dribbled out the clock, then got guard Alex Byerly to jump on a pump fake outside drawing a three-shot foul. After sinking all three, Norwell headed into the locker room with a 26-23 advantage.
The Knights’ senior carried his hot hand into the third quarter where he managed to string seven more points to extend the lead to 33-25 making it 13 straight points for the senior dating back to late in the second.
“On the bench we were trying to decide how to guard Vanmeter,” recalled McClure. “You can’t tell your wing guys to help out on him because there is David Vogel, one of the best spot-up three-point shooters we’ll see this year. We talked about going to zone but when we were down by 15 points they could have just stood outside with the ball. Eventually we tried the 1-3-1 but the game got away from us when we didn’t have a lot of patience on the offensive end.”
As the Knights’ lead expanded, the Jets’ offense began to stall. Norwell forced AC into some difficult shots, many of which came from the perimeter in an effort to claw back.