NORWALK - Columbian coach Bill Beaston said his team had to do two things to give itself a chance to upset unbeaten Norwalk, the No. 5 team in Division I.
"We had to make shots, and we couldn't turn it over," Beaston said after the Truckers' 63-34 win over the Tornadoes. "Unfortunately, in the first quarter, we couldn't do either."
Columbian shot 3 of 13 in the first quarter, and committed five turnovers. Norwalk, behind a strong start from Jake Fetherolf, grabbed a 17-6 advantage at the first stop and rolled from there.
"We had really good looks that we earned inside, and didn't flush them down," Beaston said. "Had a couple turnovers they turned into points, and then also they had a few offensive rebounds they turned into points."
Fetherolf, a 6-foot-7 senior post, had seven points and three boards in that first quarter. He finished with a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Truckers continually added to their lead until the final quarter, when the contest was out of reach.
"Jake was very active at both ends of the floor," said Truckers coach Steve Gray after his team improved to 12-0, 5-0 in the Northern Ohio League. "I thought Jake was good ... Benny Haraway had a double-double, in assists-to-points, so it was a solid team effort, but I thought defensively we were pretty good tonight."
Norwalk 63, Columbian 34
Columbian (5-7, 1-3): Alec Demith 0-0-0; Bryce Lonsway 2-4-8; Josh Flint 1-0-2; Connor Conley 2-2-6; Donovan Walker 1-1-3; Ryan Lynch 0-0-0; Tayor Warner 1-0-2; Derek Dryfuse 2-0-4; Cody Daniel 3-3-9. Totals: 12-10-34.
Norwalk (12-0, 5-0): Damius Peacock 3-0-6; Ben Haraway 4-2-10; Grant Hull 2-3-9; Cody Gregory 2-0-5; Troy Hallock 2-1-5; Ryan Hull 1-0-2; Jeff Thomas 4-1-9; Jake Fetherolf 6-3-15; Kaleb Cashen 1-0-2. Totals: 25-10-63.
Columbian69712 - 34
Norwalk17201313 - 63
Field goals: Columbian 12-39; Norwalk 25-63.
3-point goals: Columbian 0-7; Norwalk 3-12 (Hull 2, Gregory).
Foul shots: Columbian 10-17; Norwalk 10-15.
Rebounds: Columbian 26 (Dryfuse 8); Norwalk 40 (Fetherolf 10).
Turnovers: Columbian 14; Norwalk 7 .
Haraway finished with 10 points.
Columbian's top scorer was Cody Daniel, who had nine points, while Bryce Lonsway had eight. Derek Dryfuse had a team-leading eight rebounds to go with four points.
"(Norwalk) is so efficient, and they make so few mistakes both defensively and offensively," Beaston said. "So every opportunity you get, you have to take advantage of. I go back to the missed layups, and we had some open shots we didn't hit. If those fall, now you develop a rhythm, and things are more in our favor, and you make them not as efficient."
Columbian shot 12 of 39 from the floor in falling to 5-7, 1-3.
"I think we learned some things tonight, I think we've improved our growth," Beaston said. "The score may not show it, but we're gonna be better because of playing good competition."
Jeff Thomas and Grant Hull each had nine points for the Truckers.
Columbian had a 7-2 run at one point in the second half, and was outscored just 13-12 in the final quarter. But the Tornadoes weren't able to go on a sustained run to get them back into things.
"We're fortunate that we have a lot of depth," Gray said. "We have the ability to get defensive stops, and when you get stops it obviously prevents other teams from going on those types of runs."