Columbian, in way of Truckers’ 50th-straight, run over

NORWALK – Standing in the way of history, Columbian provided little resistance Saturday night.

The Tornadoes shouldn’t feel to bad. They’re just Norwalk’s latest victim on a streak that has put the Truckers in historic company.

With Norwalk’s 74-43 win over the Tornadoes, the Trucker became only the 10th team in state history to claim 50 consecutive regular season victories. The streak began Feb. 26, 2011 against Fostoria, when the Truckers beat the Redmen 55-45.

From the very early going Saturday night, it was clear Norwalk would reach the number. Jeff Thomas opened the game with his first of five 3’s, Norwalk converted three first quarter three-point plays, and Columbian missed five of six foul shots as the Truckers raced to a 27-8 advantage at the first stop.

“This is our fifth game in eight days,” Columbian coach Bill Beaston said. “I thought we came out a little flat, and like a good team does, they were out for blood and they took it to us.”

Thomas was the ringleader of a Trucker offense that was relentless for three quarters. Thomas scored 22 of his game-high 26 points in the first half, and Norwalk went into halftime with a 48-12 lead.

“(Thomas) puts in a lot of time. Most people don’t see him in here, two hours before the game going through his routine of getting off 50, 60, 100 shots,” Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “He works hard at it, and he deserves what he achieves.”

Thomas wasn’t the only Trucker to put up big numbers. Ben Haraway scored 20 points, while Grant Hull made five 3-pointers for 15 points. Norwalk improved to 8-0, 2-0 in the Northern Ohio League.

Columbian fell to 3-3, 1-2 in the conference.

The Tornadoes’ offense did have a productive third quarter, as it went 8 of 11 from the floor and scored 22 points.

“I like what the guys did in the third quarter, I think they showed a lot of potential of what we can be,” Beaston said.

Cody Daniel led the Tornadoes with 12 points and seven rebounds. Donovan Walker and Josh Flint each scored eight points.

“I thought (Cody) was better tonight, he struggled the last couple days,” Beaston said. “I’m happy with how he responded.”

Norwalk’s players displayed T-shirts marking its 50 straight wins after the game, and cut the basket nets in celebration.

“Not only proud of this group, but proud of the kids we’ve had over the past three years,” said Gray, a Buckeye Central graduate. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment and a tremendous night of celebration for the Norwalk community.”