Clayton, Ohio — The 20/21 basketball season kicked off last night for Northmont and Bellbrook in a non-conference matchup, hosted by the Thunderbolts. Two very talented prospects in the area went head-to-head in Patrick Ivory and Gabe Pavlak. Early in the first quarter neither team could find their ice breaking bucket, but in the tail end of the quarter both sides began to find a rhythm. Bellbrook ran a very disciplined defense which caused Northmont problems on the offensive end. Charges galore were being drawn by the Eagles early on, but Northmont’s composure allowed them to start taking a slight lead before the break. After two quarters of play, Northmont lead Bellbrook 28-26.
When play resumed after halftime, the energy remained the same for both teams. The third quarter was pretty back and forth, and almost even. Northmont edged Bellbrook 13-12 in the third. All game long turnovers were an issue for Northmont. They finished the game with 21 in total. Dominant play continued from Patrick Ivory in the second half, and Jordan Smith started to find his grove in the paint. Bellbrook began to slip further into a deficit, but did not stop giving effort. Northmont controlled the rest of the second half and it resulted in a season opening victory for the Thunderbolts, 53-47.
Gabe Pavlak had a very promising first half. He shot the ball well, and was a force down low. He was managing to get the basket with ese in the first two quarters. In the third quarter he began to slow down in scoring, but still managed to keep his team in a close game against a favored Northmont. In the fourth Pavlak went down with what appeared to be an injury to his right knee. His night ended there after putting on a good opening game performance.
Patrick Ivory was the player to watch last night finishing the game with 24 points! The 6’5” guard was smooth on the ball all night, and was finding ways to score consistently. He shot 50% from the field last night, which is expected to improve as the season goes on. Ivory performed well on defense as well with 3 steals and 1 block. Patrick Ivory is expected to show out this season alongside Jordan Smith for Northmont.
Jordan Smith had a stellar performance for the Thunderbolts finishing the night with a double-double. With 15 points and 11 boards, Smith was working downlow all night. With him ripping down boards left and right, it allowed Northmont to move in transition, which was a pain for Bellbrook. Jordan Smith came out of halftime ready to play, scoring many of his points in the third quarter. He is expected to perform at a high caliber all season, and I would not put it past him. He is an athletic big, who excels on scoring in the paint, and snagging rebounds. Jordan Smith and Patrick Ivory are expected to lead Northmont all season, and did so last night against a well coached Bellbrook side.