NELSONVILLE — The Trimble Tomcats’ last six quarters of basketball has been about as good as it gets.
Trimble roared past Eastern in the second half on Friday, then followed that up with another complete game in a 76-46 victory at Nelsonville-York’s Ben Wagner Gymnasium.
The Tomcats have been playing well all season, but they seemed to have hit their stride this past weekend.
“It’s fun to watch the kids play,” Trimble coach Howie Caldwell said. “Last night (Friday), the first half we didn’t play very well at all. Then the second half, it seemed like a light bulb turned on or something. We were just a different club.”
Trimble trailed at Eastern 22-19 at halftime on Friday, then won the second half 45-11.
If you’re scoring at home, that means Trimble outscored the Eagles and Buckeyes to the tune of 121-57 over the last six quarters.
“We told them before the game, you’ve opened up a can of worms now,” Caldwell said. “Everybody understands how you can play, so now you have to do it game after game after game. It’s been nice for a game and a half now, we’ve been able to back it up.”
The Tomcats (12-2) were ultra-efficient against the Buckeyes (2-12).
Trimble set the tone early with 25 first-quarter points. The Tomcats shot 55 percent from the floor (33 for 60) and handed out 23 assists.
The Tomcats seemingly wore down the Buckeyes with their offense, finding an open player at the basket time and time again.
“We told them after the game that we thought we shared the basketball very, very well today,” Caldwell said. “I don’t know how many assists we ended up with, but they were very unselfish. I thought in the first quarter we came out and they were ready. Watching warm-ups, you could tell there was a hop along in their giddy-up today.”
Senior point guard Cameron Kittle led the pass-first philosophy with eight assists. Whether it was a long outlet pass in transition, or a no-look feed in the half-court, Kittle set his teammates up with easy shots.
“He can amaze you with some of the passes he makes,” Caldwell said. “He is such a strong individual. Not many people can make that pass the length of the court like he does, but he has done it game after game after game. Sees the court very, very well.”
Kittle added 14 points and six rebounds to his all-around game.
Brayden Weber and Blake Guffey each added 17 points and four assists of their own in Trimble’s offense. Tyler Weber came off the bench for 14 points, as nine different Tomcats found the scoring column.
Nelsonville-York enjoyed a brief 5-2 lead, but Trimble followed up with a 17-0 run, leading 19-5 after Kittle’s three-point play off a steal.
The Buckeyes never got closer than 11 points the rest of the game.
“They’ve got an experienced team,” Nelsonville-York coach Blaine Gabriel said. “Howie does a tremendous job with them. They do what they’re supposed to do.”
Nelsonville-York wasn’t able to build off a close loss, 65-60, to Meigs on Friday. The Bucks have gotten Ethan Gail back from injury the last two games, but are still dealing with injuries as they try and right their ship.
“No excuse, this is our fifth game in a row short handed,” Gabriel said. “Hopefully karma comes back and helps us somewhere. I’ve got two more JV players hurt and out now. It’s just one of them things, it’s one of those years. We’re getting better. Last night showed that.”
The Tomcats continued to move the basketball, scoring 20 more third-quarter points to lead 60-27 after Weber found Bryce Downs for another score.
Trimble’s biggest lead came at 38 points on two occasions, the final at 70-32 after Nick Orona scored at the basket.
Mikey Seel led Nelsonville-York with 16 points and five rebounds, as he made three 3-point shots.
It was the Buckeyes’ ninth loss in a row. They’ll have some time to heal up, as Tuesday’s game at New Lexington will be their only contest in a 10-day stretch.
“We had some shots, we missed some shots,” Gabriel said. “(Friday) night, we hit those shots. Tonight, we didn’t, but all the credit goes to Trimble. Trimble’s very, very good. We have no room for error and you can’t make errors against a team like Trimble.”
The Tomcats have another big week ahead of them, as they host Southern on Tuesday and travel to Belpre on Friday as they continue to battle Federal Hocking for the top spot in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division.
Trimble already defeated the Buckeyes 80-47 three weeks earlier, but Caldwell said there was no way his team would overlook Nelsonville-York. He said the Tomcats take every time out on the court as a chance to improve for the postseason.
“A long time ago we made the comment that we really don’t care about the league and so forth,” Caldwell said. “We want to make sure we get ourselves ready for the tournament. Each practice and each game is preparing yourself for that. We didn’t look it as just another game. We looked at it as another opportunity to play.”
And the Tomcats certainly played well on Saturday, putting on another exhibition on both the offensive and defensive ends.
Trimble 76, Nelsonville-York 46
Trimble 25 15 20 16 — 76
NY 10 8 9 19 — 46
TRIMBLE 76 (12-2)
Brayden Weber 8 0-0 17, Kyle Kennedy 0 0-0 0, Cameron Kittle 5 2-3 14, Blake Guffey 7 3-3 17, Sawyer Koons 0 0-0 0, Tyler Weber 7 0-0 14, William Freeborn 0 0-0 0, Clarence Jones 1 0-0 2, Zach Guffey 0 0-0 0, Nick Orona 1 0-0 2, Conner Wright 0 0-2 0, Bryce Downs 2 0-2 4, Tucker Dixon 2 0-0 4, Austin Wisor 0 2-2 2; TOTALS 33 7-12 76; 3-point field goals: 3 (Kittle 2, Brayden Weber 1)
NELSONVILLE-YORK 46 (2-12)
Drew Carter 2 0-0 6, Mikey Seel 6 1-5 16, Ethan Gail 3 1-1 7, Joe Tome 4 0-0 8, Austin Thrapp 1 0-0 2, Maleek Williams 2 0-0 5, Ethan Hall 0 0-0 0, Grayden Wickham 1 0-0 2, Brian Johnson 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 19 2-6 46; 3-point field goals: 6 (Seel 3, Carter 2, Williams 1)
TEAM STATISTICS/INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Field goals — Trimble 33-60 (.550), 3-point field goals 3-9 (.333); Nelsonville-York 19-59 (.322), 3-point field goals 6-23 (.261); Free throws — Trimble 7-12 (.583), Nelsonville-York 2-6 (.333); Rebounds — Trimble 41 (Kittle 6), Nelsonville-York 31 (Gail 6); Assists — Trimble 23 (Kittle 8), Nelsonville-York 11 (Carter 3); Blocks — Trimble 2, Nelsonville-York 2; Turnovers — Trimble 11, Nelsonville-York 18; Steals — Trimble 13 (Weber 3), Nelsonville-York 8 (Gail 3); Team fouls — Trimble 12, Nelsonville-York 12; JV game — Trimble 49, Nelsonville-York 30