By Matt Maher
NEWTON FALLS, OH – The battle for second on the MVAC Gray division came down to the wire Friday night when Campbell Memorial visited Newton Falls. Newton Falls showed great defense combined with stellar offense right out of the gate but that defense and offense began to slip in the 2nd half and Campbell clawed their way back into it and forced an overtime thriller that came up just short for the Red Devils and saw the Tigers earn themselves a 50-45 victory.
Everyone knew this game was going to be a grind but the 17-8 first quarter score that saw Newton Falls on top started to question that. David Moore got his night started with the first triple for the Red Devils while Josue Rodriguez found 3 himself with a 2 and 1. Alex Stinson and Cameron Huff were money from the arc giving their team a huge 3 each while Jabriel Rufai found 5 points with a double then a triple.
Campbell tightened their defense in the second quarter and only allowed Newton Falls to score 11 to their 5. It was Moore and Rodriguez leading the way again with Moore finding another 3 while Rodriguez found 2 more. Landon Mcgregor joined the party with his team’s only 3-pointer of the quarter and led his team in scoring this frame with that tally. Rufai was held scoreless this frame which is a testament to Memorials defense that they kept one of the deadliest Tigers from pouncing going into halftime.
Campbell knew they needed to improve on the defensive showing they put up in the last quarter and find simpler shots and boy did they deliver, with a 12-4 edge in the 3rd, Campbell got themselves right back into it and made Newton Falls nervous. Unlike the 2nd, the 3rd quarter saw Jabriel Rufai score all 4 for his team with a double and a perfect 2-for-2 from the stripe. David Moore seemed to have found Superman’s cape during the break because he went off on the Tigers with 10 points in the quarter starting with a 3 then continuing on with three made 2’s and an and-1 that hit.
The Red Devils would not and could not be stopped going into the 4th and man were they good with a 15-8 edge in scoring they had found enough to tie this game late and force overtime in this huge game. Rufai scored 4 points to lead his team this quarter with 2 hard fought 2’s. Moore and Rodriguez continued their dominance for their team with Moore putting up 4 more and Rodriguez adding 5 points to his teams total.
The Red Devils went into overtime scoring the first 3 points quickly only to see McGregor respond immediately after with a 3 of his own and it didn’t take long for the Falls to find a narrow lead and force Campbell to foul which promptly sealed this game for the Tigers because Jabriel Rufai went 5-for-6 from the stripe.
Campbell showed grit and heart in this game but just fell short after finding their game and forcing this one to overtime. The Tigers will end their season on a 6 game winning streak and will host Chippewa on February 27th for round 1 of the OHSAA playoffs while Campbell gets ready for their first round brawl against Trinity on the 27th as well, both game will be played at 7:00PM EST.