By Brandon Judeh
A sign above the Newton Falls student section reads: “On our feet, in your face.”
The saying proved to be true Friday night, but not for the Tigers.
Campbell Memorial continued its rise to the top of the All-American Conference’s National Division with a 51-46 victory over Newton Falls.
After a first quarter that showed the Tigers (2-3, 0-2) demonstrate their speed and discipline, the Red Devils’ defense put the brakes on the speedsters.
Campbell (4-1, 2-1) held the Tigers to seven second-quarter points in forcing Newton Falls star Ozzie Hawkins out of his game.
“We turned up our pressure a little bit,” Campbell head coach Mike Szenborn said. “We were playing a little slow in the first quarter so we decided we needed to change the tempo of the game and it worked out for us.”
The Red Devils’ full-court pressure caused turnovers and poor shots for the Tigers as Campbell took a 26-23 lead into the locker room.
“They did a great job of collapsing on Ozzie, but another major factor was that they got way too many offensive rebounds,” Tigers head coach Roy Sembach said. “We need to be more physical on the glass and we need to move the ball a little bit more offensively, but Campbell is a great basketball team.”
Hawkins finished the game with nine points and six rebounds.
With the game still on the line in the middle of the fourth quarter, senior Daron Clinkscale came up big for the Red Devils.
The forward hit two clutch 3-pointers in a one-minute span to give Campbell momentum and eventually a victory.
“It was a great feeling,” Clinkscale said, “It really gave us the momentum and it gave me a lot of momentum personally because I was having a rough game up to that point because I was in some foul trouble.
“We haven’t won here in four years, so it made the win that much more special. It felt really good.”
Clinkscale finished with nine points.
Also having a big night for the Red Devils was junior George Billiris, who scored 11 points.
“We are still a young team,” he said. “But we just work really hard day in and day out. Last year we had a lot of downs, but we decided that we needed to pick it up this year, especially for the seniors.
“We have a lot of goals, we want to win the conference, win districts, regionals and go all the way.”
Aaron Jackson added 11 points and Mike Williams had nine points and 10 rebounds for the Red Devils.
Jaden Walton and Derek Walton each had 10 points for the Tigers. Hawkins had three assists.