By A.J. Atkinson | Correspondent
The game seemed to be wrapped up.
The Newton Falls Tigers were entering the last eight minutes with a 10-point lead over an atypically slow-moving Windham Bombers team.
However, a fourth-quarter trap defense of the Bombers smothered the Tigers' offense, holding them to only seven points in the final frame on their way to a come-from-behind 52-49 victory.
Meanwhile, the Bombers' offense played off the momentum from that defensive energy, as they added 20 points in the fourth, their most points scored in any quarter in the game.
With the game tied, Windham's junior guard Jared Taylor drew a reach-in foul with just under 30 seconds left to play. Already in the double-bonus, Taylor hit both free throws to give Windham its first lead of the game, 51-49.
With a half-minute left to play, Newton Falls struggled bringing the ball up against Windham's full-court press.
Tigers junior guard Ozzie Hawkins, who led Newton Falls with 21 points, lost track of where his teammates were, causing him to make a weak pass that was picked off in open space by Bombers senior guard Matt Knight.
Knight, who led Windham with 13 points in his first appearance of the season after sitting out the opener, missed his first free throw, but hit the second to put the Bombers ahead by three. Knight scored 10 of his 13 points in the game's final quarter.
Newton Falls junior guard Chris Greathouse attempted a 3-point shot to tie the game at the buzzer, but his shot went off the side of the rim, sending the Tigers record to 0-2 and improving Windham's record to 2-0.
Windham veteran head coach Marty Hill was not overly joyous about the win.
"We got lucky," Hill said. "We got away with one tonight. We didn't play hard until the fourth. We weren't patient at the beginning. I don't know if our guys came in too relaxed, but Newton Falls is always well-coached and always makes it a good game."
Outside the Tigers' locker room, coach Roy Sembach was in much better spirits than Hill, saying he was very impressed with what his team showed in the game.
"I'll be disappointed if we're still making these mistakes later in the year, but right now, I'm happy with how our team played," Sembach said. "Our guys are disappointed right now, but I told them that Windham team isn't going to lose too many games this year. They have a lot of returning players."