Rangers dodge Wildcats
By Jesse Phelps
If Ben Bower hadn't come back from his
flu bug in time for the Villanova game, Nordhoff might not have
survived its short trip down the highway on Wednesday night.
Bower made all three of Nordhoff's second half field goals as
the Rangers escaped with a narrow 45-40 victory over homestanding
Nursing a lead that never stretched beyond nine points in the
second half, the Rangers relied on rebounding, physical play
and the occasional zone trap to force Villanova into tough interior
shots, three-pointers and a few bad passes. 'Nova had 14 turnovers
on the night and was most successful when it got the ball into
the big and capable hands of Djadji Daffe.
Nordhoff had no answer but to stand in and battle with Daffe
but paid the price for doing so. Center T.J. Murphy fouled out
and power forward A.J. Maulhardt found himself on the bench battling
foul trouble much of the night. Worse still for Maulhardt, the
defense of Nate Langelier kept his shot off the mark. Langelier
had two spectacular pace-setting blocks in the first quarter
and finished with four on the evening.
Daffe had 23 points and eight rebounds, four offensive, and even
did damage from the outside, drilling a trio of three-point shots,
including one to pull 'Nova within a hoop with about a minute
From there, Nordhoff guard Garrett Stroup took over. He directed
traffic and allowed time to wane, then drew two fouls and made
three of four free throws in the final minute to seal the game.
Villanova hit five treys on the night, but none in the final
seconds when they needed one.
Still, Nordhoff never would have been in position to win the
game themselves if not for the presence of Bower. He made three
of four field goal attempts in the second half. His teammates
were a combined zero for 22 during that same span. Nordhoff went
the entire third quarter and nearly a minute into the fourth
before Bower drained the first of his, and his team's, three
fourth quarter buckets.
Bower finished with seven rebounds and 16 points, nine of which
came in the first half, when he was again Nordhoff's best offensive
option. Mike Bensley drilled a pair of threes early on and Stroup
had his usual all-around game statistically. Maulhardt grabbed
eight rebounds to go with four points.
For Villanova, Daffe was the story offensively. Guards Clark
Tevis and Ryan Kirby each hit big threes, but in the end, Bower
and Stroup proved to be too much for the Wildcats.
The Rangers next play at San Marcos Monday at 7 p.m. and Villanova
takes on Cate today at 6 p.m.
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
MAULHARDT STRUGGLES TO get to the basket as Wildcat powerhouse
Djadji Daffe tries to block him. Nordhoff will play at San Marcos
Monday, varsity at 7 p.m., junior varsity at 5:30, and frosh-soph
at 4 p.m.