Nordhoff boys net first league win
By Jesse Phelps
The clock was running down and the Rangers
were running out of time. With under a minute to go and trailing
by three points, Garrett Stroup gave Nordhoff new life. On a
busted play, Stroup raised up from several feet beyond the top
of the key and launched a game-tying three-pointer with 30 seconds
on the clock.
After a time-out, Santa Paula had a chance to win it. The Rangers
got a much-needed stop from Ben Bower, who stole the ball from
Andy Rico to send the game to overtime.
Once into the overtime session, Stroup hit another three, his
third of the game. After a Santa Paula bucket, Ryan Whitcomb
got to the line on an offensive rebound and calmly sank both
Angel Camarillo made one of two free throws on the other end
to trim the Nordhoff to two. Sophomore forward A.J. Maulhardt
answered, taking a nice pass from Stroup and converting inside.
Mike Bensley then blocked a shot and controlled the rebound but
an offensive foul on the other end gave Santa Paula the ball
Santa Paula, struggling to get a field goal, went to freshman
Chepe Lara, who came up huge for the Cardinals in the second
half. Lara earned a foul and nailed both free throws to cut the
NHS lead again to two.
Bower hit one of two shots and then the Rangers came back to
play defense. Up by three, Nordhoff smartly took away the arc
defensively, forcing Santa Paula to improvise and ultimately
throw a bad pass. Bensley's fifth steal of the game gave Nordhoff
the opportunity for free throws, but Bower missed the front end
of a one-and-one.
With seconds left, it was again up to the Ranger point guard
to seal it. As Santa Paula frantically rushed up court, looking
for the game-tying three, Stroup zoomed in and recorded his fourth
Game over. Final score: 50-47, Nordhoff.
In the first quarter, however, it looked as though Nordhoff might
be in for another tough loss. Cardinal point guard Rene Maciel
hit two first-quarter threes as Santa Paula built a 13-8 lead.
Stroup hit his first trifecta of the game to open the second
quarter and the Rangers were within a bucket. Minutes later,
center T.J. Murphy canned a short jumper to tie the score at
16. Stroup's assist to Bower gave the Rangers a two-point cushion
and then Maulhardt went to work.
He scored inside, then blocked his third shot of the half to
preserve a 22-20 NHS lead.
In the third, Stroup again opened the scoring off a steal and
transition lay-up. The Rangers built a four-point lead, but then
Murphy went down in a pile under the hoop. With Murphy out, the
Cardinals shaved three points off the Ranger lead heading into
After Whitcomb stole the ball and scored to start the fourth
quarter, Lara began his impressive scoring streak and Santa Paula
grabbed the lead and began to pull away.
Santa Paula opened its biggest second half cushion at 40-35,
but Murphy battled down low to pull Nordhoff back within three.
Santa Paula's Lara hit a rainbow over the outstretched arm of
Murphy and the SPHS lead was back to five.
With 2:10 to go, Stroup nailed a 16-footer to make another three-pointer.
Nordhoff continued to pressure the ball and forced a shot clock
violation with a minute to go, setting up Stroup's big bucket.
Stroup led Nordhoff (9-13, 1-3) with 23 points on 9-11 shooting,
including three of four from distance. He also chipped in eight
rebounds and four steals.
Bensley, Bower and Maulhardt were the heroes defensively. Bensley
had five steals and two blocks. while Maulhardt had four blocks,
four rebounds and nine points.
Rico led Santa Paula (6-14, 1-3) with 13 points. Lara had 12,
all in the second half and overtime.
Nordhoff coach Mike Probyn praised the decision-making and shooting
of Stroup and said Bensley's defensive effort was huge for the
"That's the strength of his game," Probyn said. "He
always practices hard and he plays hard and today it paid off
for us. He got the crucial steal. You talk about an overtime
game, a point here, a point there, those are big plays for us."
"The second half and overtime is just about who wants it
more," said Bensley.
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
GARVIN STRETCHES TO OUTREACH a Santa Paula player as Nordhoff's
Garrett Stroup holds back two other Cardinals. Nordhoff won their
first Frontier League game, 50-47, against Santa Paula.