AMHERST — The North Tonawanda boys basketball team committed 23 turnovers in the final game of the Amherst Tip Off Tournament and despite a few late runs couldn't overcome its mistakes, falling to Oracle Charter School 63-54 on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore forward Chris Woodard scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and was named to the All-Tournament team for his efforts. He also had four steals and anchored an NT defense that played well in in the half court all game long.
Jacks coach Ryan Mountain was happy with the way his team competed.
"Coming out of the tournament our main goal was to play hard, smart and together and in terms of effort and attitude I couldn't be more pleased," he said. "Our passing was not good in either game of the tournament, but the great thing is that it's something we can clean up."
The Jacks trailed 23-20 late in the first half when junior Joe Piotrowski netted a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send his team into the locker room with some momentum. But Oracle came out in the second half more poised and under control.
Oracle went on a 13-5 run to build a solid advantage, which it would maintain the rest of the way. NT closed the gap to four with in the fourth quarter after a pair of 3-pointers from Christian Lemke and Piotrowski, but NT committed two untimely turnovers and Oracle ran away with the game.
Sophmore big man Donovan Book has a strong game for the Jacks, finishing with 12 points and was huge his team on the defensive end and on the glass.
Mountain was impressed with Book's play and how far he's come at such an early stage of his basketball career.
"We couldn't have asked anything more from Donovon," he said. "On the glass and the defensive end he's been awesome. Where he's come in one short season is nothing short of spectacular."
Piotrowski also had 12 points and led the Jacks with four assists. Sophomore Nehemiah Stone had seven points and Lemke finished with five.
Next up for the Jacks is the T-NT showdown with cross town rival Tonawanda this Friday night. Mountain said his team will be ready to play and expects to have a strong week of practice.
"We want to bring the same intensity every night that we've brought these past two games," he said. "We have to learn how to take care of the basketball and the technique of passing. We have to work to get open and get each other open. That will come."