By Gavin Ems

NOTTINGHAM – The Ewing Blue Devils traveled to Nottingham High School to take on the Northstars on Monday night in what promised to be a high-level match between two of the best teams in the Colonial Valley. Ewing (9-3) has been absolutely rolling this year, as they won their last four games and beat Trenton Central in their last match by forty points. Nottingham has also been on fire this season, boasting a 9-2 record, but coming off a loss to Bordentown in their last game.

Nottingham got off to a good start in the first quarter. They scored seven unanswered points to quickly pull ahead of Ewing. When the Blue Devils finally started to get going, Jordan Raba nailed two three pointers to increase Nottingham’s led to eight points midway through the quarter. However, Ewing started to inch closer to Nottingham. But they made it harder for themselves to come back, shooting only 2/6 at the free throw line, not fully capitalizing on the fouls they drew. Cameron James and Joel Cineus put points of their own on the board to cut down Nottingham’s lead. Ewing also played tremendous defense, forcing turnovers at half court and grabbing rebounds. At the end of the quarter, Nottingham led Ewing 16-14.

Ewing dominated in the second quarter. Kris Thomas sank a triple at the start of the quarter to overtake Nottingham. He was hot the whole quarter as he would hit two more three-pointers. Ewing carried the same defensive toughness they showed in the first quarter but enhanced it with even more ruthless defense and scoring baskets after steals this time around. Terrance Traylor led the way on the defensive side of the ball, playing superb trap defense and grabbing steals at half court for Ewing. Nottingham had trouble keeping up, as their baskets just wouldn’t fall. Ewing took a commanding twelve-point lead late in the quarter after a 12-0 scoring run, forcing Nottingham to battle back hard if they wanted to stay in the game. The rest of the quarter saw both sides playing getting hot on defense while starting to get cold on offense. Going into the half, Ewing led 36-24.

The tough defense both teams exhibited at the end of the second quarter carried over to the start of the third, with Jordan Raba opening the quarter with a steal. Juliano took a trip to the line and took advantage of making both shots to inch closer to Ewing. The Blue Devils got into foul trouble early, putting three team fouls on the board with just under seven minutes remaining in the quarter. This forced Ewing to become more conscious of their defense and take a small step back. Jahmere Miller helped to fire up the Northstars after an intimidating slam dunk off a steal from Raba. This cut Ewing’s led to just eight points. Nottingham went on a 6-0 scoring run early in the quarter, with Miller and Donte Alexander contributing four more points until Ewing’s lead was just four. It was a shootout after this, both teams putting points on the board when they needed. At the end of the quarter, Ewing led 48-41, but Nottingham was not far behind.

Ewing quickly found themselves in foul trouble yet again, with four team fouls on the board about halfway through the fourth quarter. Nottingham was doing a great job drawing fouls and capitalizing on them by making their free throws. They eventually cut The Blue Devils’ lead down to just three points. But Ewing pulled away yet again and put a couple of points on the board to increase their lead. Nottingham consistently trailed behind, but did not often let a Ewing bucket go unanswered. In the last two minutes of the quarter, Ewing’s defense was just too much for Nottingham to handle, and they eventually increased their lead. In the final minute of the quarter, Ewing went up by seven. Nottingham didn’t give up, as they continued to fight hard. But it wasn’t enough. The buzzer that announced the end of the game also announced a Ewing victory, beating Nottingham 63-56.

At the conclusion of the game, WBCB interviewed the player of the game, Ewing’s sophomore guard Terrance Traylor. When asked what a win in conference against a tough team like Nottingham says about this Ewing team, Traylor answered, “We’re a tough team. Everyone counted us out, we lost a lot of seniors last year. But we’re here to make a statement.” They are making a statement for sure. Ewing has been one of the best teams in the Colonial Valley this year. This game was huge for them. After this hard-fought victory, their record will improve to 10-3. As for Nottingham, this will be their second straight loss, and their record will worsen to 9-3.