August Fagerstrom

STOW: The same issues that plagued Nordonia in its loss at Tallmadge last week haunted the Knights again in a 52-45 loss to Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy on Friday afternoon.

The Knights got ahead 10-1 in the first quarter at Stow High School, taking part in the Stow Holiday Classic.

But just like that 11-0 run to start against Tallmadge, the lead was gone by the second quarter and the Knights trailed 23-22 at halftime.

CVCA coach Jay Peters called two timeouts in a minute as Nordonia got on a roll. From there on, the Royals looked like a different team.

“We were just trying to snap them out of some sort of funk they were in,” Peters said. “We weren’t cutting anywhere on offense. We were just kind of there on the floor.

“So the timeouts were just to kind of wake us up, hopefully, and get a little adrenaline flowing so we could make something happen.”

The adrenaline must have got pumping because the Royals outscored the Knights 51-35 from that point on.

The Royals trailed 12-7 at the end of the first quarter, but junior guard Mike Peters took over in the second quarter, scoring 10 of his 21 points in the quarter and the Royals battled back to take a halftime lead.

“That’s just Mike,” coach Peters said. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid, and when he steps on the court to play, that’s the way he plays. What you saw in the first quarter isn’t him, he’s never like that really in anything he does. I think the second quarter was just Mike saying, ‘OK, we’re going to play CVCA basketball the way we play,’ and him taking charge as the guy that’s going to set the tone for us.”

Eli Linder, typically one of the Knights’ top scorers and the only consistent scorer in their loss against Tallmadge, was notably absent for most of the game, being held scoreless until late in the third quarter and finishing with only three points.

“He had foul trouble in the first half,” Knights coach Matt Cash said. “He picked up two right there in the first quarter so he had to sit and it took him out of the rhythm of the game a little bit. His shot was there, it just didn’t fall tonight.”

Part of Linder’s struggles likely came from CVCA’s game plan of slowing things down and not letting the Knights run. The Royals run an orchestrated offense and Linder and the Knights like to run and score off fast-break opportunities. The Royals wouldn’t have any part of that Friday.

“We certainly didn’t want to get in a run-up-and-down affair with Nordonia,” Peters said. “One of the things we constantly talked about the last couple days was controlling the pace. Run when you’ve got it. If we can get a cheap look out of it, we’ll do that. But then pulling the ball back out and being smart with it.”

Mike Peters finished with 21 points, five rebounds and two steals to lead the Royals. Marty Lee scored 13 with three rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal.

Alex Alders led the Knights with 14 points, eight rebounds and an assist.

The Royals will play Stow in today’s championship game at 7 p.m.

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