‘This is our house’

Community beats West, Dwinal sets charge record

“This is our house” rang through Community’s student section as the Ironmen walked off the court on Friday, Jan. 28 at Normal West, completing the season sweep of the Wildcats with a 53-45 victory.

The Ironmen took a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter with a Zach Cleveland (‘22) alley-oop from Trey Redd (‘22) and two Redd fast break layups.

The lead quickly shrank as the Wildcats sank two three’s, but the Ironmen answered back following two Cleveland free throws, making the score 14-6 in Community’s favor.

This would match the largest lead of the game for the Ironmen, as the Wildcat defense tightened and the threes started to rain down.

West hit eight three-pointers in the first half, accounting for 24 of their 27 total points. But, a timely steal and fast break layup by Robbie Brent (‘23) with twenty seconds remaining in the half secured a 28-27 lead for the Ironmen.

Cleveland and Redd led all Community scorers with 6 and 10 points respectively for the half while Jaheem Webber’s (‘24) paint presence and three-balls by both Crofton Perry (‘22) and Brent made contributions to the Ironmen scoring efforts.

Coming out of halftime, Wildcat center Max Ziebarth (‘22) scored a quick five points to give West a three point lead before Community center Tyler Dwinal (‘22) finished a put-back off a Redd miss, then followed his score with a record-breaking 24th charge on the season.

Dwinal now stands alone on the Community charge mountain-top, passing former Ironmen Trevor Seibring for the “sexiest record in the Ironmen basketball record book.”

The game turned sloppy as the two teams traded turnovers, until a Cleveland rebound and fast break led to a corner three by Braylon Roman (‘24).

With a chance to go up three late in the third quarter, Ziebarth caught an outlet pass and skied toward the basket where he was denied by Cleveland.

The Cleveland show had begun as the Ironmen snagged the momentum from the rejection, turning it into a Cleveland back-door throw down off a mid-air dime from Redd. Cleveland made sure to point out the West player’s ill-advised charge attempt following his slam.

“I fell over and while I was getting up I saw him on the ground,” Cleveland said, “So I pointed at him to make sure he knew he just got hammered on.”

The hot streak continued for the Ironmen, as they forced a West turnover. Then following a timeout, Webber secured an And-1 play, giving the Ironmen a three point lead, a four-point swing within a minute of gametime.

West cut the deficit to one and had a chance to reverse the one point lead in their favor. Zeibarth drove left and was rejected by Webber, maintaining the Ironmen’s lead going into the fourth.

Starting off hot in the fourth, the Ironmen finished two fast break layups by Cleveland and Redd and a put-back from Famious French (‘22) to stretch the lead to 45-38.

A five second call against the Wildcats looked to be the first dagger thrown by the Ironmen, but following a turnover by Community, the Wildcats knocked down a corner three in front of their student section for a much needed energy and momentum boost.

Looking to pile on, the Wildcats forced a Community miss and in quick succession turned it into a fast-break layup to cut the lead to 45-43 Ironmen.

But the Ironmen stayed poised, as a wild scrabble for the ball turned into a Roman mid-range floater to push the lead to four.

Both teams battled back and forth, trading missed shots and turnovers, until a Redd kickout to a Perry corner three put the Ironmen up seven with only a minute left, the final dagger to end the night for the Wildcats.

With the game all but decided, Community sank three free throws to close out the game in a 53-45 win.

With waves to the Wildcat’s student section, arms raised in victory, and a serenade from the Ironmen faithful, NCHS Boys Basketball walked off the court with their 23rd victory on the season and a 2-0 record versus their cross town-rival.