On a night where it was going to be a tall task against Division III powerhouse Oregon Cardinal Stritch, Norwalk standout Brandon Haraway had to endure physical pain right away.
Sitting at 998 points entering the non-league game at Norwalk High School, Haraway caught an inbound lob pass right in front of the basket — but immediately got bodied up by two Cardinal defenders.
He threw the ball up at the rim, and hit the floor hard. Wincing in pain, Haraway was able to get up and make the free throw.
But that signature moment summed up the challenges of facing the Cardinals (16-3), who turned a 47-40 lead into a comfortable 57-40 win by closing the game on a 10-0 scoring run.
The loss snapped Norwalk’s 14-game winning streak, also dropping the Truckers to 16-3. Stritch has won 60 of its last 70 games dating back to the 2016-17 season.
“I was trying to get excited about it, but I had to lay there at first and was rolling around to get the initial sting to go away,” Haraway said of his moment when he became the 10th player to reach 1,000 career points at Norwalk.
The game was stopped with the Truckers trailing 7-5 at the 4:29 mark. Haraway, a Div. II Ashland University recruit, then gave the game ball to his mother, Kisha. He also embraced his brothers, Bryson and Ben, the latter who just scored his 1,000th point at Ashland over the weekend — and is also among the 1,000-point scorers at Norwalk with 1,184 points.
“It hurt on the outside, but inside it felt good and I got a little bit emotional,” Brandon Haraway said. “It’s a great accomplishment for me and my family in general. I have to follow them up and do big things.”
Norwalk trailed 7-0 just two minutes in, but had settled in to trail 13-8 after one quarter. But the defense that has carried the Truckers all season was unable to keep up with the Cardinals in the second quarter.
After Austin Brown pulled the Truckers within 23-19 at the 5:40 mark, the Cards reeled off a 15-4 scoring run to take command. Little Anderson (6-foot-3) did most of the damage, scoring six of those points as the Cards’ two Div. I recruits, Jordan Burton and Joey Holifield got most of the defensive attention.
But in the second half, the Truckers fought back.
Trailing 45-31 with 4:03 left in the third, Norwalk closed on a 9-2 scoring run — capped by a nice outlet pass from Haraway to Will Gehlhausen, allowing the sophomore to drain a deep jumper at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 47-40.
Norwalk had a chance to draw even closer to start the fourth, but a missed shot rimmed out — and Stritch took back over.
The Cards locked down and contested every shot, as Norwalk did not score in the fourth quarter. That allowed Stritch to slowly pull away, and Norwalk coach Steve Gray emptied his bench with just over three minutes to play.
“I think early on we gave them way too much respect,” Gray said. “When we made that run, we just got after it and defended.
“Will hit a big shot for us and we just made plays to get back in the game,” he added. “It all came at the defensive end, and it came because of attitude and effort.”
Haraway entered the game averaging 21.3 points per game, but was limited to just six shot attempts and seven points total.
That was certainly the plan coming in, according to Stritch head coach Jamie Kachmarik.
“You know he’s their guy, and we always try to take the other team’s best player,” Kachmarik said. “We tried to do that, and congrats to him for his 1,000th point. That just tells you a lot about him. But our plan was to try and get it out of his hands and deny him.
“Coming in here to face a team coached by Steve with the history and tradition they’ve had, our guys stepped up to the challenge,” he added. “This was a great win here, and all the respect to Coach Gray and Norwalk for putting us on the schedule.”
Stritch was led by Holifield with 14 points, while Anderson added 13 points and seven rebounds.
For Norwalk, Haraway added seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks with just one turnover before exiting with 3:05 left in the game.
Also for Truckers, Chapin had six points and seven rebounds, while Brown and Lacy each added six points.
“That was a very, very good team we played tonight, and the great thing about this is it got us ready for Sandusky,” Gray said of Friday’s road game to face the Blue Streaks (11-6, 7-1).
With a win, Norwalk (7-1 SBC Lake) can clinch at least a share of the league championship.
In the junior varsity game, Stritch edged the JV Truckers (11-8) by a 38-37 final. Andrew Mozina led Norwalk with 11 points and nine rebounds, and Daniel Traczek added eight points.
CARDINAL STRITCH (16-3)
Ben Dunmore 4-0—11; Jhaiden Wilson 2-0—5; Jordan Burton 3-0—6; Little Anderson 5-2—13; Joey Holifield 3-7—14; Nolan Finch 4-0—8. TOTALS 21-9—57.
Brandon Haraway 3-1—6; Garrett Chapin 3-0—6; Austin Brown 3-0—6; Kyler Lacy 3-0—6; Ryan Sowders 2-0—5; Garrett Obringer 1-2—5; Will Gehlhausen 2-0—5. TOTALS 17-3—40.
C. Stritch 13 25 9 10 — 57
Norwalk 8 17 15 0 — 40
3-point FGs: (CS) Dunmore 3, Wilson, Anderson, Holifield; (N) Sowders, Gehlhausen, Obringer
JV: Stritch, 38-37
Norwalk 1,000-point scorers
Brandon Haraway became the 10th player in Norwalk boys basketball history to score 1,000-plus points on Tuesday:
1. Stephen Hunter (2002-05) 1,463 points
2. Jeff Thomas (2011-14) 1,352 points
3. Jim Gregory (1986-89) 1,246 points
4. Ben Haraway (2011-14) 1,184 points
5. Kelly Smith (1993-96) 1,122 points
6. Tom King (1997-00) 1,092 points
7. Mike Stewart (1981-83) 1,081 points
8. Shane Johnston (2003-06) 1,054 points
9. Ryan Grose (1993-96) 1,011 points
10. Brandon Haraway (2016-present) 1,005 points