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Nazareth the team to beat after taming Ford

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Nazareth is really showing off its “A” game this season.

The boys basketball squad, which was bumped up a level to the tougher Catholic High School Class-A division after it advanced all the way to the Class-B state semi-finals last year, finished a perfect week with a 49–41 win over Bishop Ford at home Saturday night.

The Kingsman (10–2, 5–0) are now the only team in the league with a perfect record, and are the early favorite to win the championship — something that has not been lost on its players.

“It was almost like a statement game,” Nazareth junior forward Ammad Alkhulaidi said afterward. “We’re Naz and we want to win this undefeated and win the [Catholic] state [title].”

Bishop Ford (9–4, 3–2) found out quickly what Nazareth was about when the Kingsmen used their length and athleticism to jump out to a 15–2 lead.

Ford coach Denis Nolan said his boys couldn’t simulate their opponent’s speed in practice, and it took the Falcons a quarter to finally handle the pressure defense and take better care of the ball.

“We realized we had to slow down,” said Ford center Joshua Blagrove, who scored 14 points. “We tried to adjust, but it wasn’t enough.”

Ford slowly crept back into the game when Devon Dingle got hot from behind the arc and it loosened the defense on Blagrove. The Falcons got as close as 39–34 with 3:10 left in the game, but Nazareth never panicked and was able to hold on.

“We didn’t lose our composure,” Kingsmen coach Todd Jamison said. “That’s the sign of a good team.”

An “A” team, if you will.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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