By Rich Fisher
Jan. 11: Among the round-robin rivalries between the three Hamilton Township schools, one of the most intense is always the Nottingham-Hamilton West boys basketball meetings.
That was the case again today, as West got a sorely needed victory over the Northstars, 70-62, at the Hornets Nest. Nottingham (6-3) entered the fray having won five straight while West (5-4) had lost three in a row.
Hamilton took a 13-point lead behind the scoring of Jack Boufford (14 points), Nottingham climbed back in it thanks to Kishawn Douragh (15 points) and the game was close throughout the second half with eight lead changes and two ties. In the end, Hamilton got help from sophomore Maurice Williams to take the lead, and watched its senior leaders nail it down as Tobias Prall and Jamaj Walker were outstanding at crunch time. The two combined for 30 points, including 21 after intermission.
“I ask the seniors to be seniors and help lead us,” coach Brandon Johnson said. “ We’ve got a young team with some talent, but they haven’t been there. Toby sparked us with a couple big shots, getting out in transition. Jamaj is banged up but he gave me everything he’s got for big stretches and left everything out on the floor.”
Click on the above video to get Prall’s and Walker’s thoughts on the big victory.
It was Johnson’s first game as a head coach against mentor Chris “The Baron” Raba, who coached Brandon at West and had him on his staff for seven years at Nottingham. But Johnson low keyed that aspect of it.
“Honestly, once the game starts, I just want to focus on stopping that bleeding,” he said. “If we played Nottingham, Lawrence or Middletown South we had to stop the bleeding. A lot of those guys over there, I’ve got nothing but love for them, from Brandon (Raba) to Josh (Morrison) to Tre (Kauffman) to Naz (Nazir Collins) to Jack (Bisset); those guys are like my little brothers and I’m glad to see those guys having success over there.”