VIDEO: Northeastern's Quay Mulbah talks Bobcats basketball, defense and taking after his brother following the team's win over Dover. JACOB CALVIN MEYER, 717-505-5406/@jcalvinmeyer
MANCHESTER — Elijah Sutton has proven himself to be one of the best scorers in the York-Adams League this season.
The senior forward had a stretch of five straight 30-point games earlier this season. He's been forced to step up with the Eagles’ leading returning scorer, Keith Davis, out with an injury. Sutton has done just that, averaging 24.5 points per game entering Dover's match-up against Northeastern on Wednesday night.
Defending the 6-foot, 4-inch, well-rounded player has been a challenge for opposing teams this season, but Northeastern's defense was the one giving Sutton trouble in the Bobcats’ 63-53 win.
Sutton still scored 24 points and had several impressive moments, but the Bobcats held him to 7 of 23 shooting, including 3 for 16 in a first half. The Bobcats featured a swarming defense that didn’t let him get an easy bucket in the paint.
“Elijah is good. He doesn’t have to be in a hurry to score. Some guys get in a rush to score. He’s composed. It’s impressive,” Northeastern head coach Jon Eyster said. “We played some other types of defenses, so we were getting some reps with different stuff in a game. Elijah is a good player, so we had to focus on him.”
Quay Mulbah excels defensively: Leading the charge defensively was Quay Mulbah, who guarded Sutton when Northeastern (8-2) was playing a man defense and was one of several players to shadow him when the Bobcats played zone.
“(Mulbah) doesn’t know how good he can be yet, both offensively and defensively. When he wants to, he can really defend,” Eyster said. “He’s long, he’s athletic. When he’s single-minded like (he was tonight), he’s a good defender.”
Mulbah’s most impressive defensive play of the night was a block late in the game to prevent a Sutton 3-pointer that could have brought the Eagles back to within striking distance.
“I’ve worked out with him before. I knew he was a good player,” Mulbah said of Sutton. “Usually he likes to shoot off screens. I knew if I gave him that leeway, it would let him think he could get it off, then I could just come out with my length and tip the ball.”
About Mulbah: Last season, Mulbah, who scored 12 points against Dover on 6 of 9 shooting, was mostly a defensive player. This season, the 6-2 guard is taking a bigger role on the offensive side of the court alongside Nate Wilson and Andrew Brodbeck.
“Last year, we had Fred (Mulbah), Antonio (Rizzuto) and DJ (Hamilton). They were all connected. They were playing together since they were in fifth grade,” Quay Mulbah said. “But the class of 2020 has been playing together, too. We have that bond and connection. Once we start clicking, we’ll be a well-oiled machine.”
Mulbah said he tries to think of the type of player his older brother, Fred, was last season. Fred was the Bobcats’ second-leading scorer during his senior season.
“What I really try to take from my brother is his energy, his physicality, being really strong and finishing,” Quay Mulbah said. “Last year, I was more of a defensive player. This year, I am more aggressive and trying to get to the basket.”
Fast start: The Bobcats raced out to a 16-4 lead on their home court. They shot lights out in the first eight minutes, making 9 of 13 shots to lead 22-10 after one quarter.
After taking a 36-21 lead into halftime, Dover (6-5) mounted a comeback in the third quarter. The Eagles held Northeastern to seven points and pulled within nine points — their first time with a single-digit deficit since the first quarter.
“We weren’t crisp,” Eyster said of the third quarter. “We missed some open shots and we missed some difficult shots. We don’t have that guy yet. … We have a lot of inexperienced guys. They have experience, but not experience being the guys.”
Bobcats seal the win: Dover cut its deficit to seven points late in the fourth quarter, with Victor Dorm leading the way with nine points in the period. Dorm tallied 14 points. The Eagles had the game’s two highest scorers and still lost by double digits.
A late 3-pointer and two free throws from Brodbeck, along with Mulbah’s block, sealed the victory. Brodbeck led Northeastern with 13 points, while Wilson, the Bobcats’ leading scorer, chipped in with 12. Still, Eyster hopes his two top scorers, who are both good jump shooters, will attack the basket more often.
“Three-point shooting is a fleeting thing,” Eyster said. “What I want them to start to do is not just settle for (3-pointers) all the time. They’re both really good finishers and good enough players to set other guys up.”
Eyster was happy with the way senior guard Devyn Baltimore played off the bench, chipping in seven points, five of which came in a fourth quarter.
“Devyn is a good thing to have,” Eyster said. “He’s a really good on-ball defender and a great finisher for a guy his size. It’s good to be able to have a guy like that to lean on. He was big for us tonight.”
Central York 89, Cedar Cliff 39: At Central York, Braden Richard led the Panthers by scoring 18 points. Also for Central: Alex Salter knocked in 14 points, including four from behind the arc; Larry Hunt scored 12; and Gabe Guidinger scored 10. Central improved to 6-3. Cedar Cliff fell to 3-6.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at email@example.com.