Westlake trio boosts West squad in All-Star victory|
The game had a distinctive Westlake feel to it, and for good reason.
The Demons were well represented at Tuesday night’s Greater Cleveland Basketball Coaches All-Star Night. With seniors Maggie Zimmerman, Liz Kobe and Rachel Collins leading the way, the West dominated and came away with a 94-53 win over the East in the Red Game at Lakewood High School.
In the nightcap, the East got out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back to gain a 73-45 decision...
Bees break district drought with win over Demons|
Somehow, some way, high school hoops history was going to be made Saturday night at the Grafton Division I district championship game.
It took nearly all of the game’s 32 minutes, but in the end it was Brecksville that made the night one for the record books.
The Bees, looking to win their first boys district basketball championship in 33 years, did just that with a hard-fought 58-53 win over Westlake. The Southwestern Conference champions advanced to the Sweet 16 and a regional semifinal matchup with Nordonia Wednesday night in Akron.
“Thirty three years...That’s a long time,” said Brecksville head coach Steve Mehalic as his team prepared to cut down the nets.
“We got some emails from some of our former players like Eric Musselman and other guys...
Intense Demons topple Elyria, reach district finale|
This morning, the Westlake Demons are exactly where they wanted to be:
In the Division I district championship game.
The Demons, playing with what head coach Shawn Hood called “tournament intensity,” jumped out to an early lead and held off a determined Elyria squad in the second half. That effort allowed them to come away with a 70-55 win over the Pioneers in a district semifinal matchup at Midview High School.
“We stepped our intensity at the beginning more than we did the first time we played them,” said Westlake’s senior point guard Shawn Turk, who had 10 points and six rebounds. “We took care of the ball better. I don’t know if I took better care of it, but as a team I think we did.
“We moved the ball around and played our offense...
Rockets fall short against Central in district semis|
Late in the fourth quarter, the Bay basketball team found victory within reach against top-seeded Cleveland Central Catholic. But the Ironmen, as they had done throughout the game, went on one last run and fought off the Rockets’ upset bid, 65-55, in a Division II district semifinal Wednesday night at Westlake High School.
Bay finished its season at 12-13, while Central moved on to Saturday night’s district championship game. The Ironmen will take on the winner of Thursday night’s semifinal between Rocky River and defending champion Benedictine.
“It seemed like all night, except for that first quarter, we were one bucket, two buckets behind,” said Bay head coach Jason Frolo, whose team jumped out to an early 13-11 lead after one quarter of play. “We could never get over the hump and take the lead. They’re a good team...
Grizzlie defense dispatches Streaks from tourney|
With the first eight minutes in the books, everything seemed to be going Magnificat’s way. The Blue Streaks had a 10-6 lead over powerhous Wadsworth, and the Grizzlies were struggling to find their shot.
That’s when Wadsworth’s defense took over.
The Grizzlies’ full-court press turned up the heat and held Magnificat scoreless in the second quarter. They turned that defensive effort into an 18-0 run as Wadsworth came away with a 46-27 win in Tuesday night’s Division I regional semifinal at North Royalton High School.
Wadsworth, now 25-2, will take on Toledo Notre Dame Academy in the regional championship game Saturday afternoon in Norwalk. Magnificat bows out of the tournament at 18-8 after reaching the Sweet 16 for a second consecutive season. “Wadsworth is a very talented team,” said Blue Streaks head coach Meghann Hubach...
Pirates earn district berth with win over Vermilion|
For the third time this season, Rocky River managed to fight off a strong challenge from West Shore Conference foe Vermilion. And for the third straight year, the Pirates find themselves in the Division II district tournament.
Their reward? A rematch with defending district champion Benedictine.
Rocky River, behind the 22-point performance of Ryan McCrone, broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter and defeated the Sailors, 56-46, Saturday night. The Pirates will now tangle with the Bengals Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Westlake High School gym.
Last year, the two teams met in the district championship game, with Benedictine coming out on top 57-24. The Bengals, seeded second in this year’s tournament, easily got past Cleveland Max Hayes, 75-43, in Saturday’s first sectional final.
“They’re a very good team,” said Pirates head coach Michael Murray of the 8-16 Bengals. “You look at their record...
CHAMPIONS! Streaks defeat Elyria for district title|
Throughout their tournament run, Magnificat had used long scoring runs to put away its opponents early. But there was something different about the Blue Streaks’ Saturday afternoon matchup with Elyria.
Early on, the young Streaks seemed to be facing two opponents: A determined Pioneer team and the jitters.
Fouls, missed layups and turnovers crept into Magnificat’s game, and it seemed like there was no long run to be found as Elyria took a 13-11 first quarter lead.
But as it turned out, that scoring run was there all along. It just didn’t appear until the final five minutes of the game.
With the Pioneers rallying to within three points, the Blue Streaks hit the gas. They went on a 13-4 run to close out a 51-39 win that clinched their second-straight Division I district championship...
Rockets roar past Buckeye, into district tourney|
For the second year in a row, the Bay Rockets are playing their best basketball when it counts the most.
After finishing off the regular season with three straight wins, the Rockets now find themselves just two games away from the Sweet 16. Friday night, they broke open a close game early with a 12-0 run and won a Division II sectional title with a 64-53 win over Buckeye at Westlake High School.
Bay, now 12-12, takes its five-game winning streak back to Westlake Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. district semifinal game against No. 1 seed Cleveland Central Catholic. The Ironmen advanced Friday night with a hard-fought 83-76 win over Padua.
“Whenever we can get out and run, that’s when we’re at our best,” said senior guard Ryan Voiers, who led the Rockets with 14 points. “That helped us out a lot tonight.
“We don’t have one dominant scorer...
Magnificat overwhelms Avon, reaches district final|
For the first four minutes of the game, Avon was right where it wanted to be against top-seeded Magnificat.
But from that point on, it must have seemed like a tidal wave of navy blue was washing away the Eagles’ district title hopes.
Down 8-6, Magnificat quickly showed why it was the favorite to repeat as district champions. The Blue Streaks, bolstered by the hot shooting hand of Sarah Scelza, went on a dominating 30-5 run to close out the first half and buried Avon, 58-29, in a Division I semifinal game Wednesday night at Elyria Catholic’s Coliseum.
Magnificat will now face Elyria, which defeated Amherst 45-32 in Wednesday night’s first semifinal contest. Tipoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Coliseum.
Avon, which closed out its season at 14-9, saw things go south in a hurry as the combination of turnovers and Scelza’s shooting proved to be too much to overcome...
Rockets battle back to beat Johnson, Green Wave|
The old adage says you always should look out for No. 1. That bit of advice took on a whole new meaning Tuesday night for the Bay basketball team.
The Rockets had their hands full with Holy Name sophomore Lawrynce Johnson in their Division II sectional tournament opener at Westlake. But they pulled together for one of their best halves of basketball this season, roaring back to claim a 75-71 win over Johnson and the Green Wave.
Bay, now 11-12, advanced to Friday night’s sectional final game with Buckeye at 6 p.m. But it took a combination of defense, hard work under the boards and timely shooting to get there as Johnson put on a performance to remember.
The 6-1 Johnson, who wears No. 1, scored 44 points with a combination of 3-pointers, free throws and lightening-quick drives to the basket. He was a big part in the Green Wave grabbing an early 20-11 lead and 56-51 advantage early...
Blue Streaks roll past Eagles, move on to district|
Heading into tournament play, Magnificat head coach Meghann Hubach had some concerns about how her young team would handle the rigors of postseason basketball.
If Saturday’s Division I sectional final game with North Olmsted was any indication, most of those concerns were put to rest...at least for one day.
The Blue Streaks began to pull away from Eagles in the second quarter, then blew the game wide open in the third in a convincing 76-36 win at the Elyria Catholic Coliseum. Magnificat ran off 21-straight points in the second half to clinch a spot in this week’s district semifinals.
The No. 1 seeded Streaks will now face Avon, a 45-41 winner over Avon Lake in Saturday’s other sectional title game. That Wednesday night matchup will be the second game of a doubleheader, with Amherst taking on Elyria in the first semifinal at 6 p.m...
Eagles rally late to turn away Shoregals' upset bid|
A quick look in the scorebook showed that Jessica Yurkovich scored a mere three points in Saturday’s Division I tournament game with Avon Lake.
Those may be the biggest three points of her young varsity career.
The Avon sophomore scored those three crucial points in the game’s final 50 seconds to help her team get past the upset-minded Shoregals, 45-41, in a sectional final game at the Elyria Catholic Coliseum.
The Eagles, now 14-9, avoided what would have been their second-straight tournament loss to Avon Lake in the sectional finals. Avon will now play in next Wednesday’s district semifinals against No. 1 Magnificat, a 74-34 winner over North Olmsted in Saturday’s other sectional title game.
“We knew coming into today’s game...
CHAMPIONS! Avon tops Midview for share of WSC|
With just under a minute left and Avon clinging to a 2-point lead, it was still anybody’s ballgame.
As the packed house reached a fever pitch, Eagle guard Brian Kelly found himself getting trapped in the backcourt against the Midview press. But as he looked up, there was Zack Torbert...
Kelly fired the long pass to his sophomore teammate, who made the wide-open layup in front of the frenzied Eagles Nest. That bucket, along with some clutch free throws...
CHAMPIONS! Pirates top Rangers to clinch title tie|
Early in the 2012-13 season, Rocky River head coach Michael Murray felt his team’s offense was going to be a work in progress.
“I think this is a group that will get better each and every game,” he said after the Pirates’ West Shore Conference opener against Bay.
The Pirates indeed got better, and now they have the hardware to prove it.
Rocky River jumped out to a 10-0 start Thursday night and held off a late Lakewood rally to top the Rangers, 55-43, and clinch a share of the WSC championship. Avon defeated Midview, 54-50, the following night to claim its share of the conference crown.
“This is a testament to the confidence of our seniors,” said Murray, whose program won its second WSC title in three years.
“This guy right here said before the season how much confidence he had in us winning a conference championship,” said Murray...
Season ends for Westlake in OT loss to Pioneers|
After trailing by 17 points in the first quarter, Westlake had battled all the way back.
A tenacious defense, along with a monster of a game by freshman Monica Fury, had the Demons poised to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. With a 40-36 lead, all that was needed was one more score, one more defensive play...
One more free throw.
But none of those materialized for the Demons. Instead, Elyria got a pair of baskets from Alexis Middlebrooks in the final minute, then scored...
Royalton holds off Lakewood to win sectional final|
Lakewood came into Wednesday’s Division I sectional final against North Royalton chasing an improbable 21st victory. The Rangers then proceeded to chase the Bears for 32 minutes.
In the end, they caught neither.
After a late-game rally that saw the Rangers cut a 34-22 halftime deficit to four points in the fourth quarter, the Bears managed to drain the clock and hit their free throws to escape with a 52-43 win at Valley Forge.
The fourth-seeded Rangers finish their season at 20-4. The No. 5 Bears (14-8) move on to face No. 1 St. Joseph Academy in the district semifinals Feb. 28.
“I think we were a little impatient...
Sluggish offense leads to tourney loss for Rockets|
Facing top-seeded Fairview in the opening round of the Elyria Division II Sectional Tournament was a tough enough task for the young Bay Rockets.
A poor shooting night made the challenge virtually insurmountable.
The Rockets made a quick exit from the tournament, shooting a nightmarish 16 percent from the floor in dropping a 42-30 decision to the Warriors Monday at Elyria High. Bay closed out the 2012-13 campaign at 9-14, while Fairview advanced at 19-4.
“What an unfortunate time to have another rough offensive game,” said Bay head coach Chris Brewer, whose team made just eight shots from the floor in 50 attempts.
“We put up shots left and right that just would not go down,” Brewer said. “We got the ball right where we wanted it...
Photos: Streaks top Irish, get ready for tournament|
Magnificat concluded its 2012-13 regular season with a 52-42 win over Akron St.Vincent-St. Mary Saturday afternoon at the House of Blues.
Now it’s tournament time.
The Blue Streaks held off a late rally by the Fighting Irish to finish the regular season at 15-7. Sarah Scelza led Magnificat with 22 points, while Claire Martin and Elise Keshock added nine and eight points, respectively.
The Division I Sectional/District Tournament at Elyria Catholic is next for Magnificat. The Blue Streaks, the defending district champions, are the No. 1 seed and will face North Olmsted Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the second game of a doubleheader.
In the first game, Avon will take on Avon Lake at 1 p.m. The winners of those two Saturday games will play Wed., Feb. 27 in the district semifinals...
Bees get past short-handed Demons in OT thriller|
If the final Southwestern Conference boys basketball game at Westlake’s gymnasium had been televised, it would have certainly qualified for ‘instant classic’ status.
Regardless, Friday night’s SWC barn burner between arch-rivals Brecksville and Westlake proved to be one for the ages.
The Demons, playing without leading scorer Gavin Skelly and head coach Shawn Hood, gave the SWC champion Bees all they could handle. And because of that effort, it took an extra four minutes of play for the visitors to leave town with a hard-fought 66-63 overtime win before an enthusiastic packed house at Westlake High.
Brecksville, which wrapped up its third-straight SWC championship and first outright title last week, had its collective hands full with a determined band of Demons. Prior to the game, Westlake found out Skelly and Hood would be unavailable for the game due to an OHSAA rules violation. But after spotting Brecksville a 21-9 first-quarter lead, the Demons...
Rangers top River to cap off championship season|
The first time the Lakewood and Rocky River girls met on the hardwood, defense dominated the first half as the Rangers managed to pull away in the second half.
In Wednesday night’s rematch, Lakewood still struggled at times against the Pirates’ defensive effort. But the West Shore Conference champions got some breathing room early and finished the 2012-13 regular season with a 43-30 win over their across-the-bridge rivals.
With the win, Lakewood finished its first WSC season at 13-1 in the conference and 19-3 overall under rookie head coach Mike Harper. The Rangers now turn their attention to the Division I Sectional Tournament at Valley Forge where they take on Berea Saturday.
Rocky River closed out its regular season at 8-14 overall and 8-6 in the WSC. The Pirates begin Division II Sectional Tournament play Monday...
Threes power Avon's Eagles past North Olmsted|
While the Avon Eagles have been pretty efficient shooting the ball this season, they haven’t necessarily been known for being a prolific 3-point shooting team.
After Tuesday night’s display at North Olmsted, that’s just one more thing the Eagles’ opponents have to worry about in coming weeks.
Avon nailed 10 3-pointers, including a torrid six in a row, and got some stellar play from its bench bunch as well to get a dominating 70-43 win over North Olmsted’s Eagles in non-conference play. All 13 Avon players scored on a night where it seemed the visitors could do no wrong.
“Everyone got a chance to play tonight,” said Avon head coach Kevin Sapara, whose team moved to 10-6 overall.
“It was a great team win. We didn’t let up when we got the lead, and then we were able to extend it...
Streaks pull away in second half to defeat Rangers|
From the opening tipoff, Lakewood displayed a defensive intensity that kept Magnificat’s potent offense in check for the better part of three quarters.
Ironically, that intensity may have proven to be the visiting Rangers’ undoing.
The Blue Streaks, hinderd by turnovers and rushed shots for the first 20-plus minutes of play, regained their composure late in the third quarter. They found some holes in the Lakewood press and gradually pulled away for a 59-45 win Saturday afternoon at the House of Blues.
Magnificat, now 14-6 on the season, used a 14-1 run to break open a game that had been closely contested throughout. The Blue Streaks...
Demons overcome slow start to dominate Eagles|
With 5:30 left in the first half, the North Olmsted Eagles had visiting Westlake Demons right where they wanted them.
On a well-executed give-and-go play, Jason Brent took a pass from Sean Needles, then hit him cutting down the lane for a layup. With the score 16-16, the Orange and Black looked like they might have a shot at breaking their Southwestern Conference winless streak.
That outlook changed drastically over the next 5:26.
After a chat with head coach Shawn Hood durning a timeout, the Demons went on a 15-3 run to close out the half. The onslaught continued in the third quarter as the Demons left town with a convincing 64-34 win Friday night.
“We needed to play with high energy. We needed to play with hunger,” said Hood, whose team was coming off a tough 61-58 loss to Berea...
Young Rockets continue to improve, drub Rangers|
As the 2012-13 regular season winds down and the tournament season approaches, now might not be a good time to have the Bay girls basketball team on your schedule.
The Rockets, with a rotation full of underclassmen, went through more than their fair share of struggles early on this season. But over the past few games, Bay has shown that it may have reached the upward trend of the learning curve.
Last Saturday, the youthful Rockets knocked West Shore Conference rival Avon out of conference contention with a stunning 53-52 overtime win. Wednesday night, they hosted North Ridgeville and dominated the game from start to finish in a convincing 59-21 decision in WSC play...
Poyle powers Eagles past Pirates, into WSC lead|
There’s a new leader in the West Shore Conference boys basketball race.
Avon, behind the play of senior guard Jack Poyle, stunned Rocky River with a 20-0 second-half run and closed out a 52-41 win over the Pirates in a pivotal WSC contest Tuesday night.
With the win, the Eagles take a half-game lead on Rocky River and Lakewood with a 9-2 conference record. Avon has three WSC games remaining, starting this Friday night when it hosts Bay.
River falls out of first place and into a tie with Lakewood with four games remaining due to cancelled games last Friday night. The Pirates and Rangers are both 8-2.
“We were playing River’s tempo in the first half,” said Avon head coach Kevin Sapara, whose team...
CHAMPIONS! Lakewood tops EC, claims WSC title|
With 3:22 left in the game, the West Shore Conference girls basketball championship was still up for grabs.
Josie Carandang had just pulled Elyria Catholic to within three points of visiting Lakewood, 36-33. With a win, the Panthers would move into a first place tie with the Rangers with two conference games remaining.
But Mikayla Harper and her Ranger teammates had other plans. Lakewood’s sophomore guard went seven of eight from the free throw line to spark a 14-5 run that powered the Rangers to a 50-38 win Saturday afternoon at the EC Coliseum...
Demons play their game, turn tables on Shoremen|
Looking back at their first meeting with Avon Lake, Westlake head coach Shawn Hood said he felt the Shoremen caught his Demons “off guard.”
On a cold, snowy Friday night in late-January, there were no surprises this time around.
The two teams battled on even terms for the better part of three quarters. But Westlake used a 9-0 spurt late in the third quarter and left Avon Lake with a 54-47 win in this Southwestern Conference rematch.
“In the first game, we didn’t respect them like we respected them this time,” Hood said. “Before the first game, I hadn’t seen them play or had an opportunity to have them scouted. Their athleticism and quickness caught us off guard.
“This time it didn’t. We were prepared...
Pressure defense powers Streaks past Holy Name|
The Magnificat basketball team has always hung its hat on its full-court pressure defense. And even if a team beats the pressure in the back court, the Blue Streaks keep the pressure on in the front court by trapping and cutting off the passing lanes.
It’s a fun style of basketball to watch...unless you’re the opposing team.
Visiting Holy Name got a good dose of that defense Wednesday night. When it was all said and done, the Green Wave coughed up the ball 28 times and shot 25 percent from the floor as the young Blue Streaks ran away with a 55-35 win.
“That was one of our goals, to set the tone and tempo early in the game,” admitted Magnificat head coach Meghann Hubach, whose team forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone in taking a quick 15-5 lead. “We were back home with four games left,” Hubach said. “We knew this was an important win to get...
Rocky River fights off pesky Patriots for 54-44 win|
Throughout the first three quarters, Rocky River had its hands full with visiting Valley Forge.
The Patriots, winners of just three games this season, came into the Pirates’ gym determined to pull off the upset. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Pirates were able to pull away and earn a 54-44 win Tuesday night in a non-conference basketball game.
With the win, Rocky River improved to 9-6 overall and won its first non-conference game of the season. But getting there wasn’t nearly as easy for the Pirates as the final scored indicated.
“I think you have to credit them,” said River head coach Michael Murray of the Patriots’ performance.
“In the first half, they shot the ball very well,” Murray said. “They stretched our defense a little bit, got some threes and got rolling. They were pretty physical too. They play a great schedule, so our kids had to grind there a little bit...
Race for WSC crown tightens as Eagles get by EC|
With 2:20 left in the fourth quarter, it was anybody’s ballgame.
For the first 29:40, Avon and Elyria Catholic had battled on even terms. Panther senior Brittney McNamara had just tied the game at 46-all with a long-range 3-pointer from the left wing. Neither team looked like it was willing to budge an inch.
With just under two minutes left, Avon’s Sierra Davidson scored inside with what proved to be the game-winning bucket. But it wasn’t until Alexandra Bjorn rebounded a missed EC shot from point-blank range in the final seconds that the Eagles were able to secure the hard-fought 48-46 win in a West Shore Conference Saturday matinee thriller...
Rangers explode in second half to topple Rockets|
Things weren’t looking good for the Lakewood Rangers.
One of their top scorers, Pete Nelson, was sidelined with an injury. Fellow senior Aaron Donahoe was battling the flu bug, further weakening a lineup that was already without junior guard Jacob Schmidt due to a season-ending injury.
As a result, the Rangers found points hard to come by early on in their game with visiting Bay. To make matters worse, the taller Rockets were also having their way on the boards. Trailing 20-17 at halftime, Lakewood was looking for answers.
As the second half unfolded, it was obvious those answers had been found.
The Rangers cranked up their defense, took over the game on the glass and exploded for 40 points second-half points, rolling to a 57-39 win over Bay Friday night in a key West Shore Conference game...
Late fourth-quarter rally gets Demons past Bears|
After three straight losses, the Westlake girls basketball team needed a win.
Early on in the fourth quarter against North Royalton, the Demons were staring loss No. 4 square in the face. A Nikki Newman basket inside had given the visiting Bears a 45-39 lead and some momentum heading into the final six minutes of play.
But despite the deficit, Westlake’s pressure defense was taking its toll on the young North Royalton squad. As a result, the Demons took advantage of numerous Bear turnovers down the stretch and scratched out a 52-49 win Wednesday night in non-conference play.
“That was a big win for us,” admitted Westlake head coach Chip Weiss. “It’s been like this the past couple of games where we just couldn’t hit any shots. Nothing has been falling in for us...
Shoremen top Eagles, extend SWC winning streak|
It might not have been pretty at times, but a win is still a win.
Avon Lake, struggling to find consistency on offense at times, still had more than enough to get past visiting North Olmsted, 58-37, Tuesday night in Southwestern Conference basketball action.
The Shoremen, now 9-4 overall, have won five straight in the SWC to remain tied with Berea for second place behind front-running Brecksville. But Shoremen head coach Eric Smith knew his team would have to shore up their game in a hurry with the Bees coming to town Friday night.
“I was happy in that I thought our defensive pressure was good at times,” said Smith, whose team forced 25 Eagle turnovers and used a solid transition game on its way...
Pirates prevail in defensive struggle with Rockets|
After eight straight losses to Rocky River, Bay had its chance.
With the two teams locked in a hard-fought defensive struggle, the Rockets were within a point of their arch rivals as the final minute ticked off the scoreboard clock. But for the ninth straight time, the Pirates managed to pull out the win, taking a 44-40 decision Friday night at the Launch Pad.
Rocky River improved to 7-5 overall and 7-1 in the West Shore Conference. The win also put the Pirates all alone in first place as Lakewood lost to Avon 57-38 Friday night.
“First of all, you’ve got to credit Bay’s defense,” said Pirate head coach Michael Murray, whose team committed eight turnovers and shot just one of five from the floor in the fourth quarter. Those problems allowed the Rockets to rally from a 10-point deficit in the final 3:47.
“They did a great job staying in front of us and they really...
Video: Pirate girls hold off Rockets for WSC win|
While their offense continues to struggle, there’s no denying the defense being played by the Rocky River girls basketball team this season.
Friday night, the Pirates traveled to arch-rival Bay and held the Rockets to nine first-half points on their way to a 36-28 win in the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader. The win improved River’s record in the West Shore Conference to 5-2, while the Rockets fell to 3-4. In the nightcap, the River boys prevailed in a defensive struggle as well...
Demon defense dominates in win over Lakewood|
After a convincing win over North Olmsted last Friday, Westlake faced a tough test as West Shore Conference co-leader Lakewood brought it’s trapping defense and fast-break offense to town.
But as the game’s final buzzer sounded, the Demons’ defense had passed the test with flying colors.
Westlake defused the Rangers’ potent transition attack and used a strong half-court game on the way to a 61-45 win Tuesday night. The win upped the Demons’ overall record to 8-3 heading into Friday night’s big Southwestern Conference game at Brecksville.
“I thought our guys played really good defense,” said Westlake head coach Shawn Hood, whose team allowed just 11 field goals on the night and just three 2-pointers overall.
“That was the goal. We wanted to guard them,” Hood said...
Lakewood uses big third quarter to get past River|
With the first half in the books, Rocky River seemed poised for the upset.
The Pirates’ defense was clicking on all cylinders, holding Lakewood’s potent offense to just 10 first-half points. And with Rangers starting guard Maggie Rowell out with an injury, River’s opportunity was knocking on the door.
But after the Pirates took the lead early in the second half, that opportunity fled. Lakewood went on a 19-2 run and never looked back on its way to a 42-27 win Saturday afternoon in West Shore Conference action.
The Rangers, now 12-1 overall, have won 12 straight after a season-opening loss to St. Joseph Academy. They also finished the first half of the WSC season all alone in first place at 7-0. River fell to 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the conference. “We watched them play Magnificat,” said Rangers first-year head coach Mike Harper, whose team shot 58 percent...
Pirates rally in second half, stun Lakewood 53-49|
As the first half came to a close, Zach Fehrenbach’s shot inside went through the net and gave visiting Lakewood a 28-17 lead at Rocky River.
At that point, the Rangers could seemingly do no wrong. They had used an early 12-0 run to build up their lead, their defense was forcing turnover after turnover and Pete Nelson was draining NBA-range 3-pointers like there was no tomorrow.
That all changed in the second half.
The Pirates turned the tables and blitzed Lakewood with a 23-5 run to start the second half. The Rangers recovered, but River outshot them at the free throw line down the stretch to come away with a 53-49 win in a thrilling basketball version of the Battle for the Bridge Friday night.
But there was more than bragging rights on the line in this game. The win allowed River to move back into a tie for first place...
Shoregals hold on, beat North Olmsted for first win|
With the clock winding down, North Olmsted’s Tara Kelley quickly dribbled the ball up court. Speeding past an Avon Lake defender, she reached the 3-point line, pulled up and launched a shot from the right wing.
As the buzzer sounded, the ball bounced off the front of the rim. While the Eagles’ rally fell short, there was a bit more celebrating than normal on the Shoregal bench.
Avon Lake, which had built a 13 point lead in the fourth quarter, held on for dear life down the stretch and came away with a 49-46 win over North Olmsted Wednesday night. It was the Shoregals’ first win of the season after 11 straight losses.
“We haven’t been in that situation for a long time,” quipped head coach Dave Zvara as foul trouble and North Olmsted’s full-court press made the game’s final two minutes a challenge for his Shoregals. “We weren’t sure how to react to it...
Walton's 3-pointer sends Westlake home with loss|
With 37 seconds left in the game, Westlake’s Jamie Lackner found a crack in Elyria’s defense. From the top of the key, he drove the ball down the lane and hit a little floater that gave the Demons a 44-43 lead.
But just 12 seconds later, Elyria’s Isaiah Walton came up with a big shot of his own.
The 6-3 junior guard pulled up on the right wing and launched a 3-pointer that hit nothing but net. That shot proved to be the game-winner as Elyria downed Westlake, 47-44, Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action.
“Isaiah’s three was huge,” said Elyria head coach Brett Larrick, whose team moved to 8-2 on the season. “We knew we could get some shots. We’ve got two really good guards in Isaiah and Kody Bender. “Isaiah hit the big three, and Kody did a nice job taking care of the ball and getting to the free throw line...
Lakewood back on track with win over Shoremen|
Despite some early-season success, the Lakewood boys basketball team found themselves in need of a win.
The Rangers had been without injured scoring guard Jacob Schmidt after the Dec. 14 game with North Ridgeville. They managed West Shore Conference wins over Elyria Catholic and Vermilion, but lost their first game of the season a week ago against previously winless North Olmsted.
Next up was Avon Lake, which came to town Saturday night having won four of its last five games. The Shoremen were coming off a dominating 52-27 win over Amherst in Southwestern Conference action Friday night. Lakewood proved up to the task. The Rangers...
Big third quarter powers Explorers past Westlake|
As Corinne Furci’s fast-break basket floated through the net, Westlake was right where it wanted to be against visiting Hudson. The Demons trailed by only four, 25-21, after getting hit with a 10-2 run to start the game.
But with just over three minutes left in the first half, the Explorers’ length and athleticism began to take over.
Hudson used an 8-0 run to push the lead back out to 12, then came out of the halftime locker room with a 9-0 spurt. Those two runs led to a convincing 71-51 win over the Demons Thursday night in non-conference hoops action.
“We got to within four points, then there was a guick turn around on their part,” admitted Demons head coach Chip Weiss, whose team fell to 8-4 on the season.
“We had some opportunities to score layups, and we missed a couple in that stretch...
Eagles start new year with win over Rhodes, 63-45|
After taking over the North Olmsted girls program in 2010, Cheryl Bansek feels the tide may be starting to turn for the Eagles in season three of her program rebuild. They got off to a good start to the 2013 portion of their season Wednesday night with a convincing 63-45 win over Cleveland Rhodes in non-conference action.
“We’re ahead of where we were last year at this point,” said Bansek, whose team moved above the .500 mark at 6-5. “And we’re pleased with our progress.
“This is year three for me taking over the program and putting our system in. I think it’s starting to take hold and show on the court in the way we play. Our full-court pressure and intensity have really improved. We have athleticism, and we have speed.
“And we have a lot of length, a lot of height. That makes us a bit different from other teams...
Video: Lady Rockets blast Eagles at the Pad|
The Bay Rockets lady hoopsters took it to North Olmsted Eagles 49-38 last Saturday in a non-conference game at the Rockets Launching Pad. Catch the highlights in this video and photos of JV and Varsity at the link below.
Eagles take advantage of Pirates' offensive woes|
With 5:34 left in the second quarter, Rocky River post player Tom McNamara got the ball inside and scored.
That fact alone wasn’t the big news. The fact that it was the Pirates’ first basket of the game was.
In the previous first 10:25 of the game, a Ricky Bremkamp free throw was all River was able to put on the scoreboard. Avon, despite some offensive challenges of its own, took full advantage and came away with a 36-28 West Shore Conference win Tuesday night.
“I was as puzzled as anybody,” admitted Pirates head coach Michael Murray, whose team...
Shoremen start fast, hold off Demons for SWC win|
In Avon Lake’s first two Southwestern Conference games, getting off to a good start wasn’t enough as the Shoremen faltered late in losses to Brecksville and Berea.
But Friday night at Westlake, a few more pieces of that fourth-quarter puzzle fell into place for head coach Eric Smith’s crew.
Avon Lake again got off to a fast start, taking an 18-10 lead in the first quarter. This time, the Shoremen held on to that lead the rest of the way in a solid 48-40 win over the Demons in a hard-fought SWC hoops matchup.
With the win, the Shoremen evened their overall record at 2-2 and caimed their first SWC win of the young season. Westlake, the defending league co-champion, dropped its first game of the season in five outings and fell one game behind co-leaders Brecksville and Berea. “We gotten off to fast starts in every game we’ve played...
Press ignites Magnificat's 73-30 win over Lorain|
During the first five games of the season, Magnificat head coach Meghann Hubach held in the reigns on her young Blue Streaks. Their trademark game-opening, full-court pressure was nowhere to be found, though the team still got off to a solid 4-1 start.
That all changed Wednesday night when Lorain came calling at the Streak’s House of Blues.
Magnificat came out with full baseline-to-baseline pressure from the opening tip. That effort seemed to spark banner nights in the Streaks’ shooting and rebounding as well, with the home team running away with a 73-30 win over the Titans.
Lorain, also sporting a new-look roster, came into the game with a solid 5-1 record. The Titans also had Division I college recruit, 6-3 Alexandria Harris, back for her senior year. But less than three minutes into the second quarter, the Streaks had already built a 20-point lead, 26-6, and were showing no signs of slowing...
Video: Rangers edge Rockets for narrow WSC win|
The Lakewood boys basketball team is making a big early-season impression in the West Shore Conference.
The Rangers paid a visit to Bay High Tuesday night and came away from the Launch Pad with a thrilling 61-60 win over the Rockets. That kept Lakewood unbeaten at 4-0 overall as well as 2-0 in the WSC.
The visitors had the same one-point lead at halftime, 34-33, and took a 51-47 lead into the fourth quarter. The Rockets rallied, but fell one point short in falling to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in WSC games.
Pat Nelson led a balanced Ranger attack with 14 points, while Shawn McDonald added 12 points and Jacob Schmidt 10. Aaron Donahoe chipped in with another eight points for Lakewood, which hosts North Ridgeville this Friday night. Bay’s senior post player Scott Rapps led his team...
Defenses dominate as Pirates hold on against Bay|
As the first quarter ended, it was evident that Friday night’s Hoops For Hunger game between Bay and Rocky River was going to be a defensive struggle.
But despite the lack of offense on either side, the hotly-contested game still came down to the final minute. The Pirates, who had led since early in the second quarter, held on and escaped with a narrow 42-35 win in the West Shore Conference opener for both teams.
The teams saw their early-season records even out at 1-1 in a game where neither team could muster much offense. Bay managed just 10 field goals in the contest and didn’t score in the second quarter as River turned a 7-6 first quarter deficit into an 18-7 halftime lead.
The Rockets would recover and rally to within two points in the second half, but could never get over the hump as the Pirate defense proved equal to the task.
“The key was that we got off to a good start...
Fast start, defense powers Pirates past Rockets|
After going through three losses to open the 2012-13 season, the Rocky River girls finally broke into the win column on Wednesday night in Vermilion using a simple formula:
Get off to a good start and let the defense finish the job.
That formula resulted in a 41-25 win, and the Pirates continued that trend Friday night as arch rival Bay came to town. River opened with a 7-0 run and never looked back in defeating the Rockets, 49-35, in the first game of the annual Hoops For Hunger doubleheader.
With the win, Rocky River moved to 2-3 overall and stayed on top of the West Shore Conference with Lakewood at 2-0. The Rangers went to 2-0 Friday night as well with a 55-48 win over Avon. The Rockets fell to 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the league as the Rockets’ problems with shooting and...
Fourth quarter rally pushes Rangers past Rockets|
Down 33-19 early in the third quarter, the Bay girls again found themselves trying to dig out of a hole. And with a big lead, Mike Harper’s Lakewood squad was getting another opportunity to learn how to close out a game.
The next 13-plus minutes provided some intersting teaching points for both Harper and his Bay counterpart, Chris Brewer.
The Rockets went on an impressive 16-2 run to close out the quarter and tie the game at 35-35. The visiting Rangers, however, roared back with a 12-2 run of their own in the fourth quarter to leave the Launch Pad with a 47-37 win in the West Shore Conference opener for both teams.
The win lifted Lakewood’s early-season record to 3-1 overall as the Rangers prevailed in their first-ever WSC game. Bay fell to 0-3 despite playing some solid basketball in spurts.
“One of the things I knew we’d have to do is deal with...
Westlake defense, intensity yields win over River|
Westlake head coach Shawn Hood made no bones about what he expected from his Westlake basketball season early on this season.
One of those expectations was for his Demons to play with intensity. If Tuesday night was any indication, that intensity could be a big problem for future opponents to handle.
“I wanted to see another game - back-to-back games - of high-level intensity,” Hood said after his Demons got off to a hot start and took out visiting Rocky River, 68-45, to move to 2-0 on the 2012-13 season.
“I didn’t talk about strategy. I didn’t talk about our pressure,” Hood said. “I wasn’t really specific in terms of scouting. I just wanted to see...
Video: Big second quarter pushes Bay past Eagles|
Bay traveled to North Olmsted to open the 2012-13 high school basketball season Friday night and returned home with a 65-39 win.
The Eagles held a slim 13-11 led after one quarter, but the Rockets outscored them 19-5 in the second quarter to turn the tables and take a 30-18 lead into the locker room at halftime. Craig Linder led Bay with 18 points, while Scott Rapps and Ben Chase chipped in with 13 and 8 points, respectively.
North Olmsted was led by Sean Needles, who poured in 14 points. He was the only Eagle to score in double figures, however, as William Lucien was next in the scoring column with 8 points.
Larry was at the game and captured the action with his photos and video:
Demons' pressure D leads to wins over Bay, Avon|
Three games into the 2012-13 basketball season, Chip Weiss’ game plan has remained consistent:
Press. Force turnovers. Run.
So far, that game plan has worked to perfection. Weiss’ Demons are 3-0 following a 66-48 win over Bay and Saturday night’s 59-47 decision at West Shore Conference favorite Avon. Their next step will be trying to implement the strategy in Southwestern Conference play, beginning Wednesday night at home against Olmsted Falls.
“Our defense is key,” admitted Weiss after Wednesday night’s win over the Rockets. The Demons pressured...
Demons' pressure leads to 51-39 win over Pirates|
With 6:13 left in the first half, things were looking pretty good for the Rocky River basketball team.
The young Pirates, with two freshmen in their starting lineup, held a 17-15 lead and were more than holding their own against visiting Westlake. But for the next 13-plus minutes of the game, it was as if somebody had pulled the plug on River’s offense.
The Demons, sporting a new-look roster of their own, went on a 17-4 run during that stretch. That proved to be the difference as they held off the Pirates down the stretch and left town with a 51-39 win Friday night...