WADSWORTH — It ended on a disputed no-call, but the members of the Wadsworth boys basketball team were smart enough to realize it shouldn’t have come to that.
No whistle blew Tuesday as Tony Hewitt fell forward and to the ground while badly missing a shot near the bucket a split-second before the final buzzer, and Brecksville escaped with a 62-61 Suburban League National Conference victory.
“I definitely feel like I had a clear path to the basket,” said Hewitt, who finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists. “The next thing I know I’m on the ground. Ref’s call. Nothing I can do about it now.”
Wadsworth (8-8, 6-5), which saw its modest two-game winning streak end, went up 61-59 when Jack Simmons (15 points) drove and scored near the 20-second mark.
Brecksville (12-5, 7-4) elected not to call timeout, and left-hander Nate Fuentes, who finished 4-for-12 from the field, hit a 3-pointer from the left wing that went in, rolled up and out and then fell back through the net with 6.2 ticks on the clock.
The Grizzlies called time and got the ball to point guard Christian Szalay, who was fouled — it was only Brecksville’s sixth of the half — near the 28-foot mark with 2.2 seconds to go.
Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. called another timeout and designed a play that nearly worked to perfection. Inbounding from the right sideline, Szalay got the ball to 6-foot-5 center Reid Black in the middle of the key, about 10 feet from the hoop. Black immediately threw a short shuffle pass to Hewitt, who was cutting from the right, but his runner in fairly heavy traffic went over the rim as time expired.
“Whether it’s a foul call or not, we were losing,” said Black, who finished with nine points, four boards and two assists. “If we were winning, we wouldn’t be in that situation.
“We had a 10-point halftime lead and we played soft. We let it get away. We could have taken care of business earlier and we wouldn’t have been in that situation.”
Carson Risher came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers in a span of 1:55 as Wadsworth built a 34-24 lead at intermission, but the Grizzlies took most of the third quarter off and were outscored 21-13.
The game was a dogfight from there, and the Bees wound up winning the second half 38-27 behind stellar efforts from sharpshooter Kenny Ganley, who had 17 of his game-high 23 points after intermission, and undersized but rugged center Mike Rose, who finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.
After making five 3-pointers in the second period and seven in the first half, the Grizzlies hit just 2-of-12 after intermission, when they often shot too quickly and/or had the wrong players shooting the ball.
“We just didn’t come out to play like we did in the first half,” Hewitt said. “We gave them the game.”
The Bees, who abandoned their 2-3 defense for a man-to-man midway through the second period, gladly took it on a night when they had just four players get into the scoring column.
Point guard Sam Wiglusz finished with 11 points, four boards and five assists for Brecksville, while Fuentes had nine points and helped hold — sometimes literally — Wadsworth leading scorer Jake Justice to three points on 1-for-6 shooting.
“We had a lack of focus and a lack of drive,” Black said. “We were just out on the court. We weren’t playing with the same intensity we finished the (first) half with.”
After an impressive 35-point win over Cuyahoga Falls and a 24-point victory over North Royalton, plus a great first half against the Bees, the previously underachieving Grizzlies finally appeared to be turning the corner. Instead, they now find themselves back at .500.
“We’re not where we want to be, but there’s no need to put our heads down and make the situation worse,” Black said. “All we can do is go up, is what I’m saying. By the tournament, we’ll be playing our best basketball.”
The Wadsworth junior varsity closed on an 18-5 run to win 62-55. T.J. Lockwood (17), Brendan Merhar (14) and Trevor Smith (10) scored in double figures for the Grizzlies.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or email@example.com. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.
Brecksville 62, Wadsworth 61
BRECKSVILLE 14 10 21 17 — 62
WADSWORTH 14 20 13 14 — 61
Brecksville — Kenny Ganley 9-1-23, Thomas Green 0-0-0, Mike Rose 9-0-19, Nate Fuentes 4-0-9, Sam WIglusz 4-3-11, Jacob Henyey 0-0-0, Jake Winegard 0-0-0, Cam Seibert 0-0-0. TOTALS: 26-4-62.
Wadsworth — Tony Hewitt 5-4-17, Jack Simmons 6-3-15, Reid Black 4-0-9, Jake Justice 1-0-3, Christian Szalay 1-1-3, Carson Risher 3-0-9, Mitchell Blackburn 1-0-3, Ryan Storad 0-2-2, Beau Casey 0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-10-61.
3-point goals — Ganley 4, Rose, Fuentes, Risher 3, Hewitt 3, Justice, Blackburn, Black. Rebounds — Brecksville 28 (Rose 9), Wadsworth 28 (Hewitt 7). Assists — Brecksville 10 (Wiglusz 5), Wadsworth 14 (Szalay 4). Records — Brecksville (12-5, 7-4), Wadsworth (8-8, 6-5). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 62, Brecksville 55.