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High School Basketball

High school basketball: Buckeye falls to Keystone in Division II Sectional Final

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LAGRANGE — If the Buckeye and Keystone boys basketball teams met in the NBA Finals, it would probably be a seven-game series.

As it was, the fourth-seeded Wildcats won the rubber match of three games this season, defeating the fifth-seeded Bucks 54-48 Friday in a North Ridgeville Division II Sectional final.

“It’s just a rivalry,” said Keystone star Brody Kuhl, who suffered through a 2-for-16 shooting night but still grabbed nine rebounds and passed for two assists. “People always say it’s Keystone-Wellington, but if the money is on, I’d say Buckeye.”

Buckeye (17-7) led 14-5 early but fell behind 34-24 with 3:42 left in the third period after giving up an 11-0 run.

The Bucks tried to rally behind shooting guard Anthony Watkins (16 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists) but never regained the lead.

“Anthony is a warrior,” Buckeye coach Tom Harrington said. “He never quits and he plays with a ton of heart. If we could get all the guys in the program to play with that effort, it would be a great thing.”

Spencer Imes added 12 points on four 3-pointers for the Bucks and Brock Brumfield had 10, but Buckeye struggled shooting the ball after its fast start.

“I thought that was the story of the game,” Harrington said. “They made more shots than we did. We gave ourselves chances, but they just made a lot of shots.”

Keystone (19-4), which will play top-seeded Holy Name in a district semifinal Wednesday at North Ridgeville, had a lot of players make up for Kuhl’s off-night shooting.

Ethan Sokolowski had 18 points and six assists and Matt Mealwitz and Drake Rodick had 10 points apiece for the Wildcats, who made 13-of-19 shots in the second half. Included was a banked 3-pointer by Sokolowski at the end of the third quarter that put Keystone ahead 39-28.

“There’s no ‘I’ in team,” Kuhl said. “Just because I’m the leader doesn’t mean every game is on me. I tell these guys all the time, ‘I trust you.”’

Buckeye twice pulled within two points in the fourth quarter, but Keystone, which didn’t attempt its first free throw until 1:15 was left in the game, answered each time to win its 13th straight.

“I know (Kuhl) struggled, but we’ve been in this situation year after year,” Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer said. “He just wants it so bad. He makes us go even when he goes 2-for-whatever. We’re not taking him out of the game.”

Contact Rick Noland at sports@medina-gazette.com.

Keystone 54, Buckeye 48

BUCKEYE 14 8 6 20 — 48

KEYSTONE 9 12 18 15 — 54

Buckeye — Spencer Imes 4-11 0-0 12, Carter Hudak 2-5 0-0 4, Justin Canedy 2-5 2-2 6, Anthony Watkins 6-15 2-4 16, Brock Brumfield 4-6 0-0 10, Adam Fauver 0-0 0-0 0, Mike Knoll 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18-43 4-6 48.

Keystone — Kevin Mealwitz 2-4 0-0 6, Matt Mealwitz 5-5 0-0 10, Brody Kuhl 2-16 0-1 4, Drake Rodick 4-7 0-0 10, Ethan Sokolowski 6-8 2-2 18, Mason Strader 1-1 0-0 2, Jeremy Gerhardinger 2-6 0-0 4. TOTALS: 22-47 2-3 54.

3-point goals — Buckeye 8-26 (Imes 4-11, Brumfield 2-4, Watkins 2-7, Knoll 0-1, Hudak 0-3), Keystone 8-18 (Sokolowski 4-5, K. Mealwitz 2-3, Rodick 2-5, Kuhl 0-5). Rebounds — Buckeye 16 (Brumfield, Imes 4), Keystone 27 (Kuhl 9). Assists — Buckeye 8 (Watkins 6), Keystone 17 (Sokolowski, K. Mealwitz 6). Turnovers — Buckeye 8 (Canedy 4), Keystone 12 (K. Mealwitz 4). Total fouls — Buckeye 11, Keystone 8. Fouled out — None. Records — Buckeye (17-7), Keystone (19-4).

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