BROADVIEW HTS. — The Wadsworth boys basketball team went .500 Tuesday night.
The Grizzlies were demolished on the scoreboard, losing 68-48 to well-schooled Brecksville in a Suburban League National Conference game in which they trailed by as many as 29 points.
On a positive note, point guard Carson Risher made a successful season debut for Wadsworth (3-5, 1-4) after fracturing three bones in his left ankle, breaking his fibula and suffering ligament damage in Week 7 of the football season.
“It felt really good,” said Risher, who had five points, three rebounds, four assists and three turnovers while playing about half the game, most of it in short spurts. “I’ve been waiting for that for the past 12 weeks.
“It was hard to sit on the sideline and watch my teammates play — easy to support them but hard to watch.”
Risher ran with a slight limp and wasn’t 100 percent when it came to making quick cuts, but Wadsworth coach Mike Moser was encouraged to the point that he said the 5-foot-11 senior is “incredibly close” to moving into the starting lineup. The earliest that could come is Friday, when the need-a-point-guard Grizzlies host Hudson in SL National play.
“My biggest thing was seeing the cutting,” Moser said. “I wanted to see how he was able to move defensively. I thought he did well. I love the fact he got a little frustrated when he saw a guy waiting to come in for him. He’s a competitor. He didn’t want to come out.”
Risher was subbed in and out of the game even in garbage time, with all his points coming in the final 5:02, after the Bees (7-3, 4-1) had started clearing their bench.
“I didn’t lose a lot of energy,” he said. “I feel like I could go out and play another game.”
Risher didn’t get out of a walking boot until the week before Christmas and had gone through six practices prior to taking the floor against Brecksville, but his wind wasn’t an issue.
“I tried to keep in shape as much as possible,” he said. “I felt almost as normal as I would have before the injury, but there’s still a peak I can get to in order to get back to where I was.”
The rest of the game wasn’t nearly as encouraging for the Grizzlies. They trailed 18-11 after the first period, 33-15 late in the second following a 12-0 Brecksville run, 52-25 with 2:07 left in the third and 63-34 in the fourth.
Executing their man-to-man offense to near perfection, the Bees mixed quick drives and pull-up jumpers from 6-4 Youngstown State commit Kenny Ganley (17 points, 4 rebounds) with repeated drive and kicks, which allowed 6-3 sophomore Joe Labus (24 points, 4 rebounds) and 5-10 junior wing J.C. Sejba (15 points) to combine for 10 3-pointers in 14 attempts.
“They shot lights out,” Moser said. “I’d seen them a couple times and I knew they could shoot, but not like that. They executed very well. We gave them open looks after three or four drive and kicks and it killed us. They started off hot, got good looks and kept that going.”
With Labus getting 11 points in the first period, Sejba scoring 12 in the third and Ganley consistent throughout, the Bees were 12-for-22 on 3-pointers and 7-for-11 from inside the arc through three periods.
Wadsworth, which didn’t have anyone score in double figures, didn’t have nearly enough firepower to answer. Point guard Brendan Merhar led the Grizzlies with nine points, Jacob McDermitt scored eight off the bench in the second half and big men Jack Simmons and Beau Casey had six apiece.
No individual had more than four rebounds in the game, with Risher, Merhar, Simmons and Casey tying for the Wadsworth team lead with three apiece.
“They’re a tough matchup for us defensively,” Moser said. “Offensively, I hoped to capitalize a little more at the other end.”
Alex Risher had 22 points as Wadsworth won the junior varsity game 58-40. Jaydon Lucas added 10 for the Grizzlies.
Brecksville 68, Wadsworth 48
WADSWORTH 11 7 12 18 — 48
BRECKSVILLE 18 15 16 14 — 68
Wadsworth — T.J. Lockwood 1-0-3, Jack Simmons 3-0-6, Beau Casey 3-0-6, Jacob Jariga 1-0-3, Brendan Merhar 3-2-9, Carson Risher 1-3-5, Jacob McDermitt 2-3-8, Lance Steward 0-0-0, Trevor Smith 1-2-4, Mitch Evans 1-0-2, Stanley Bingham 0-0-0, Chris Callahan 1-0-2, Jaydon Lucas 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-10-48.
Brecksville — J.C. Sejba 5-0-15, Joe Labas 9-1-24, Kenny Ganley 6-4-17, Tommy Barth 1-0-2, Jeremy Jonozzo 0-0-0, Tyler Ganley 1-0-3, Thomas Green 1-0-2, Jack Winegard 0-1-1, Jacob Henyey 0-0-0, Kaleb Austin 0-2-2, Ryan Knaack 1-0-2. TOTALS: 24-8-68.
3-point goals — Lockwood, Jariga, Merhar, McDermitt, Sejba 5, Labas 5, K. Ganley, T. Ganley. Rebounds — Wadsworth 18 (Simmons, Merhar, Evans, Risher 3), Brecksville 19 (K. Ganley, Labas 4). Assists — Wadsworth 11 (Risher 4), Brecksville 14 (Barth, Jonozzo 3). Records — Wadsworth (3-5, 1-4), Brecksville (7-3, 5-1). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 58, Brecksville 40.