YORK TWP. — Brock Brumfield and his Buckeye boys basketball teammates were determined to send a message Tuesday.
Strongsville was the unfortunate recipient.
Senior point guard Brumfield scored a game-high 19 points and senior power forward Michael Knoll had 18 as the Bucks built a 30-point lead, then coasted home with a 60-36 victory over the Mustangs in non-league action.
Senior center Dom Monaco added four points and led all players with nine rebounds and six assists for Buckeye (10-2), which held Strongsville (0-12) to its lowest point total of the season in the first meeting between the schools.
“They’re a big Division I school — tons bigger than us — so we wanted to show everyone what Buckeye basketball is all about,” said Brumfield, who also had three rebounds and four assists. “Honestly, it kind of became personal to us. The more that we talked about it, the more fired up we were to make it happen.”
The Bucks, who never trailed, only committed three turnovers during a near-perfect first half to take a 28-17 advantage into the break. They put the game away once play resumed, holding the Mustangs pointless for 5:24 as part of a 12-0 run.
Brumfield, who singlehandedly outscored Strongsville 10-7 in the third, added an exclamation point in the fourth with a layup that pushed the lead to 58-28 and cleared the benches.
“Watching Brock have this kind of game was very rewarding because he’s been working so hard to get to this point after (suffering several sprained knee ligaments) playing football,” Buckeye coach Tom Harrington said. “We’ve talked about adversity and opportunity a lot, and he took advantage of the situation tonight. I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Monaco also rose to the occasion against the first Greater Cleveland Conference team to visit Buckeye. The 6-foot-3 post player was a force on the glass as the Bucks outrebounded Strongsville 30-20, made both his field goal attempts and had his six assists without a turnover.
“Dom is a winner,” Harrington said. “That’s what I told our team after the game. He never complains or whines about his role, and he just gets after it. His demeanor is just as impressive off the court, too. He may be 18 years old, but he could be a professional in the workplace because of the way he carries himself.”
“Dom is pure hustle,” Brumfield added. “And he’s been that was since we started playing together in the third grade.”
Monaco said he was motivated by the chance to play one of the area’s more notable athletic programs.
“Regardless of their record, Strongsville is a huge school, and they have a really big team and a lot of athletes,” he said. “We knew they’re used to playing against faster, quicker teams in their league, so we couldn’t start slow and get them going. We came out strong right away and never let up.”
Senior small forward Cam Imes chipped in 10 points and senior shooting guard Anthony Watkins had one point, five rebounds and four assists for the Bucks. The Mustangs were paced by senior shooting guard Jalen Garner, who scored 12 points.
Watkins also provided the most memorable sequence in the triumph, resoundingly blocking a 3-point attempt by Garner into the stands, then drawing an offensive foul on Strongsville’s next possession while defending 6-5 center Caleb Warren in the paint.
- The game was stopped for several minutes after a Strongsville cheerleader was drilled in the head by an errant pass and fell backward into a cement wall.
- Freshman Alex Ly made a 3-pointer as time expired to give the junior varsity Mustangs a 46-43 victory. Danny Flood scored 11 points for the Bucks.
Buckeye 60, Strongsville 36
STRONGSVILLE 13 4 7 12 — 36
BUCKEYE 18 10 18 14 — 60
Strongsville — Timmy Ruch 1-0-3, Kevin Lawler 2-0-4, Caleb Warren 4-0-8, Jalen Garner 5-0-12, Drew Lipowski 2-0-4, Jackson Noonan 1-0-2, Shane Slokar 0-0-0, Saaid Ahmad 0-0-0, Kevin Cendroski 0-0-0, Josh Jelinek 0-1-1, Logan Starek 1-0-2. TOTALS: 16-1-36.
Buckeye — Cam Imes 4-0-10, Michael Knoll 7-3-18, Dom Monaco 2-0-4, Anthony Watkins 0-1-1, Brock Brumfield 8-2-19, Clay Gunkelman 0-0-0, Aaron Drew 2-0-6, Pat Midea 0-1-1, Jamie Geteian 0-1-1, Logan Schulz 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-8-60.
3-point goals — Garner 2, Ruch, Imes 2, Drew 2, Knoll, Brumfield. Rebounds — Strongsville 20 (Lawler 4), Buckeye 30 (Monaco 9). Assists — Strongsville 11 (Slokar 4), Buckeye 16 (Monaco 6). Records — Strongsville (0-12), Buckeye (10-2). Junior varsity — Strongsville 46, Buckeye 43.