WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth boys basketball team fought hard to get back into the game, but a slow offensive start was too much to overcome as Brecksville spoiled the Grizzlies’ senior night with a 52-40 victory that clinched a share of the Suburban League National Conference title.
“The second quarter things started not going our way and we started pointing the finger, and then as Coach (Mike Moser) said in the locker room, it’s basically six on five,” senior Brendan Merhar said. “Negative emotions are never going to help us win that game.”
It was not a great offensive start for either team, as senior Jake McDermitt sank a 3-pointer a little more than halfway through the first period to cut Wadsworth’s deficit to 6-5. Those were the last points anyone scored for three minutes on a night when guards McDermitt and Merhar led the Grizzlies with seven points each.
Brecksville (15-5, 10-3) found its shooting stroke at the end of the quarter, as big men Joe Labas and Kenny Ganley hit 3-pointers to put the Bees up 12-5. Labas (13 points) and Ganley (14) were among a trio of Bees to score in double figures. Shooting guard Tommy Barth hit four of Brecksville’s eight 3-pointers to score a game-high 18 points.
“They are a tough matchup for us,” Moser said after his team fell to 8-11, 6-7. “They spread the floor on you and just about every guy can hit the three. When they started hitting them, we struggled with that.”
Barth hit back-to-back triples to give Brecksville its biggest lead of the night at 27-7 with less than two minutes left in the first half.
Senior Jack Simmons, who started in a point-forward role, finally snapped the Grizzlies out of it with a bucket and Merhar hit a shot on the next trip to make it 27-11 at halftime.
Wadsworth battled back, but Brecksville took a 37-21 lead on another Barth three with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
Grizzlies senior forward Trevor Smith scored on a putback before the buzzer to start a 9-1 run, with T.J. Lockwood hitting a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 38-30 with less than five minutes left.
“The second half I’m proud as heck for the fight they displayed because that could have gone one of two ways,” Moser said. “They continued to fight and I’m proud of them for that.”
A 3-pointer by guard Jeremy Jonozzo and a three-point play by Labas followed to secure Brecksville’s lead.
“I’ve known all these guys forever,” Merhar said. “We lost tonight, but it’s still a special night for all of us. We’re brothers for life.”
Wadsworth won the junior varsity game 54-35 behind 12 points by sophomore Barret Labus.
Contact John Urchek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brecksville 52, Wadsworth 40
BRECKSVILLE 12 15 10 15 — 52
WADSWORTH 5 6 12 17 — 40
Brecksville — Tyler Ganley 0-0-0, Joe Labas 5-2-13, Kenny Ganley 4-4-14, Tommy Barth 5-4-18, Jeremy Jonozzo 2-0-5, Jack Winegard 0-0-0, Thomas Green 0-0-0, Jacob Henyey 0-0-0, Kaleb Austin 1-0-2. TOTALS: 17-10-52.
Wadsworth — T.J. Lockwood 2-0-6, Jack Simmons 3-0-6, Trevor Smith 1-0-2, Brendan Merhar 3-0-7, Jake McDermitt 2-2-7, Carson Risher 1-0-2, Lance Steward 0-0-0, Stanley Bingham 1-0-3, Mitchell Evans 0-0-0, Beau Casey 1-1-3, Owen Simmons 0-2-2, Alex Risher 1-0-2. TOTALS: 15-5-40.
3-point goals — Barth 4, K. Ganley 2, Jonozzo, Labas, Lockwood 2, Bingham, Merhar, McDermitt. Rebounds — Wadsworth 26 (J. Simmons 8), Brecksville 26 (K. Ganley 9). Assists — Brecksville 10 (T. Ganley 3), Wadsworth 7 (C. Risher 3). Records — Wadsworth (8-11, 6-7), Brecksville (15-5, 10-3). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 54, Brecksville 35.