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BEES PULL AWAY TO WIN

BIG THIRD QUARTER TOPS KNIGHTS

By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Friday night, January 29, 2016

MACEDONIA – A different Bees basketball team emerged from the locker room for the second half. It was a red-clad gang that had fire in its collective belly and a look in their eyes that said ‘get the heck out of the way’.

Brecksville-Broadview Heights, mired in a defensive struggle, trailed 21-19 at intermission. By outscoring Nordonia 21-4 in the third quarter the Bees went on to a 54-39 Suburban League National Division victory here this evening in front of a good crowd at Summa Care Arena.

“We survived. It’s a road win the second time through,” said veteran BBHHS head coach Steve Mehalik in the Brecksville locker room.

The triumph, the Bees 14th in a row, keeps them in firm grasp of first place with four league contests remaining.

Defensive Struggle

This one was not nearly as easy as the solid double-digit final outcome might indicate. The first frame ended in an 8-8 deadlock. Brecksville, which did not turn the ball over in the tug-of-war opening period, committed a half-dozen miscues in the second, including four in as many possessions. That caused Mehalik’s blood pressure to spike and he shared his thoughts with his squad during the break.

Half of those turnovers were unforced errors. The other half were because of who the Bees were playing. “Number one. Nordonia can flat out defend. Kirk (Culler) has his guys playing hard. They just smothered us,” Mehalik said.

Early foul trouble sent baseliners Dan Harwood and 6-6 post Jared Bazil to the bench. The Knights took advantage of that and sloppy Beeville ball-handling to post a one-basket lead at the intermission.

“We managed to survive that whole second quarter without Jared and without Danny Harwood. That’s tough to do. Big Jared has been playing so well for us. To not have him in for a half, to lose him and Harwood for a half, that’s our front line,” said Mehalik. “And that’s a great credit to guys like Danny Shirilla who now has to guard a 6-6 post player after covering a guard from one possession to the next. I tell you all the time how valuable Danny Shirilla is for us.”

Welcome Back Bees

The third quarter was like a different game.

Bazil, in making up for lost time mode, played like a bull just released from the pen. His strong rebound and put back tied the tilt at 21 a half-minute in. Brecksville’s defense kicked it into another gear. The Bees were now out-hustling the Knights. The hosts felt the pressure and called time out.

That ramped up intensity fueled the offense. Dan Auble hit a three from the top of the arc. Harwood stole the subsequent inbound pass, laid it in, was fouled and converted.

Things began to unravel quickly for Nordonia. They were whistled for a technical foul on that play. Auble hit both freebies. Culler signaled for another t-o. It didn’t extinguish the swarm. Andrew Bruno drained a three with 35 seconds to play in the third. And P.J. Austin canned one at the horn.

Auble, as usual, piloted the Bees offense through some choppy waters. The veteran has become numb to pressure. When he scores, his points come in clusters. Otherwise he gets everyone else involved.

“In the third quarter Danny Auble started looking to attack. I think he’s the best player in the league. He controls everything for us,” Mehalik said of his senior point guard.

Brecksville rallied from a 2-point halftime deficit to a 15-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Austin drilled another trey, this one from the opposite corner, to up the count to 43-25.

This One Is Over

The Knights (4-12, 3-7 SL) struggled offensively for most of the game. Their shooting woes continued well into the fourth. And with 3:41 remaining Mehalik called time and both teams went to their reserves.

Auble paced the Bees (15-1, 10-0 SL) with 11 points. Austin tallied ten off the bench. Harwood and Matt Dimitrijevs, who both registered six points in the first half, finished with nine. Bruno and Bazil chipped in four a piece.

Lightning In A Bottle

Austin, a 6-1 senior, is as athletic as they come. He, like Shirilla, have paid big time dividends off the Bees bench. “Every night it’s somebody different. Tonight was P.J.’s night. Like we’ve been saying all along when he comes in it’s instant energy,” Mehalik said. “When we get points from P.J. coming off the bench like we did tonight that’s huge.”

Austin gets it. He knows his role and relishes in it. Above all it is team first. “This was a really big win, finishing Nordonia off. We beat then both times. And it’s been a different guy every night providing a spark for our team during this run,” said Austin. “I notice what we’re lacking and just try to provide a spark in that area.”

Window Wipers 

The Knights were led by sophomore guard Drew Petros who scored 11 points. The hosts committed ten turnovers. The Bees won the battle of the boards convincingly, 31 to 20, which was impressive due to how much time Bazil and Harwood sat with foul trouble. In fact, despite the above-mentioned fact, Brecksville’s starters still out-rebounded Nordy, 19-9.

The Old Bugaboo

The Bees committed 12 turnovers, but three of then came very late, in mop-up time. Mehalik didn’t want to hear it. “We’ve got to stop turning the ball over. We have a championship heart. The way these kids prepare for a game is at a championship level. But right now taking care of the basketball is not there,” said Mehalik. “If we do finally take care of the ball this team will be dangerous. If we don’t we won’t reach our goals. It’s that simple.”

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

BRECKSVILLE          08          11          21          14          = 54

NORDONIA                08          13          04         14          = 39

 

STAT-O-MATIC:

BRECKSVILLE ….. The Bees went 10 of 13 from the free throw line for 76.9% and committed 12 turnovers.

NORDONIA ….. The Knights went 9 of 14 from the free throw line for 64.2% and committed 10 turnovers.

 

OFFICIALS:

James Duke, Chris Jarus and Jay McMichael (a veteran group).

 

BEES STATISTICAL LEADERS:

SCORING ….. Auble with 11.

REBOUNDS ….. Auble, Bazil and Danny Shirilla with 5 each.

STEALS ….. Auble with 2.

ASSISTS ….. Auble with 5.

BLOCKED SHOTS ….. Kenny Ganley with 2.

CHARGES TAKEN ….. Bruno and Bazil with 1 each.

 

STARTING LINE-UPS:

BEES: 4-Andrew Bruno, 10-Matt Dimitrijevs, 12-Dan Auble, 13-Dan Harwood, 31-Jared Bazil.

KNIGHTS: 2-Jordan Adams, 4-Drew Petros, 5-Mike Piotrowski, 13-Luke Alders, 21-Ryan Smith.

 

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME:

Brecksville-Broadview Heights, after a sluggish first few minutes, went on a 17-4 run to close out the first quarter and cruised to its 16th straight win, 74-55, over Nordonia. The Bees weathered a 16-6 Knights run at the start of the second stanza.

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

BRECKSVILLE          19          15          19          21          = 74

NORDONIA                10          19          08         18           = 55

 

FRESHMEN GAME:

Thomas Green scored on a driving layup with 3.2 seconds to play to give Brecksville-Broadview Heights a thrilling 35-33 victory over Nordonia. Green, a 5-10 forward who scored all of his team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter, took a pass from Zach Bahr on the short left side wing and went in for the game-winning basket. Chipotle for everyone.

 

BEE BUZZ:

Brecksville-Broadview Heights is now 7-1 on the road. The Bees have outscored their opponents by a total of 213 points so far this season (13.3 ppg). The team has been shooting free throws very well as of late. This evening they made ten straight during a stretch.

In addition to P.J. Austin’s ten points off the bench senior Jimmy Henyey, junior Griffin Stevens and sophomore Michael Rose also penciled Matt Auble’s green score book.

Steve Mehalik has used the same starting line-up in all 16 games this season. There is no truth to the rampant rumor that junior varsity coach John Silva has been ducking the media after the last several games. P.J. Austin was the last Bees player on the bus for the ride home. The reason? He was dancing with the cheerleaders. And here I thought the dance was tomorrow night.

“It was a nice short bus ride here. And the sun was out,'” said cheerleader coach Michelle Hoy. Assistant coach Steve Piorkowski was also a fan of the short commute. The easy trip made for a great showing by The Swarm which hooted and hollered. The usual suspects were among them. Add Lady Bees freshman post Brigit Naughton to the growing list of super fans.

Former St. Ignatius head coach Sean O’Toole was in the crowd with his sons. First-year Nordonia head coach Kirk Culler was a longtime assistant under O’Toole at Iggy.

The Bees bench brigade has taken to choreographed leg crossings among other creative sideline antics to keep their heads in the game. The enthusiasm that Michael Rose, Kyle Seibert, Joey Frajter and Matt Harwood provide is contagious. Seibert, the teams resident funny man, enjoys a cult-like following by The Swarm. They chant his name. “You’re popular,” Rose told him. Stay tuned for more on this blossoming sidebar story.

 

QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:

“P.J. played really good. He made a lot of threes.” – Mikey “Coach Smalls” Sejba, the latest internet sensation.

“Rosati’s is closed … booooo! Killing the victory vibe.” Avery Diedrick via Twitter.

 

NEXT UP:

Brecksville-Broadview Heights steps away from the Suburban League grind when it makes its way over to Parma Heights Tuesday night for a match-up with Valley Forge in Independence Hall.

The Patriots are coached by former Padua Franciscan head coach and most recently a Revere assistant in Pat Teresi.

“Valley Forge is playing better. It has taken Pat a while to get his system going but they are playing well,” Steve Mehalik said. “They almost beat North Olmsted. And they beat North Royalton. And right now beating Brecksville is a big notch in everybody’s belt. We just have to be ready for it.”

There is no doubt the bulls eye on the Bees back is getting bigger by the game. P.J. Austin spoke of the teams mindset. “We don’t necessarily feel the target, but we know it’s there. And we prepare for it,” Austin said.

 

See You At The Bee Hive!

To contact: Ddipa67834@aol.com.

Follow on Twitter: @beevillesports

Follow the Lady Bees on the worldwide web at: beesbasketball.com.

Brecksville (4-14, 2-9 SL) travels to Wadsworth to take on the state-ranked Lady Grizzlies Saturday afternoon.

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