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UPSET AT THE DEN

BEARS AMBUSH BEES, 48-44

By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Friday night, February 5, 2016

NORTH ROYALTON – During the junior varsity game longtime Brecksville-Broadview Heights assistant coach Greg Sejba leaned over and, with a serious look on his face, asked, “How long has it been since we’ve won here?”

No one could remember.

A year from now Sejba can ask the same question.

By feeding the Bees a dose of their own medicine; defense, hustle, and the ability to make big shots, host North Royalton shocked Brecksville in a 48-44 Suburban League National Division upset here in front of a standing room only crowd at the boisterous Bears Den.

The Bees have not won at their arch rivals gym in a good ten years. Along with this evenings fair-and-square defeat went Brecksville’s unblemished league mark. And by the wayside went its impressive 15-game winning streak.

For the better part of the season veteran Brecksville head coach Steve Mehalik voiced concern about his teams carelessness with the basketball. He cautioned that that one failing component of its game would eventually come back to haunt them. Tonight was that night.

The Bees were their own worst enemy. They committed 16 turnovers, 11 in the first half. And only got to the free throw line three times, making one. Mehalik’s club had prided itself on getting to the line and converting freebies with the clock stopped. They didn’t do that here on Ridge Road either.

The Bears defense had much to do with the Bees overall performance. It limited Brecksville to a season-low 44 points. Royalton came to play. At the other end the Bears drilled seven 3-pointers.

“They outplayed us. They out-coached us. All across the board. North Royalton won in every aspect of the game. They had a great game plan,” said Mehalik in the quiet Bees locker room. “The 16 turnovers is unacceptable.”

Royalton defended Beeville point guard Dan Auble well. Despite that the senior led all scorers with 15 points. Junior post Jared Bazil tallied ten points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Other than that the Bees struggled offensively, never really quite getting into a rhythm. The visitors, known for their ability to shoot the long ball, hit only five threes and two of them were in the battle-from-behind second half. That too is a credit to the Bears dee.

“They did a good job on Auble. They played good. Give all the credit in the world to North Royalton. Nick (Lapsevich) had a great game plan. And they executed it to perfection,” Mehalik said. “You can’t give a good team like that the ball 16 times.”

The First Three Frames

The Bees (16-2, 10-1 SL) took a 17-12 lead after one on three’s by Matt Dimitrijevs, Andrew Bruno and P.J. Austin who immediately blistered the twines after coming in off the bench.

The Bears Sam Tarnowski put back an offensive rebound for a bucket just before the halftime horn to put Royalton up, 27-24, at the break.

Brecksville decided to pound the ball inside to the hulking 6-6 Bazil in the third quarter and it paid off. The big guys scored three layups. On a later possession Bazil pivoted when he felt a double-team and went inside-out finding Dimitrijevs in the left corner for a triple. Even with that flurry and increased energy level the Bears (11-7, 6-5 SL) still led, 41-35, after three.

Close But No Cigar

Auble, who scored a half-dozen points in the first quarter, registered seven more in the fourth. His foul line jumper and one narrowed the gap to 44-42 with 4:58 remaining and the Bees had momentum.

Dan Harwood scored inside to keep Brecksville in the hunt at 46-44 with 3:11 to play. And then Bruno swatted Tarnowski’s layup attempt into the wall at the far end igniting The Swarm.

Still up by two the Bears committed a turnover with 1:53 remaining but the Bees could not capitalize. Royalton did a masterful job of passing the ball around the perimeter and milking clock until Mitch Filippi was fouled out front. Filippi, a veteran senior who led NORO with 14 points, hit both free throws for the final margin.

Junior point guard Evan Neczypor added 12 points for the Bears. Royalton went 5 of 8 from the line. Brecksville doubled the hosts up on the glass. But when you cough up the rock 16 times against a team that was waiting for you things won’t end well.

The Bears Den continues to be a den of inequity for Brecksville.

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

BEES          17          07          11          09          = 44

BEARS       12         15           14          07         = 48

 

STAT-O-MATIC:

BRECKSVILLE ….. The Bees went 1 of 3 from the free throw line for 33% and committed 16 turnovers.

NORTH ROYALTON ….. The Bees went 5 of 8 from the free throw line for 62.5% and committed 10 turnovers.

 

OFFICIALS:

James Duke, Frank Micale and Robert Cleighton (a veteran group).

 

BEES STATISTICAL LEADERS:

SCORING ….. Auble with 15.

REBOUNDS ….. Bazil with 8.

STEALS ….. Auble with 3.

ASSISTS ….. Harwood with 4.

BLOCKED SHOTS ….. Bruno and Harwood with 1 each.

CHARGES TAKEN ….. None.

 

STARTING LINE-UPS:

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

BEARS: 1-Evan Neczypor, 5-Alex Miduri, 21-Mitch Filippi, 25-Sam Tarnowski, 33-Nick Coberly.

 

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME:

Brecksville-Broadview Heights raced out to a 30-point lead at the half and coasted to its 18th straight victory. This one a 66-38 verdict over North Royalton.

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

BEES          18          24          15          09          = 66

BEARS       07         05          13          13           = 38

 

BEE BUZZ:

Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ two losses this season have both come on the road; at Strongsville on December 2nd and here tonight. Congrats to the Bees for posting a 2-month plus win streak. It’s not easy to go through a conference schedule without a loss, especially one as competitive as the Suburban League’s National Division. Somebody was going to get Brecksville sooner or later because they were playing with turnover fire. The Bears defense and their ability to make shots was the difference in this one.

Say goodbye to The Honey Jar. The tri-colored ceramic pot is officially retired. Both coaches, Steve Mehalik and Nick Lapsevich, agreed to let the seven-year traveling trophy rest in peace. It was a great idea and a lot of fun while it lasted. Brecksville won the first Honey Jar meeting in a home turn-back-the- clock night game at BBHMS. And claimed the trophy last year. Otherwise Royalton dominated in the non-league series. Now that both teams are members of the same league, playing each other twice per season, the pot has lost its luster. But the memories of the brainchild, sparked for former NORO head coach Tim Matus, will live on in this heart. The morning after the Bees initial win I awoke to find The Honey Jar on my dining room table.

The Bees freshmen squad saw its four game winning streak come to an end with a 30-21 loss to North Royalton. Brecksville scored only three points in the second half. The young men still had their Chipotle afterward. Mrs. Walcutt saw to that, personally delivering multiple bags of the popular foil-wrapped gut bombs.

The Swarm made a tremendous showing tonight. They arrived early and in crazy numbers. They were loud and into the game. Senior football player Ryder Seballos led the gang. Thanks for your FANtastic support! The grouped swarmed to the goodies too. By the end of the third quarter of the junior varsity game four bags of Tootsie Pop’s had disappeared.

The atmosphere at the Bears Den was what you would expect for a big game between two ancient rivals. Thanks to all at North Royalton for the gracious hospitality. In particular athletic director Bo Kuntz, who accommodated the Bees burgeoning bench with three additional chairs. And volleyball coach Kristin Hubbell who maintained law and order, like only she can, around the visiting bench. Better people and more classy people you will not find.

If the Bees cheerleaders appeared a little bleary-eyed it was because they had a late night last night. In the small hours of this morning they made the rounds and toilet-papered senior members of the teams houses. Sophomore Abigail Gates provided a descriptive play-by-play of the 90-minute caper.

No one was spared. Not even Coach Mehalik’s secluded condo. “Every cheerleader brought 24 rolls of toilet paper. So we had 312 total rolls. That was enough for 52 rolls per seniors house,” said senior Daniela Ortenzi. “But we had some left over so we TP’d Coach Mehalik’s bushes and left him 14 rolls stacked in a pyramid by his front door.”

The tournament draw meeting is Sunday afternoon.

 

QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:

“It doesn’t get any better than the Bears and the Bees.” – Ashlyn Pissini.

“The Bears are going to get stuck in honey.” – Mikey “Coach Smalls” Sejba.

“What’s the over/under on the time that they are going to start turning people away at the gate?” – Jimmy Henyey.

“When you own The Shoe and have for five of the last six years there’s not much else to say.” – Brecksville defensive coordinator John Shirilla.

“The Bench Mob started practicing at 4pm before we got on the bus. We have 13 new bench celly’s for tonight.” – Kyle Seibert.

 

NEXT UP:

The Bees will get back at it Tuesday night with a non-league home game against tradition-laden Canton McKinley. Brecksville lost to the Bulldogs at Canton Memorial Field House last February, 59-52.

“Canton McKinley is a state powerhouse. We’ve got two days to improve on the things that we weren’t good at tonight,” said Steve Mehalik.

 

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 (4-16, 2-11 SL) hosts Youngstown Cardinal Mooney Monday night in a non-conference contest at the fabulous Bee Hive. It is Senior Night. Please join us around 7:00 pm in saluting the careers of classy Lady Bee seniors; Erin Livingston, Kendall Brown and Katie Boehlefeld.

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