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BEES CLINCH SL TITLE TIE

MOJO RETURNS IN 58-56 WIN

By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Friday night, February 12, 2016

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS – By withstanding another opponents best shot the Bees hung on for a 58-56 victory over a pesky Wadsworth team here tonight at the fabulous Bee Hive. And in the process claimed at least a tie for the Suburban League National Division championship.

It was Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ fourth conference title in the last six years. It was the fourth of Steve Mehalik’s nine-year career as head coach. And it was the 29th league crown in BBHHS hoop history.

And this one wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Brecksville (17-3, 11-1 SL) led by nine with 7:00 left to play. It had a 53-46 advantage with 1:16 remaining. And then Grizzlies hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds to make things more than interesting.

When the clock finally struck triple zeroes you could feel the giant exhale from the Bees bench.

The fourth quarter was the key for the hosts. Brecksville made its last seven free throw attempts, including five by senior Danny Shirilla. And classmate Dan Harwood added a set. Everyone of them mattered big time.

The Bees also got a final frame reverse layup from senior guard Andrew Bruno. Senior point guard Dan Auble scored five of his 14 points down the stretch. And 6-6 junior post Jared Bazil tallied seven of his game-high 17 points in the fourth.

Dominating Presence

Bazil was phenomenal from beginning to end. He grabbed five of his game-best nine rebounds in the first half. Wadsworth had no answer for the big guy inside.

“We were motivated to come out and win the conference, especially after two straight losses. We wanted to get our mojo back,” said Bazil during the post-game cutting down the nets ceremony.

Brecksville had won 15 consecutive games before dropping its last two. Turnovers, 39 of them in their last two starts, had plagued the squad. And this evening, in front of a great crowd at the Hive, the Bees came out and committed nine more in the first half.

Beeville turned a 20-18 halftime deficit into a 37-32 advantage heading into the fourth. When Bazil’s nifty spin move for a deuce put the Bees up 41-32 a minute in it looked as though they had weathered the hot-shooting Grizzlies attack. “Wadsworth is a good team. They fought to the end. But we fought with them and pulled it out,” Bazil said.

A Dream Come True

For the first time since 2013 (Southwestern Conference) Brecksville has claimed at least a share of a league championship. “This is amazing. Since the third grade when I was a ball boy this has been my dream. I’ve always envisioned this and it feels great,” Auble, who was a freshman in 2013, said. “Winning a conference championship has always been special. And it’s something that I have always wanted to accomplish.”

The triumph means a lot to Mehalik and his hard-working staff of assistants. They know all to well that conference championships don’t grow on trees and that no one is going to hand you one.

“It’s been three long years since the last one,” said Mehalik. “But this group is special. They keep finding a way. Even tonight. We didn’t play a very good game. We started turning the ball over. But we found a way.”

In addition to Bazil’s 17 points and Auble’s 14 the Bees got nine points and four assists from Harwood. And a half-dozen markers each from Bruno and Matt Dimitrijevs. Shirilla’s five free throws in crunch time were invaluable.

A Bear of an Opponent

The Grizzlies (4-16, 3-9 SL) had three players reach double figures. Sensational sophomore guards Tony Hewitt and Christian Szalay combined to score 27, with Hewitt netting 16 of them including Wadsworth’s last three-ball just before the final horn. Hewitt came in averaging close to 13 points per contest. And Szalay was hitting for ten. The Bees were well-aware of those two up-and-comers, but what they may not have expected was the 14 points that sophomore forward Ryan Storad deposited. The trio combined to register 17 of the visitors 24 fourth period points.

“I’ll tell you what. Wadsworth is the most-improved team in the conference. Wow! Those sophomore guards are tough,” Mehalik said.

Brecksville won the battle of the boards, 19-15. Both teams were decent from the stripe. The Grizzlies were torrid from beyond the arc, sinking ten 3-point field goals. The Bees hit four with Dimitrijevs canning two of them in the first half.

“Wadsworth is a good young team. That says a lot about them. I remember my sophomore year. It’s tough playing with the older guys,” Auble said.

When the locker room had cleared out Mehalik sat back on the bench in front of the lockers and smiled. “We survived and won at least a share of the conference championship,” he said. His team had to score 40 points in the second half to do it.

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

WADSWORTH         09          11          12          24          = 56

BRECKSVILLE        09          09          19         21           = 58

 

STAT-O-MATIC:

WADSWORTH ….. The Grizzlies went 6 of 9 from the free throw line for 66.6% and committed 11 turnovers.

BRECKSVILLE ….. The Bees went 14 of 22 from the free throw line for 63.6% and committed 15 turnovers.

 

OFFICIALS:

Jim Dayton, Shawn Manual and Craig Maurer.

 

BEES STATISTICAL LEADERS:

SCORING ….. Bazil with 17 (game-high).

REBOUNDS ….. Bazil with 9 (game-high).

STEALS ….. Bruno with 2.

ASSISTS ….. Auble and Harwood with 4 each.

BLOCKED SHOTS ….. Michael Rose with 1.

CHARGES TAKEN ….. Shirilla and Rose with 1 each.

 

STARTING LINE-UPS:

GRIZZLIES: 0-Connor Montgomery, 1-Christian Szalay, 2-Tony Hewitt, 12-Alec Booth, 20-Ryan Storad.

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

 

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME:

Tyler Kasmarcak sank two foul shots with .09 seconds remaining to put the finishing touches on a 49-46 Brecksville-Broadview Heights victory over Wadsworth.

The Bees (19-1, 12-0 SL) who lost for the first time this season Tuesday night at home against Canton McKinley, saw their 40-29 lead after three quarters shrink quickly in the final frame.

Brecksville led throughout but the Grizzlies reduced the margin to 47-46 with 29.9 left. Both teams traded turnovers in the frantic last half-minute.

“Wadsworth played tough. We lost our composure a little bit in the fourth quarter. Like I told the guys after the game. ‘Things aren’t always going to go your way. It’s about how you handle adversity.’ In this game we ultimately scored enough points to get the victory,” said Beeville coach John Silva. “I’m proud of the guys. It was good to have some adversity and to see how the guys dealt with it. Our guys are not only used not used to losing they are not even used to playing in close games. Tonight was a testament to how tough and how skilled these guys are.”

Silva noted that playing in a close game against McKinley Tuesday night was beneficial down the stretch here this evening.

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

WADSWORTH          06          13          10          17          = 46

BRECKSVILLE          14          14          12          09          = 49

 

QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:

“I got Valentine’s flowers for the cheerleaders. I’m glad to support them for how much they support our program.” – Nate “Dog” Mackenzie. 

“I’ve set the bar pretty high for myself this year. Pun intended.” – Senior high-jumper and returning state qualifier Jamie Rachek.

“Last week we TP’d the senior players houses. This week they got us carnations.” – Sophomore cheerleader Abigail Gates. 

 

BEE HIVE BUZZ:

Following two straight losses Brecksville-Broadview Heights is back on the winning side of the ledger. The Bees are now 9-1 at home. They have a two-game lead over both Stow-Munroe Falls and Hudson in the Suburban League National Division with two regular season conference games left to play. Ironically they are against the Bulldogs (away) and the Explorers (home for Senior Night) respectively.  The league schedule-maker couldn’t have planned it any better.

Brecksville has scored 58 points in each of its last two outings. The Bees freshmen squad broke out to a 7-0 lead over Wadsworth and cruised to a double-digit triumph. Senior soccer goalie Jen Farwell, who will play in college at Northern Kentucky, is concerned about these young men’s well-being on account of their post-game visits to Chipotle.

The Hive was hopping tonight. Good atmosphere. The Swarm was large. The 4,000 member BBHHS Pep Band performed. Dan Auble’s younger sister, Grace, was part of a choral quartet that did an outstanding job singing the national anthem. Four lovely voices filled up the entire gym. And the girls did it flawlessly. Bravo!

Wadsworth fans traveled very well. They always do. Among them was Lady Bees assistant coach Dave Sladky and bride. Sladky coached the boys team at Wadsworth for 24 seasons, won well over 400 games, and is a member of the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

The games first free throw tonight came at the 2:40 mark on the second quarter when Brecksville freshman Kenny Ganley converted one of two. Wadsworth did not toe the line until there was 6:22 remaining in the tilt.

Brecksville’s first league championship came in 1941. The Bees won or shared three straight Southwestern Conference titles; 2011, 2012 and 2013. Tonight was their first as members of the SL’s National Division. And it is their maiden campaign in the loop.

 

NEXT UP: 

Brecksville-Broadview Heights travels to Stow-Munroe Falls Tuesday to take on the Bulldogs in another key SL fray. The Bees topped Stow, 58-47, on January 8th. On Friday the Bees host Hudson for Senior Night to close out the regular season. All Brecksville needs to do is win one of the two remaining games to bag the outright league pennant.

“We’re going to enjoy this one here for 24 hours. Maybe 36 because we won a conference title,” Steve Mehalik said with a smile. “Then we’ve got two super tough teams coming up. Two of the better teams in Northeast Ohio with two of the best coaches in Northeast Ohio. This week will be a great playoff test for us.”

 

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 (#8 seed) hosts #10 Copley tomorrow afternoon at the fabulous Bee Hive at 1:00 in a Division I sectional tournament opener. The Lady Bees (4-18, 2-12 SL) defeated the Indians, 53-52, in early January.

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