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ALONE AT THE TOP

BEES ARE OUTRIGHT SL CHAMPS!

By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Friday night, February 19, 2016

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS – Clutch plays in the final half-minute, and three players combining to score 47 points, lifted Brecksville-Broadview Heights to the outright Suburban League National Division championship in its first year as members of the conference.

Senior Danny Shirilla nailed two big free throws, took a charge, and then fired a long inbound pass to Andrew Bruno who made two more charity tosses. Dan Auble would add two more. All of this happening in the games final 26.6 seconds as the Bees pulled away from a talented Hudson team for a 65-58 victory here this evening in front of a large Senior Night crowd at the fabulous Bee Hive.

Seniors P.J. Austin and Dan Auble each scored 17 points. And junior sharpshooter Matt Dimitrijevs chipped in 13 to pace BBHHS (18-3, 12-1 SL). It was a career-high by Austin who blistered the twines with five 3-point field goals, including four in the first half that gave the Bees a 35-21 advantage at the break.

Putting Your P.J.’s On!

Austin was lights out from the opening tip and he almost single-handed put the Explorers to bed early. He nailed a trey early on and then went off in the second stanza for 11 more points. Austin delivered another long ball in the third, however it was in the first half where he made his mark.

“It was really just based on my first few shots. If I’m feeling it I’ll let it fly. At the start of the game I was hot and I said ‘why not give us a little boost going into halftime'”, said Austin. “This win is special. Especially on Senior Night in front of our fans. And it was great to get this for Coach Stevie too!”

Sailing Back Into The Game

Hudson (17-5, 10-4 SL) trailed 47-38 going into the fourth quarter and was down by 11 with 4:05 remaining. But over the course of the next 3:23 the Explorers cut the Brecksville lead to 59-58 on a three by Mike Piekarski with 42 seconds to play.

Seniors Stride to the Stripe

Hudson had two fouls to give and took them. With 26.6 left Shirilla went to the free throw line where he calmly sank both ends of a key one-and one. Up 61-58 Shirilla took a charge at the defensive end with 16.2 to play. His long inbound pass was met at its zenith by Bruno who was immediately wrapped up. Bruno sank two with 13.1 remaining. And Auble swished a pair with 4.9 on the clock, and that locked up the title.

“We are a team that really hasn’t lost much. And we really hate losing. So there was no way we were going to walk off that court tonight without a win,” Shirilla said. “We pushed to the end to get it.”

Just About Perfect

The Bees won the outright National Division title in dramatic fashion. They did it at home, on Senior Night, on a Friday against a tremendous opponent in front of an excellent crowd.

“You couldn’t have drawn it up any better. You couldn’t ask for a better scenario,” said veteran BBHHS head coach Steve Mehalik in the locker room. “We started this year with a big loss to our coaching staff with the passing of Coach Stu. It feels good to get this for him.”

Dave “Coach Stu” Stuczynski, a beloved figure in the community, passed away on October 23, 2015 at the age of 53 due to complications of ALS.

Clicking Again and at the Right Time

Bruno, a senior guard, finished with eight points. Classmate Dan Harwood and junior post Jared Bazil each added four. Yet tonight, like the previous other 17 victories, was a total team effort.

The phrase, ‘Big time players make big time plays in big time games’ is a time-honored cliche. But in reality there is no other way to describe what Brecksville accomplished this evening.

“When you put the ball in the hands of winners good things happen. Danny Shirilla is a football player by trade. He steps up to the line and hits two. If you are a winner you are a winner. It doesn’t matter what sport you play. Danny Shirilla’s free throws were unbelievable. That kid has ice water in his veins. In reality he made those free throws on a football field in a November playoff game. He was unflappable because he learned from big moments like that,” Mehalik said. “You win with guys like that. You win with guys like P.J. Austin. He was huge tonight. Absolutely huge! P.J. changed how Hudson had to defend us. Because he was shooting the ball so well they had to come out. And Hudson doesn’t like to play man that much. Because P.J. is making those three’s that allows Danny Auble to have a one-on-one. And I’ll take Danny Auble one-on-one against anybody. And you win with guys like Jimmy Henyey. Who, as a senior, comes to practice every day and never complains. He just works hard to make our guys better. Tonight he got the opportunity to play. You win with guys like him.”

Gutsy Effort By The Guests

The Explorers, whose regular season is in the books, were led by 6-9 senior post Isaac MacGillis who registered game-highs in both points (18) and rebounds (8). MacGillis scored seven points in the hell- bent-for-leather fourth frame. Senior guard Zack Meder added a dozen digits.

Hudson out-rebounded Brecksville, 21-15. The Bees shot a sizzling 91.6% from the foul line. They made their last nine in a row. And needed every one of them. A key factor in the game was that the hosts only committed six turnovers. And that stat was one of the many reasons why Mehalik was smiling as he finally put his black suit jacket back on.

It’s All About Teamwork

“I can’t begin to tell you how unselfish this basketball team is and how hard they work,” said Mehalik.  “Because no one is saying about our guys individually ‘this kid is a Division I basketball player’. But together they are pretty special.”

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

HUDSON          12          09          17          20          = 58

BRECKS           15          20          12           18          = 65

 

STAT-O-MATIC:

HUDSON ….. The Explorers went 9 of 13 from the free throw line for 69.2% and committed 9 turnovers.

BRECKSVILLE ….. The Bees went 11 of 12 from the free throw line for 91.6% and committed 6 turnovers.

 

OFFICIALS:

Carl Davidson, Marv Hodges and Leonard Terrell (a veteran group).

 

BEES STATISTICAL LEADERS:

SCORING ….. Austin and Auble with 17 each (a career-high for Austin).

REBOUNDS ….. Michael Rose with 5.

STEALS ….. Dimitrijevs and Harwood with 2 each.

ASSISTS ….. Auble with 5.

BLOCKED SHOTS ….. Dimitrijevs with 1.

CHARGES TAKEN ….. Shirilla with 1.

 

STARTING LINE-UPS:

EXPLORERS: 5-Mike Piekarski, 11-Jackson Parker, 12-Isaac MacGillis, 15-Zack Meder, 42-Dave O’Connor.

BEES: 4-Andrew Bruno, 5-P.J. Austin, 12-Dan Auble, 13-Dan Harwood, 15-Jimmy Henyey.

 

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME:

Brecksville-Broadview Heights road the coattails of a 21-point halftime lead to a 51-35 triumph over Hudson. It was the Bees 20th win of the campaign.

“I thought, first and foremost, the energy that our guys came out with to start the game was really what I have been looking for the past few weeks. We finally imposed our will. And once we imposed our will we got the game under control and played at our pace, which is forcing turnovers and scoring easy buckets off those turnovers,” said Beeville coach John Silva. “In the second half Hudson slowed the game down, which is fine. I thought we had a big enough lead where we could play that style. It got close. But I thought our guys executed down the stretch. And we were able to come out with a victory against a very good basketball team. I’m proud of our guys.”

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

HUDSON          10          03          16          06          = 35

BRECKS           14          20          06          11           = 51

 

BEE HIVE BUZZ:

Six senior players, along with their parents, were recognized prior to warm-ups. Andrew Bruno, P.J. Austin, Dan Auble, Dan Harwood, Jimmy Henyey and Danny Shirilla were rightfully saluted for their contributions to the BBHHS basketball program over the last four years. Congratulations to an outstanding group of young men. Austin and Henyey started in place of Dimitrijevs and Bazil.

It was the first time that Steve Mehalik altered his starting line-up this season. And it was for good reason. “Jimmy gets the start tonight,” Jared Bazil said with a respectful nod before the game.

Mehalik looked sharp in a tailored black suit, white shirt and red necktie. Friendly wagers were being placed along press row as to how long Mehalik would keep his suit jacket on. They ranged anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds into the game. The jacket was shed at tip off. The tie was gone shortly thereafter. Mehalik is just not a suit guy. He is a Dry-Fit guy.

The Swarm was on top of its game. They were decked out in white for the occasion. A giant banner “We Love Our Seniors!” was taped the the railing in front of their sacred section. Gatekeepers Kendall Brown and Kaylee Vadini saw to it that there were no interlopers in the region.

Senior cheerleader Laina Chapman sang the national anthem and did an awesome job. The lieutenant of the Broadview Heights Fire Department was in the house. “Maybe they are worried about the nets being singed,” quipped press table funny man Dan “Hacksaw” Hodous. Ironically the Bees did singe the nets with ten long balls led by Austin’s five.

Brecksville’s freshmen team scored an impressive victory over a previously undefeated (20-0) Hudson squad, winning 29-26. The Bees had lost by 25 at Hudson earlier this season. To celebrate the guys went to Chipotle and followed that up with a little R and R in the Monkey Island section. “Why do they call it Monkey Island?” asked freshman cheerleader Kaitlyn Kovac. It’s a long story Kaitlyn. But a good one.

Hudson had not lost a game since the Bees beat them at Buck Hyser Gymnasium early last month. The Explorers looked classy in their Navy Blue road uniforms with silver trim. Hudson is a top-notch operation. Great people. Its fans traveled well. The Explorers are the #4 seed in the Copley district bracket. They play the winner of the Stow-Wadsworth game next Saturday night.

The Explorers Zack Meder needs only three more 3-point field goals to become the schools all-time season and career leader in that department.

Please note: The Bees home tournament game on Saturday, February 27 has been moved from a 7:00 pm start to a 12-noon tip off. Third-seeded Brecksville-Broadview Heights plays the winner of Wednesdays Lakewood at Rhodes contest.

The Bees are now 10-1 at home this winter. And they have won two straight. The club is averaging 59.7 points per game and allowing 49.1. P.J. Austin, Dan Auble and Matt Dimitrijevs combined to score 72% of the teams points tonight.

 

NEXT UP:

Brecksville-Broadview Heights travels to Stow-Munroe Falls tomorrow evening to take on the Bulldogs. The game is the make-up date from Tuesday when classes were cancelled at Stow due to a heavy morning snowfall. The Bees defeated the Bulldogs, 58-47, on January 8th.

“Tonight was great because we claimed the outright championship. But tomorrow night at Stow is just as big,” Danny Shirilla said. “Stow is a great team. They are a lot like Hudson. So we’ll have to go out there and be at our best because it is going to be a tough one.”

Steve Mehalik knows his team has the SL trophy in the bag. He is also well aware that because of Mother Nature his squad has to go back-to-back against two of the best teams in the National Division to conclude the regular season. The longtime bench boss is taking it all in stride.

“What’s great about this group of kids is that they only know one way to play. They play hard and unselfish,” Mehalik said. “I know coming off that bus when we get to Stow we may be tired. But we have guys that we can go to on our bench. And those guys are talented.”

 

See You At The Bee Hive!

To contact: Ddipa67834@aol.com.

Follow on Twitter: @beevillesports

The Lady Bees (5-19) season is complete. They bowed out to the states top-ranked Division I team, Wadsworth, last night on the road.

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