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BEES GO LONG BALL

SINK A DOZEN THREES TO OUST RAMS

By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Saturday afternoon, February 27, 2016

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS – Matt Dimitrijevs nailed six three-point field goals in just three quarters of work to help lead third-seeded Brecksville-Broadview Heights to a 70-41 Division I sectional final tournament victory over sixth-seeded Rhodes here this afternoon in front of a comfortably dressed, late arriving crowd at the fabulous Bee Hive.

Brecksville canned a dozen three-pointers as a team. More than half its points came from the perimeter. “When the ball goes in it makes coaching a little easier,” said longtime BBHHS head coach Steve Mehalik. “This is a special group. And there was no way in the world they were going to let their season end today.”

The victory, the Bees 20th of the season, vaults them into Thursday nights district semi-final where they will likely face, barring a major upset, second-seeded St. Ignatius. The Wildcats host#11 Max Hayes this evening.

This was the first time since the magical post-season run which the 2013 team made that the Bees got past the first round of tournament play.

“We’ve been working hard on our shooting all year and all week, even this morning,” said Dimitrijevs. “Preparation is the key. This is the playoffs. You have to be ready.”

Early And Often

Dimitrijevs, a 6-1 junior, was indeed ready. He was hot all afternoon. Matt D drilled three long balls in the first quarter. And senior forward Dan Harwood made two of his own as Brecksville (20-3) broke out to a 19-8 lead less than seven minutes into the game.

Harwood, a no-nonsense leader, took control of the game early. He rose to the occasion when Rhodes came out and face-guarded Brecksville senior point guard Dan Auble.

“If I have to take on that role I will. But I know that we have four other guys beside me that can take on that role,” Harwood said. “It really doesn’t matter who you try to stop because we play as a team.”

Senior guard Andrew Bruno made three acrobatic layups. And P.J. Austin came off the bench to swish a trey before Dimitrijevs fired in his fourth three-ball just before the halftime horn to give the hosts a 36-18 advantage at the break.

The Onslaught Continues

Dimitrijevs hit two more from beyond the arc in the opening minute of the third period. That gave Brecksville a commanding 44-18 margin. And this game was over.

Dimitrijevs finished with a team-high 18 points. Bruno scored 12. And Harwood was good for 10. Eight of Harwood’s points came early on in the opening frame.

In all a dozen red and gold striped, laser guided missiles found their mark. All 15 players who dressed saw post-season action. The Bees remained torrid from the free throw line, draining eight of nine attempts. The hosts got 19 points from its bench, led by senior Jimmy Henyey’s pair of fourth frame three’s. The Bees dominated the backboards, 30-20.

The Silencing Of The Rams

The Rams, whom Brecksville defeated by the score of 69-57 on opening night, November 27th, were led by junior guard Isaiah Washington who tallied a game-high 19. Washington is the teams leading scorer. He came in averaging 23 per outing.

Rhodes, which finished in second place in the regular season in the Senate Athletic League, bows out with an overall record of 11-9. The Rams started two juniors and three sophomores. “Rhodes is a team that is going to be really good the next two years as those young guys develop,” Mehalik said.

Seasoned Seniors

Other than an unsavory batch of third quarter turnovers that Mehalik quickly put an end to with a mince-no-words time out, the Bees – outright Suburban League National Division champions – looked like a well-oiled machine.

“It was our experience. Our seniors stepped up. Matt D did a good job. And Danny Harwood hit shots,” said Mehalik. “Rhodes tried to take Danny Auble away and he had the poise to continue to play basketball. He’s the best point guard in Northeast Ohio.”

A Rare Occurrence

This was the Bees first Saturday afternoon game since the 3:00 pm start at the University of Toledo on March 16, 2013 when they faced Toledo Rogers in a regional final fray. The unusual noon-hour tip off  was not a factor. “The atmosphere didn’t phase us. We were pumped up and ready to play,” Dimitrijevs said.

 

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

RAMS          08          10          09          14          = 41

BEES           19           17           17           17          = 70

 

STAT-O-MATIC:

RHODES ….. The Rams went 10 of 12 from the free throw line for 83.3% and committed 19 turnovers.

BRECKSVILLE ….. The Bees went 8 0f 9 from the free throw line for 88.8% and committed 12 turnovers.

 

OFFICIALS:

James Duke, Carl Davidson and “Mustang” Mike Boyle (a veteran group).

 

BEES STATISTICAL LEADERS:

SCORING ….. Dimitrijevs with 18.

REBOUNDS ….. Jared Bazil with 7.

STEALS ….. Auble with 2.

ASSISTS ….. Auble with 5.

BLOCKED SHOTS ….. Auble and Kyle Seibert with 2 each.

CHARGES TAKEN ….. None.

 

STARTING LINE-UPS:

RAMS: 4-Nijon Kirkman, 5-Donovan Forte, 10-Isaiah Washington, 12-Richard Monday, 24-Kevin Tucker.

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

 

BEE HIVE BUZZ:

By winning magic number game number 20 this afternoon this Bees team became only the fifth in the 70-year history of the program to reach that mark. It was Brecksville’s fourth straight triumph. The Bees finished 11-1 at home this season (Canton McKinley). They are averaging 60 points per game. Their opponents 49. Steve Mehalik’s club has outscored its foes by a total of 256 points over the course of 23 ballgames.

Rhodes, which hit seven three’s of its own this afternoon, reached the sectional final by defeating Lakewood in a first-round game at home by the count of 71-53 Wednesday night. Today was the Rams second loss this season at the Hive. They began and ended their campaign here.

The 12-noon tip off was the earliest in the modern history of the BBHHS basketball program. The reason was to accommodate this evenings Music in Motion production.

With 13 minutes remaining on the warm-up clock there was a grand total of 43 fans in the stands. The gathering quickly grew like wild flowers to the usual number by game time or slightly thereafter.

The Swarm appropriately staged a pajama theme for the early Saturday matinee. PJ’s were the order of the day in the fabled student section. The group hung a well-done sign on the railing that read: “We woke up like this.” Senior volleyball player Alexis Hill summed up the mindset. “This is my first basketball game this season because I am always at work or out of town! But I picked a good game. I just rolled out of bed for the PJ party in the student section,” Hill, the most quoted player in the history of the Lady Bees volleyball program, said.

The Bees cheerleaders and their veteran coach Mrs. Hoy went to Panera for breakfast as a team this morning. The usual suspects, no names please, occupied the Monkey Island section. Danny Shirilla posed with about a dozen relatives after the game. Included in the group was his cousin who is a senior player for the regional-bound Solon Lady Comets hoop team.

A huge shout out goes to sophomore volleyball player Amber King who took this humble scribes Tweet this morning to heart. And graciously delivered a small cup of black coffee to press row prior to tip off. “I saw your Tweet this morning. Did anyone bring you coffee?”, asked sophomore Daniel Stuczynski. You bet Stu. Amber King did and it hit the spot! A million thanks BERRR!

For the first time since the Bees played Rhodes the day after Thanksgiving (an off day from work) this old hack was able to get a parking spot in the Bee Hive’s upper level lot. The secret? Arrive at 10:38 for a 12-noon tip on a day where there is no freshmen or junior varsity game.

Steve Mehalik will attend the Suburban Leagues’ post-season coaches meeting tomorrow afternoon. If this corner had a vote for the National Division’s Most Valuable Player it would be cast for the Bees Dan Auble.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“I hope the ball goes in today.” – Bees assistant coach Greg Sejba at 11:30 am.

 

NEXT UP:

Unless the Max Hayes Lakers pull off the upset of the century tonight at Sullivan Gym, Brecksville-Broadview Heights will take on St. Ignatius Thursday in a district semi-final contest at Strongsville High School at 7:00 pm.

The Bees and Wildcats have a fairly recent post-season history. That was in 2010 when Iggy claimed a sectional final victory at Solon. Brecksville, which is 9-2 on the road this season, lost at the Mustangs Corral back in early December. This setting is a true neutral court however.

The Bees are playing with the big boys now. “Like we always say, ‘It’s not a tournament run until you win your first game.’ Now this is special. We get to play one of the elite teams in the state of Ohio. One of the storied franchises in Northeast Ohio. But this is what our guys have worked for,” Steve Mehalik said. “They are really, really good. The Wildcats are as advertised. We are going to have to play close to a perfect game to beat them. In the past we would say that we would have to play a perfect game. But this Thursday we are really going to have to.”

Thursdays semi-final is a single session affair. The upper bracket semi-final, where top-seeded St. Edward is slotted, will be played Wednesday at 7:00 at Strongsville. The district title tilt is next Saturday at 7.

“It’s going to take a team effort. We have to prepare like we have been. And we can’t go in there thinking that we’re hot stuff,” said Dan Harwood. “We just have to play our game.”

Coach Mehalik is scouting the Ignatius-Max Hayes game this evening. He and his staff will have the Bees prepared. That much you can count on.

All season long it has been the Bees that have had a huge target on their backs with everyone in the Suburban League’s National Division chasing them from the get-go. Brecksville barreled through the finish line, playing very well down the home stretch of the regular season, and claimed the conference crown by three games. The tables have now dramatically turned. The Bees are no longer the hunted. They are the underdogs. This is unfamiliar territory for Beeville. However it is a role that Mehalik and his charges will gladly embrace.

“We will have to take care of the basketball and not turn it over. We will have to shoot the heck out of the ball, which I think we can do. If we play our game, we’ll be good,” Matt Dimitrijevs said.

 

See You At The Bee Hive!

To contact: Ddipa67834@aol.com.

Follow on Twitter: @beevillesports

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