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By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Thursday night, March 3, 2016

STRONGSVILLE – St. Ignatius held the Bees scoreless for a 16:25 stretch and cruised to a 60-23 Division I district semi-final tournament victory here this evening in front a near capacity crowd at The Corral.

The second-seeded Wildcats (18-6) advance to Saturday nights district final where they will take on rival,  top-seeded St. Edward at a site to be determined for the right to advance to the Cleveland State regional. The Eagles defeated #4 North Royalton, 79-61, last night.

Third-seeded Brecksville-Broadview Heights, a team known for its ability to put the ball in the basket, sees its season come to a disappointing end. But along the way Steve Mehalik’s hard working squad racked up 20 wins against only four losses. And stormed their way to a Suburban League National Division title with a 13-1 mark.

The Bees broke out to a 7-0 lead. St. Ignatius responded with a 10-0 run. Brecksville’s Danny Shirilla took his tenth charge of the season. And just before Brecksville inbound the ball assistant coach Greg Sejba mentioned a play to Mehalik that he thought would work. It did. Dan Harwood flung a diagonal pass to a wide open Matt Dimitrijevs in the left corner, and the Bees sniper tied the contest with a triple just before the horn.

Tied at ten after the first eight minutes is just what Brecksville wanted against one of Northeast Ohio’s most storied programs. What would happen shortly thereafter no one wearing red envisioned, let alone hoped for.

The Wildcats went on a 17-4 run to start the second stanza. The Bees Dan Auble notched both field goals. Harwood, a senior forward, canned a floater with 3:11 to play in the half. Little did anyone fathom that those would be Brecksville’s last points until sophomore reserve player Michael Rose scored inside with 2:46 remaining in the game. By that time the score was 55-19 Wildcats.

After trailing 7-0 early St. Ignatius went on a 46-10 run.

“St. Ignatius is really good. They are well-coached. They were just better than us,” Mehalik said shortly after his ninth season at the helm came to an end.

There Can Be Nights Like This

The Wildcats couldn’t get their shots to fall in the first four minutes of the game. From then on out they couldn’t miss. Brian Becker’s club drained nine 3-point field goals. Brecksville, known to score from the parking lot, managed only three. One of those came from senior Jimmy Henyey who forgot to call glass with about a minute and a half left.

The Bees came into the game averaging 60 points per outing. They were shut down this evening. “St. Ignatius had a lot to do with that. They are long and athletic. We had to make shots. The longer the drought went on the more pressure we felt,” said Mehalik. “Our guys did what we asked them to do. I question whether I put them in the best situation.”

Not Much Added Up

To illustrate how this one went for Beeville, Hardwood was high-point man with five. Junior post Jared Bazil hauled down a game-high nine rebounds with eight of them coming in the first half. The Bees trailed 29-17 at intermission. They were held scoreless in the third period. Brecksville’s bench scored all six of its fourth quarter points.

The Bees were simply over-matched. They couldn’t buy a bucket against the ‘Cats defense if they had a wad of twenties hanging out of their pockets.

St. Ignatius was led by team captain Jimmy Berger who netted 14 points on four consistently spaced treys.

A Season To Remember

Mehalik and his staff talked through the tough-to-take loss with their team afterward. The positive take-away was the season that is in the books and will be for history. And not one unforeseen cold-shooting night.

“This group is the most enjoyable group we’ve ever had here. You talk about over-achievers. If you looked it up in the dictionary it would define these guys,” Mehalik said. “What they accomplished this season no one thought they could except them. The tone they set for our basketball program is one that these young guys can follow. This pain will go away. That’s a good basketball team we lost to.”

Mehalik then paused and swallowed hard. “These seniors are a special group. I don’t have kids. But these six seniors are like six sons to me,” he said.



BRECKSVILLE          10          07          00          06          = 23

ST. IGNATIUS           10          19          10           21           = 60



BRECKSVILLE ….. The Bees went 4 of 10 from the free throw line for 40% and committed 13 turnovers.

ST. IGNATIUS ….. The Wildcats went 6 of 12 from the free throw line for 50% and committed 11 turnovers.



Frank Micale, Bryant Berry and Eric Moegerle (a veteran group).



SCORING ….. Hardwood with 5.

REBOUNDS ….. Bazil with 9.

STEALS ….. Auble with 2.

ASSISTS ….. Harwood with 2.

BLOCKED SHOTS ….. Auble, Harwood and P.J. Austin with 1 each.

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



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

WILDCATS: 3-Deven Stover, 21-Jimmy Berger, 25 Kyle Kalish, 31-Austen Yarian, 34-Matt Davet.



Brecksville-Broadview Heights finished 20-4 and 13-1 in the Suburban League. The Bees went 11-1 within the confines of the fabulous Bee Hive and 9-2 on the road. Tonight was a neutral court affair. However it was the second time this winter that the club lost here at Strongsville. The host Mustangs nicked them 48-47 three months ago. Brecksville averaged 58 points per game this season and allowed 49. Steve Mehalik’s bunch ran away and hid with the SL’s National Division crown, snaring the pennant by three games.

The Swarm showed up in tremendous numbers and wore black. They took over the upper level on the bench side of the gym. Kendall Brown, Kaylee Vadini and Nick Burkhart were the first to arrive.

The St. Ignatius students wore white. The chants that went back and forth between the dueling student sections were entertaining to say the least. It was all in good fun. Brian Becker is back for his second stint as the Wildcats head coach. He is in his first season, having replaced Sean O’Toole who was at the game.

The Iggy student body gave a nice round of applause to Brecksville sophomore cheerleader Abigail Gates when she landed with perfection near mid court after executing several award-winning flips. There was a definite big-game atmosphere. And the energy level in The Corral was good for about the first ten minutes of play.

Dennis Geffert (rhymes with effort) was outstanding behind the microphone as usual. Official scorer Diane Bennett got her traditional orange Tootsie Pop well before tip off. And that made her happy.

Former Brecksville student assistant coach Brandon Halupnik made the scene. It was great to see him. He showed up right before tip off and made a surprise visit to the Bees bench which seemed to pump-up the team.



“With the number of assistant coaches that both teams have pregame intros may take a while.” – Joe Zenir.


See You At The Bee Hive!

To contact: Ddipa67834@aol.com.

Follow on Twitter: @beevillesports

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