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By Dom DiPasqua/Staff Writer

Tuesday night, March 22, 2016

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS – Like a fine wine Dan Auble got better with age. There is a lot to be said for saving your best for last. And Auble, a senior point guard, left no doubts this past season as he was named the Bees Most Valuable Player for the 2015-’16 campaign. Dan, who will play his college ball at Capital University in Bexley, was voted the Suburban League National Division’s MVP as well. The team captain was also voted to the SL’s first-team, and was third-team all-district. For what Auble does off the court, where his generosity knows no bounds, he should receive a humanitarian award.

“Danny had the ability to control games with the ball in his hands. And he never stopped working to get better,” veteran Beeville head coach Steve Mehalik said. “You win with great people.”

Summing Up The Season

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights basketball program celebrated its fifth 20-win season in its 77-year history here this season at the teams sixth annual post-season awards banquet. The Bees went 20-4 overall and 13-1 in their first year in the loop, running away with the conference title.

From day one of camp back around Halloween Mehalik often talked about how special this team was. Their work ethic was second to none. Their class and the way they went about their business was unflappable. They prepared for games like professionals. And, in the end, the results spoke for themselves. “It puts into perspective just how special this group was, being only the fifth 20-win team in program history,”Mehalik said to a gathering of varsity and junior varsity players and their family members here in the cafeteria prior to dinner. “And this group brought the program closer to a magical number. We are only 13 wins away from 1,000 victories in program history.”

The Bees, in 77 years of playing inter-scholastic basketball, are 987-560. That is just a shade under 13 victories per season in nearly eight decades of action on the hardwood. In that span Brecksville has claimed 31 league championships; from the Cuyahoga West Conference to the Cuyahoga Conference, from the Pioneer to the Southwestern and right up to the present day Suburban League.

Excellence and class have been the calling card of this largely unheralded program outside the twin communities. Coach Mehalik has carried on the tradition that the great mentors that came before him laid the groundwork for. This was Mehalik’s fourth league crown in his nine years as the Bees head coach. Mehalik, as always, graciously hosted this evenings event with the perfect touches of humor, humility and pride.

Their Legacy Is Cemented

Two years ago Mehalik and his staff created a “Champions Chart” that tracked the obvious stats per game along with the intangibles that don’t make it into a box score but go a long way in adding tally marks to the victory column. And for the second straight season forward Dan Harwood was at the top of the chart.

Harwood, a senior, was this years winner of the award now named the “Coach STU Award” in honor of late assistant coach Dave Stuczynski who passed away just before the start of training camp. Choking back tears Mehalik presented the prestigious award to Harwood in the LGI room. “This is the highest honor in our basketball program,” Mehalik said.

Harwood was named to the Suburban League’s first team. The team captain also claimed the Coaches Award. And he was special mention all-district. He, along with Auble and classmate Andrew Bruno, were tabbed as Greater Cleveland Basketball Coaches Association All-Stars. The games are tomorrow night at the fabulous Bee Hive.

Bruno, a senior guard, was the Bees Defensive Player of the Year. Mehalik noted Bruno’s laser-like focus and love for delving deep into a scouting report. The intense Bruno flat out left it all on the court, usually playing to exhaustion. He was named to the Suburban League’s second-team. “Andrew Bruno is the best defender we’ve had in my nine years here,” Mehalik said.

Best Off The Bench

Senior Danny Shirilla, who much like in football, played a variety of positions and played them all very well, is a coaches dream. An outstanding student in the classroom Shirilla’s understanding of the game and keen awareness of being in the moment did whatever he was called on to do this past season. And that included taking a team-high 11 charges. “Danny Shirilla embraced his role and was one of the best competitors we’ve ever had,” said Mehalik. “As Doc Rivers said ‘be a star in your role’, well that was Danny Shirilla.”

When Brecksville needed energy. When it needed instant offense off the bench or a key rebound or two down the stretch senior P.J. Austin provided it. Austin, a senior who made a huge impact this year, was chosen as one of the teams co-most improved players along with junior post Jared Bazil.

Austin’s ability to put the ball in the basket, in bunches, at key junctures of crucial games made him invaluable to the squads success. “We’re not standing up here passing out conference championship t-shirts tonight if it wasn’t for P.J.,” Mehalik said.

Senior Jimmy Henyey is the type of young man you just pull for. Aside from being an all-star academically Henyey is a huge fan of the game of basketball. It occupies a special place in his heart. And of the many positive take-ways from this season one that keeps coming to mind is that Henyey went out with a bang. The last three baskets of his never-say-die four-year career were 3-pointers. And they all came in post-season play which makes them that much more memorable. “Coaching guys like Jimmy Henyey is what is right about high school basketball,” said Mehalik.

The Bees six seniors, a classy and close-knit group, received team chairs. Keepsakes for the ages. “This is a symbol of your hard work,” Coach Mehalik told them.

Can’t Wait For Next Year

Jared Bazil, whose dominating presence inside led him to 9-points and 7-rebounds per game averages, finished his second season as a starter and was a second-team all-league honoree. Needless to say Bazil will be one of the conference’s top returning players next season.

Ditto for junior wing Matt Dimitrijevs who was Brecksville’s Best Offensive Player – and for good reason. When Matt D got hot the gym became electric and opponents scurried to call time outs. Dimitrijevs can flat out knock in the three-ball as he did with abandon this season, hitting 60 of them. He shot 39% from behind the arc. And was named honorable mention SL.



Brecksville-Broadview Heights rattled off 15 straight wins during one stretch this season. That was the third longest win streak in program history. The Bees out-rebounded their opponents by 5.4 boards per outing. They held the opposition to 39% shooting from the field. And that will win you some ballgames.

The junior varsity team, under coach John Silva, went 20-2 overall and 13-1 in the circuit. The JV Bees average margin of victory was 61-38, which happened because they simply imposed their will on opponents. Coach Silva said that his group transcended all expectations. The freshmen team finished strong to post a 12-9 slate under coaches Ken Cunningham and Jonny Everett.

Congratulations to freshmen Kenny Ganley who was selected to play in the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association “Top 100 Underclassmen Showcase”. The event will take place April 23rd at Otterbein University in Westerville. Ganley, who received his first varsity letter this evening, is only the fourth freshmen in the last 15 years to play at the varsity level for the Bees.


See You At The Bee Hive!

To contact: Ddipa67834@aol.com.

Follow on Twitter: @beevillesports

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