Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hudson 15, Brecksville 14 (2OT): Explorers win thriller with grit, trick play

HUDSON: Hudson pulled out everything Friday night to top Brecksville 15-14 in double overtime. After a wild turn of events in the final minute of regulation and both overtime periods, the Explorers went to a trick play they had been practicing to snag the victory.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Elms beats Mizrachi 54-21 in Division IV post-season game

CRESTON: Our Lady Of The Elms easily took down Fuchs Mizrachi 54-21 in the Division IV Northeast Sectional semifinal Monday.

Elms (12-9) will play Open Door Christian in the Sectional finals Saturday night at Norwayne High School.

Elms may have cruised to a 33-point win that score even makes it look closer than it really was but coach Heather Giel knows its a big moment for a school lacking in postseason wins.

The seniors have always made it to the first game and we dont go anywhere after that, Giel said. They wanted to come out and make a statement. Its a big win for us.

The Panthers controlled the game from the very onset. Elms forced turnovers on the Mayhems first eight possessions and didnt allow a shot attempt in the first six minutes of the game.

The defensive pressure overmatched Mizrachi time and time again. The Panthers forced 24 turnovers in the first half and 34 for the game.

Focusing on defense, thats our thing, Giel said. We take pride in our defense and [it] creates a lot of points for us.

Elms allowed only one field goal in the first half and entered the locker room leading 36-4.

Senior Kaitlin Morse led the team with 12 points to go along with seven steals.

Its always been a fear of ours that wed let the pressure get to us, but we kept our energy level up, she said. Theres definitely stuff we can work on but we kept the energy up.

Sophomore Rachel Coury scored nine points, grabbed four rebounds and had four steals. Senior Tessa Haneline had eight points, four rebounds and five steals. Junior Rachel Tustin added eight rebounds and six steals.

Giel was pleased with such an even scoring distribution.

I think the girls have taken an unselfish attitude and really work together for the common good, Giel said. We have a goal in mind and were making it happen.

Giel knows the competition will take a major step up from here on out. Thanks to a late-season loss to Ellet that brought the team back down to Earth, Giel isnt worried about any complacency following such a dominating performance.

[That loss to Ellet] was able to refocus [our team], Giel said. That was probably the best thing to happen to us. [We said], All right, we know what we have to do in practice to go where we want to go.

Giel has a few days of practice before facing Open Door Christian and says shed like to work on their play in the paint and hitting a higher percentage of free throws. She also knows that the turnovers wont come as often next time out, so a half-court offense will have to be set up.

We have a running game, but we gotta be able to work on our set offense and focus on that, she said. We didnt make as many free throws as we should have, I can tell ya that. The competition from here on out will only get better.

Mizrachi senior Dara Zuckerman scored a team-high nine points to go along with nine rebounds.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at Read the high school blog at

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

East 79, Firestone 75: Dragons top Falcons in city title game

With the City Series title game nearly in hand, East senior Alontae McMeans turned to his teammates during a timeout and said: Lets go home.

Before the timeout, McMeans stepped to the free-throw line with 5.8 seconds to go in overtime. He was scoreless and the Dragons were clinging to a three-point lead over host Firestone.

McMeans missed the first free throw but made the second to help the Dragons (18-1)to a 79-75 win over the Falcons (13-5) on Friday.

The triumph was the Dragons third over the Falcons this season, and gave East the Joe Siegferth Championship Trophy and a second medal to go with the City Series regular-season percentage title it earned with a 12-0 league mark.

East seniors Davonte Brunson, Mycle Shadie and Sir Charles Travis all scored in double figures, along with junior Brandon Townsend.

This is great for the team and the school, East coach Ross Fiorello said. These kids have worked so hard over the years. I am so pleased for the players and East High School. This game brought a lot of people from the East community together and it brought a lot of old memories back for them.

The win was Easts first in the league title game since 1991. The Dragons last won the league regular-season title outright in 1989.

We put the exclamation point on it tonight, Fiorello said. Certainly, it wasnt easy.

Brunson, the City Series co-Player of the Year with Kenmore senior Antonio Hearn, scored 24 points and Shadie scored 22 points.

We made a lot of history, Brunson said. We needed that win. Our coach deserved this. He is a real good coach and he makes sure we work real hard every day in practice.

Firestone started fast and led 7-0, but East responded with a 16-2 run to close the first quarter and lead 16-9. The Dragons led 29-28 at halftime and 49-44 after three quarters.

The Falcons forced overtime courtesy of major contributions from juniors Kevin Gladney and Jerome Lane and senior Stefan Willis.

Lane fouled out with 1:04 to go in the fourth quarter with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Gladney fouled out with 5.4 seconds left in overtime with 26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Willis had 21 points and five rebounds.

Ross said it to me perfectly. He goes: Im glad we dont have to meet anymore, Firestone coach Dave Milo said. We have five losses. Three are to them. They are a clutch team.

Their shooters, I tried to get a couple of them out of the game [on fouls]. Shadie played the fourth quarter with four fouls. I said to my guys: Go to the hole and lets get him outta here. We were not able to that. Then he is hitting clutch shots with under two minutes to go and then in overtime. They are just a heckuva shooting team.

Shadie made four 3-pointers, three after halftime.

That is just a great win, Shadie said. We beat them three times, which is hard to do.

Townsend and Travis finished with 14 points. Travis grabbed 12 rebounds and had five blocks.

This was my No. 1 goal. I wanted to win City, Travis said with a large portion of a net around his neck. It is tough to play a team three times, especially going against one of the best challenging post players [Lane]. He had a good game, but fouled out. That is when I had to step up and we had to win.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or Read the high school blog at Follow him on Twitter at Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Freshman Ross Palazzo leads Hudson to second place at district swim meet

CLEVELAND: Going into the third leg of the 200-yard individual medley at Fridays Division I district swim meet, Hudson freshman Ross Palazzo was a bit confused.

I didnt see anyone, Palazzo said. I thought they had stopped the race for a second.

Palazzo didnt see anyone in the lanes next to him, because there wasnt anybody in the lanes next to him. He was that far ahead.

Palazzo went on to win the event in 1 minute, 53.71 seconds, more than three seconds ahead of runner-up Derek Hren of Cleveland St. Ignatius. It was one of the standout performances for a Hudson team that finished second at Cleveland State Universitys Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.

Second would have been fine, said Palazzo, who had to settle for second in the 100 breast stroke and as part of Hudsons runner-up 200 individual medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. I knew I had a shot, but Im still surprised. Everything is the hard work paying off.

St. Ignatius won the boys meet with 280 points, followed by Hudson (262) and North Canton Hoover (193.5). The top two finishers in each race automatically qualify for next weeks state meet in Canton. The rest of the state field will be filled out by the top 16 remaining finishers from the four district meets.

We felt we were in position and we had a real good shot, said Hudson coach Matt Davis, who was named Boys Division I District Coach of the Year. Our kids have been working hard all year. We came up a little bit short, but we cant be ashamed of what we did.

Palazzos time in the 200 individual medley was a school record, as were Hudsons times in the 200 medley (second place, 1:35.74) and 200 freestyle relays (third, 1:25.78).

Palazzo joined Ryan Hutcheson, Adam Motter and Brendon Mulcahey on Hudsons 200 medley relay team, which was second to Lakewood St. Edward.

The 400 freestyle relay team featured Palazzo, Hutcheson, Mulcahey and senior Jimmy Dagley. It finished second behind St. Ignatius.

Dagley won the 100 freestyle in 46.30, just ahead of Cuyahoga Falls junior Andrew Appleby. The two traded spots in the 100 backstroke, with Appleby winning in 49.98, a district meet record.

Hudson also had third-place finishes in the 500 freestyle (Hutcheson), 200 individual medley (Hutcheson) and 200 freestyle relay, which could be good enough to earn state berths.

We did phenomenal, Davis said. We got a lot of kids out to the state meet. [Palazzo] was just out of sight. He works very hard and is the epitome of the kind of kid you want to coach. Hes got a bright future. The skys the limit.

Hoover senior Mitch Alters, the defending state champion in the 200 freestyle, needed to rally to claim the district title.

Strongsvilles Mitchell Delventhal, who entered the race with the second-best qualifying time behind Alters, raced out to an early half-body length lead and held it until the last 50 yards. That was when Alters made his move, catching Delventhal at the final turn to win by less than a second.

He definitely took it out fast, said Alters, who finished in 1:42.58. I knew Id have to swim hard to stay with him and then bring it home. Next week Ill definitely be looking to take it out a lot faster. But it got me through to state and thats what matters.

Alters was third in the 100 butterfly, a finish he believes should qualify him for state.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Walsh Jesuit girls beat Archbishop Hoban 47-33

Archbishop Hoban and Walsh Jesuits game Wednesday night to determine the regular-season North Coast League champion wasnt unlike the first time these two teams met this season.

This game was physical. It was tough. It was gritty.

In a game that featured almost no offense, Walsh (16-4, 11-0) had a little bit more to offer and defeated Hoban 47-33 at home to secure an undefeated regular season title in its first year in the league.

This being our first year, its an honor to win it, Walsh coach Pete Zaccari said. You can see both teams play very good defense and played very, very hard. Were fortunate.

From the onset, both sides made it clear to each other that points would come at a premium. Every loose ball had a score of players diving after it. Every foul was hard. After the first quarter, the score was only 7-4 in favor of Walsh.

It was a freshman, Walsh forward Lilli Piper, who stepped up to meet Hobans physicality.

After senior Liz Reeves got into foul trouble, Piper entered in her spot and blocked five shots in the second quarter, one of which she sent several rows into the bleachers.

It was rough, Hoban really brought it to us, Piper said. They played physical and really hard and we had to give it right back to them.

Behind Pipers defensive presence, Walsh finally broke through the offensive stalemate and went on an 11-4 run to open the second half.

After scoring 14 points in the first half, overcoming a run like that was certainly a daunting task for Hoban coach Scott Callaghan.

I probably should have done a better job using my timeouts and switching up defenses, he said. I thought once again Walsh physically dominated the game. A lot of credit to them.

Ahead by eight points entering the fourth quarter, the Warriors sealed their undefeated regular season behind a second key run, this time 8-0.

A game like this is a great game to coach in its a chess match, Zaccari said. This game could have gone either way.

Piper finished the night with six points, six rebounds and those five blocks.

Zaccari was confident he could put the ball in his freshmans hands.

I cant speak more highly of [Piper], he said. For a freshman, her leadership, [how she] leads by example. Shes very tough, competitive, wants the ball in her hands.

Reeves was instrumental in the second half as well, also blocking five shots and grabbing 11 rebounds.

It was tough, and Hoban was smart to attack, Reeves said. I got into foul trouble. At halftime, my coaches reminded me that this was my last [game]. We as seniors wanted to leave a legacy, some sort of mark, and this was it.

Senior Courtney Iacobacci led Walsh with 13 points. Junior Jesse Gilberto contributed 11 points.

Senior center Kaleigh Roop scored a team-high 12 points to go along with six rebounds for Hoban (17-3, 9-2). Senior guard Janaya Feaster was held to six points.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at Read the high school blog at Also follow him on Twitter at Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hudson's Alex Obendorf and Taryn McLaughlin win district diving titles

CLEVELAND: Two titles earned, one big one still to work to get.

That is the situation Hudson senior Taryn McLaughlin and sophomore Alex Obendorf find themselves in after winning Division I district diving titles Wednesday at Cleveland State Universitys Busbey Natatorium.

McLaughlin and Obendorf opened the postseason last week by winning sectional titles at the University of Akrons Ocasek Natatorium.

McLaughlin scored 434.60 points after 11 dives Wednesday to win the girls title. Obendorf posted an 11-dive score of 513.40 points to win the boys title.

They definitely will go into state very confident, Hudson diving coach Dan Miller said. I think this is the toughest overall diving district in the state. We will see other really great divers at state from other districts, but to have the ability to come to this district and win is huge. Last years Division I state champions on the boys and girls side won this district meet.

Obendorf said he was pleased with his two-and-a-half reverse and back two-and-a-half dives.

This feels pretty good, Obendorf said. Winning the district definitely builds confidence going into next week. I feel like I can win state.

Miller said Obendorf is more confident this season and is not scared to do difficult dives.

Overall, I am really happy with how consistent Alex stayed, Miller said. He is right where he needs to be with his dives heading into state.

McLaughlin said she was thrilled with her reverse flip two-and-a-half twist and reverse dives.

Its really exciting to win the district, but you never want to get overconfident, McLaughlin said. Ive been working very hard and plan to continue to push myself on those hard dives.

Miller said McLaughlin executed three new dives in her routine, and maintained her high level of success.

With Taryn we are basically in the polishing-up mode, Miller said. We have been doing a lot of dives and she is staying consistent.

Nordonia sophomore Stephen Romanik placed second in the boys meet with 500.50 points.

I am just glad to be diving with this group of guys and I am looking forward to diving with these guys at state, Romanik said.

Romanik said his reverse two-and-a-half and one-and-a-half twist were his best dives Wednesday.

Lake junior Jon Schlafer finished third with 440.85 points.

GlenOak junior Austin Baad (eighth, 393.00 points) and Brunswick junior Ty Talley (ninth, 377.65 points) were also among the top 11 boys who advanced to state.

Solon junior Sivan Mills finished second in the girls meet with 427.10 points and Hudson senior Rachel Speakman was third with 411.40 points.

Other area girls among the top 10 that advanced to state are Cuyahoga Falls sophomore Nicole Rozsa (fifth, 397.95 points), Walsh Jesuit freshman Kailey Francetic (sixth, 397.55 points), Lake senior Katie Constantine (eighth, 390.30 points), Jackson senior Josie McKee (ninth, 389.00 points) and Cuyahoga Falls freshman Erika Shane (10th, 378.30 points).

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or Read the high school blog at Also follow him on Twitter at Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at

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