BROADVIEW HTS. — Highland’s boys basketball team would have had a shot Tuesday night — if it had made a few.
A horrendous 1-for-18 from beyond the arc, the seventh-seeded Hornets made just 12 field goals in falling 52-38 to fourth-seeded Normandy in first-round Brecksville Division I Sectional action.
“I’m not sure if we can get better looks,” Highland coach Mike Marcinko said. “Basketball hasn’t changed all that much. You have to play solid defense, get a rebound and knock down shots.”
Though they played hard, the Hornets (7-14) weren’t all that good in the middle category, either, which is why the Invaders (12-9) will play Lakewood for a sectional title Friday. Five different Normandy players got at least five rebounds as the Invaders won the battle of the boards, 30-20.
Running a patient, patterned offense, Normandy got 25 points from undersized but muscular center Dylan Seitz, who was 8-for-14 from the field and 9-for-10 at the line, where he shot a mini-jump shot a la 1960s NBA guard Hal Greer, and 11 points off the bench from Orlando Leon.
“We don’t have an animal like him,” Marcinko said of Seitz, who killed the Hornets with quick, powerful spin moves. “He’s built well, he’s a heck of an athlete and he’s smart with his body. It was a match-up problem for us.”
Highland got 12 points and nine boards from center Austin Adams, 10 points from Chad Sedio and eight from Drew Keim, but the rest of the Hornets combined for eight points on 2-for-19 shooting. Highland finished the night shooting .279 as a team (12-for-43).
“They did a great job playing their game,” Marcinko said of the Invaders. “They’re tough, hard-nosed kids and they play hard. We could only manage that on occasion, which doesn’t get you over the top.”
Up 6-3 early, Highland fell behind 20-10 when Normandy went on a 17-4 run that took about 9½ minutes. The Hornets managed to get within six at halftime, then had some success when they applied full-court pressure after intermission.
Highland got within two on a Keim drive with 5:56 left in the game, but never got any closer. Down four midway through the fourth quarter, the Hornets allowed Normandy to regain possession after it had missed two free throws. Down five a minute later, Highland missed an open 3-pointer.
The Invaders, who had only two field goals in the final period, sealed the deal by making 12-of-16 free throws in the final 3:31.
“We’d get on a little run and either give up a layup or fail to get a rebound,” Marcinko said. “You can’t have empty possessions. That’s what we did.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.