July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Boys basketball: Mark Chrzanowski is clutch for Brecksville

BROADVIEW HTS. — Keep on chucking.

That’s exactly what Brecksville forward Mark Chrzanowski did as his late 3-pointer led the Bees to a 42-40 non-league win over Highland on Saturday.

Tanner Houska

Chrzanowski (16 points, 5 rebounds) was cold as ice from behind the arc, missing his first seven 3-point attempts before finally burying the game-winner with 9.6 seconds left.

“The play was broken up and Tim Tupa was trapped,” Chrzanowski said. “He had two or three guys on him and he made a great pass to me. I had a wide-open look and was able to make the shot.”

The defense of Highland (0-1), which was stellar all night, was impressive on the Bees’ last possession and collapsed on Tupa as he drove into the paint, leaving a tiny window for Chrzanowski to get his shot off.

“He made a shot,” Highland coach Michael Murphy said. “It wasn’t terrible ‘D.’ We were closing out on him, and we talked about not letting them get to the basket and into a foul situation. He stepped up and made one.”

Chrzanowski knew early his long-range accuracy was off and instead did the majority of his damage working inside and finishing at the basket.

“He’s pretty stinkin’ good,” Brecksville coach Steve Mehalik said. “I’ll go to battle with him every single day of the week. He made some big plays down the stretch.”

The scenario leading up to Chrzanowski’s last-minute heroics was as back and forth as the rest of the game.

After a pair of missed free throws by Tupa, the Hornets brought the ball up court and attempted to run out the last 1:38 clinging to a 40-39 lead.

Highland managed to run the clock down to 41 seconds before the Bees’ trap finally caught Brogan Scott (9 points, 4 rebounds). Tyler Tarnowski pounced on the loose ball and called his team’s last timeout.

“Ty Tarnowski didn’t quit on that play,” Mehalik said.

Brecksville brought the ball up court and, after a questionable blocking foul on Brennan Scott, had one last chance. Chrzanowski rose up from the right wing and buried his shot.

Highland’s last gap was a driving layup by Tanner Houska (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) that bounced around the rim before finally falling off at the buzzer.

Both teams had 12-0 runs in the third quarter to set up the frantic, down-to-the-wire finish. Highland opened the second half on a tear and jumped in front by 12 behind seven consecutive points from Houska.

“Tanner is the guy in charge out there from the point guard position,” Murphy said. “He did a great job getting to the basket and he knocked down a few shots. He’s worked hard over the summer to make sure he can do that.”

With Houska and the Hornets on fire, the Bees used their second timeout of the half and finally ended a five-minute scoring drought with a three from Paul Karthan (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists).

Brecksville answered right back with its own run to even things at 33, spurred by three consecutive 3-pointers, including two from Karthan.

Austin Adams (7 points) helped the Hornets to a 32-23 rebounding advantage, pulling down a game-high 15 boards.

Contact Chad Grant at sports@medina-gazette.com.