April 23, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
36°F

Blue Devils give Tigers all they can handle

Brunswick senior Kyle Wheeler drives the lane past Twinsburg's Talen Johnson during the first quarter. (Aaron Josefczyk photo)

Brunswick Junior guard Zach Parker puts up a shot during the third quarter over Twinsburg Cooper Rea. (Aaron Josefczyk photo)

Albert Grindle

The Gazette

BRUNSWICK — It may take a few days for the numbness to subside.

The Brunswick boys basketball team had every opportunity to put away very solid Twinsburg on Friday. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, a lack of rebounding and ball control in critical moments added up to a 70-69 loss in a triple-overtime classic.

The Tigers (12-4) used a 6-0 run fueled by turnovers in the last 3 minutes of regulation to force OT, and later a 4-0 spurt in the third extra session to steal a Northeast Ohio Conference cross-division victory.

Devastating may be too light a word after the Blue Devils (8-9) missed a potential game-winning shot in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, another at the end of the first OT and two in the final 5 seconds of the game.

“I love my guys,” coach Joe Mackey said. “They’re great kids, but there’s no consolation when you lose a game like this. It’s just been a miserable season from the win-loss column. There’s no other way of looking at it. It just eats away at you.”

Twinsburg fell behind 38-29 early in the third quarter but clawed within 52-48 before Brunswick’s Kyle Wheeler (18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) drilled two free throws. Tigers point guard Jalen Washington (15 points, 13 in fourth quarter and overtimes) countered with his first field goal after 10 misses to make it 54-50.

The Blue Devils then turned over the ball on consecutive possessions and Twinsburg capitalized with a free throw by A.J. Edwards (18 points, 10 rebounds), who was coming off a 37-point outing against Revere, and a clutch 3-pointer from the corner by Cooper Rea to tie it up.

Brunswick stalled the final minute. Wheeler drove left for a potential game-winning layup at the buzzer, but it was emphatically blocked by Edwards.

“We just didn’t get it done,” Mackey said.

The teams traded buckets in the first overtime, with the Blue Devils taking the lead on essentially a mini alley-oop from Wheeler to Taylor Armagost. Unfortunately for Brunswick, its bugaboo all night — rebounding — cost it dearly when the Tigers’ Sean Marable knotted the score on a putback. Wheeler’s contested 3-pointer after another stall drew back iron in the closing seconds.

Brunswick trailed for most of the second overtime when a turnover led to an Edwards bucket and Washington canned a free throw. Wheeler then hit a huge 3-pointer to tie the game at 64, paving the way for Twinsburg to run out the final minute. Edwards glass-balled a hotly defended left-handed layup in the waning moments.

The Blue Devils regained themselves in the third OT, taking a 67-64 lead on free throws by Armagost and Zach Parker (game-high 21 points, 5 3-pointers). They had a golden opportunity to clamp the vise when Billy Applebee stripped Rea clean, but instead quickly turned the ball over, which turned into Washington free throws.

Applebee came up big again with a 17-foot jumper to make it 69-66. Brunswick had another chance to pull away when Washington missed two free throws, only to cough up the ball again. Washington made a tough bucket in traffic to pull Twinsburg within 69-68 with 1:29 left.

With Wheeler fouled out, the Blue Devils were forced to adjust and elected to stall again for the final shot. It backfired with a turnover in front of their student section, and Edwards scored in the paint with 30 seconds left.

Brunswick had a final chance in the closing seconds, and Alex Hartill’s guarded look at a 3-pointer looked true before hitting back iron. Patrick Jarvis (11 points, 6 rebounds) grabbed the loose ball near the 3-point line and hoisted a double-teamed shot that fell short as the buzzer sounded.

“We’re up three points in triple-overtime twice with the ball and we turned it over both times and gave them uncontested layups,” Mackey said.

For the better part of 2½ quarters, the Blue Devils’ fast start appeared to be more than enough to secure victory. Brunswick made its first six shots, including three by Wheeler, to highlight a near-perfect first quarter in which it scored 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting and did not commit a turnover.

The lead extended to double digits early in the second quarter. With Washington struggling to find any driving room and Jarvis playing physically against Edwards — “I thought we did a real nice job on those guys,” Mackey said — Twinsburg was forced to rely on tenacious rebounding.

The Tigers grabbed a whopping 12 offensive boards over the first three quarters, which allowed them to trail just 43-40 heading into the fourth.

“We kind of gave it away there with our inability to grab the pumpkin,” Mackey said. “It’s just mindboggling. It’s been the same story. We just can’t grab the ball. It’s been there for the taking so many times.”

Note

Eric Bulic scored 11 points as Brunswick’s junior varsity won 42-31.

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Twinsburg 70, Brunswick 69 (3OT)

TWINSBURG             15  12  13  14  7  3  6  —  70

BRUNSWICK              23  9  11  11  7  3  5  —  69

Twinsburg — Cooper Rea 5-0-12, Marcus Wallace 1-1-3, A.J. Edwards 7-3-18, Tay Johnson 5-0-11, Jalen Washington 3-9-15, Shane Farmer 1-0-3, Sean Marable 4-0-8. TOTALS: 26-13-70.

Brunswick — Alex Hartill 2-0-4, Patrick Jarvis 4-3-11, Taylor Armagost 4-2-10, Zach Parker 7-2-21, Kyle Wheeler 5-5-18, Billy Applebee 2-0-5, Brandon Zaccardelli 0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-12-69.

3-point goals — Rea 2, Edwards, Johnson, Farmer, Parker 5, Wheeler 3, Applebee. Rebounds — Twinsburg 35 (Edwards 10), Brunswick 30 (Armagost 10). Assists — Twinsburg 13 (Washington 8), Brunswick 11 (Hartill 4). Records — Twinsburg (12-4), Brunswick (8-9). Junior varsity — Brunswick 42, Twinsburg 31