SHAKER HTS. — Taylor Armagost didn’t see the basketball go through the hoop. His teammates were more than happy to tell him that it did.
Armagost took a pass from Kyle Wheeler and scored on a driving layup as time expired Tuesday, lifting Brunswick’s boys basketball team to a 44-42 upset of Shaker Heights in Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division play.
The Blue Devils (9-9, 2-4), who trailed by 11 points midway through the third quarter, ended the game on a 20-7 run to stun the Raiders (11-6, 4-2) on their home court.
“I looked up, but I didn’t know if the shot went in,” Armagost said, smiling broadly. “When Kyle hugged me, though, I knew right away it did.
“We wanted this win so bad after what happened against Twinsburg. It just shows that we will never quit.”
Both squads were missing elite players, as Brunswick junior guard Ryan Badowski (hip flexor) and Shaker Heights senior forward Kash Blackwell (high ankle sprain) were in street clothes and visibly limping with long-term injuries.
The Blue Devils also were just four days removed from a 70-69 triple-overtime loss to the Tigers, but showed no after-effects from the heartbreaking defeat.
Senior point guard Wheeler had a game-high 15 points, while junior shooting guard Zach Parker had 12 points and a team-best five rebounds. Senior power forward Patrick Jarvis added 10 points for Brunswick, which also got four points, four blocked shots and three steals from senior center Armagost.
Sophomore center Esa Ahmad paced Shaker Heights with 12 points and eight boards, but was harassed into a game-high five turnovers by Armagost’s constant defensive pressure.
“We finally closed the door at the end of a game and got a big-time road win,” Wheeler said. “The Twinsburg loss was very tough to swallow, but wins don’t get much better than this.”
The Raiders took the biggest lead of the game at 35-24 with 4:19 left in the third when sophomore guard Kaleb Roy scored on a highlight-reel layup for a three-point play.
Wheeler, Jarvis and Parker brought Brunswick all the way back with an 18-2 run over the next 9 minutes. Wheeler’s short jumper gave the Blue Devils their largest advantage at 42-37 before Shaker Heights scored five unanswered points.
Roy knotted the score at 42-42 by going 1-for-2 at the foul line, but missed the second with 43 ticks on the clock.
Brunswick coach Joe Mackey called timeout with 19 seconds left and called a play for Wheeler, who ran it to perfection. He drove into the circle, then fired a no-look pass to Armagost on the left block. Armagost banked it off the glass just before the buzzer sounded.
“This was a phenomenal road win for us,” Mackey said. “That three-overtime loss was as deflating as a game could be, but our guys kept working and truly deserved this.
“I am as proud of this team as I have been in a long time because they showed more resilience than anyone could have hoped for. This was a great, great win.”
The Blue Devils staged a three-game sweep as their junior varsity and freshman teams won earlier in the day at Shaker Heights. Nate Armagost scored 12 points and Jason Okulovich had nine as Brunswick’s JV claimed a 43-38 victory, while Zach Cebula poured in 26 points for the frosh in its win.
Many members of Brunswick’s freshman squad wore Blue Devils shooting shirts with the name of teammate Josh Herron on the back. Herron was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.