September 30, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
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Blue Devils, Bees help each other out in tourney draws

COPLEY TWP. — For the second straight year, Brunswick’s boys basketball team received plenty of respect at the Copley Division I District tournament draw.

And for the second straight year, there will be multiple intra-Medina County showdowns.

The Blue Devils (10-9) had the fourth-fewest wins of the 12 teams, but received the No. 4 seed Sunday after upsetting then-Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division co-leaders Shaker Heights and Garfield Heights earlier in the week.

Coach Anthony Stacey

Suburban League champion Nordonia (17-2) was the top seed, followed by NOC River Division co-leaders Twinsburg (13-4) and Hudson (14-4).

“It was nice to earn the respect of these guys despite our record,” Brunswick coach Joe Mackey said. “(Beating Shaker Heights and Garfield Heights) probably bumped us up 4-5 seeds. When we lost in triple-overtime (to Twinsburg on Feb. 1), we probably had ourselves at 8 or 9.”

The red-hot Blue Devils, who have won five of their last seven, were the only team among the top four to not take a bye. The Blue Devils chose the same side of the bracket as Nordonia and will play No. 12 Cloverleaf (4-15) on Feb. 26.

The winner advances to face No. 5 Walsh Jesuit (13-4).

“We’re playing well right now. There’s no need to sit, just play,” said Mackey, who added he is hopeful All-Ohio guard Ryan Badowski (hip) can play Friday at Strongsville.

“It’s just one of those preferences. If we get upset, then I’m an idiot. If we get the win, it works out well.”

Meanwhile, defending champion Medina (9-9) received the No. 6 seed and elected a sectional semifinal in front of Hudson, which the Bees defeated in overtime in December. Tenth-seeded Highland (11-8) eventually chose to avoid the other SL opponents, and will play the Bees on Feb. 27.

Medina and Highland last played each other Dec. 15, 1987.

“There’s really good teams here. Records can be deceiving,” Bees coach Anthony Stacey said. “The most important thing for us over the next two weeks is to focus on ourselves and see if we can improve on a daily basis because we’ve got a ways to go.”

“Nordonia and, in my opinion, Brunswick, those are two of the top teams — if not the top teams going into the tournament,” Hornets coach Michael Murphy added. “By getting them on the same side of the bracket, anywhere on the other side is good for us because all of those games we can compete in.”

Wadsworth (10-9) chose to play No. 8 Cuyahoga Falls (11-7) in a Feb. 26 sectional semifinal. The winner advances to face Nordonia.

In an interesting twist, Brunswick won a tight vote against Walsh Jesuit for the fourth seed. Archrival Medina, Highland and NOC members Stow, Hudson and Cuyahoga Falls voted for the Blue Devils, who naturally voted for themselves. Brunswick beat the Warriors 6-5.

The Blue Devils then returned the favor, as their vote was the deciding factor in the Bees edging Firestone and Cuyahoga Falls for the No. 6 seed.

“Obviously, (Brunswick and us) battle tooth and nail, but our conference is unbelievable,” Stacey said. “It speaks for itself playing Mentor, Garfield and Shaker. We got respect because we know the gauntlet we go through, through this league.”

The other interesting vote was between Highland and Wadsworth. Based on their near-upset of Nordonia, the Hornets edged the Grizzlies 8-4 for the 10 seed despite losing to them 78-72 on Jan. 4.

“You don’t know how many of the teams here know that,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “You don’t know who’s seen you play. Highland is a good team. I wasn’t shocked. I put ourselves anywhere from 8-11.”

Buckeye (11-7) received the sixth seed at the Westlake D-I District. The Bucks elected a first-round bye and will play the winner of No. 7 Holy Name and No. 8 Bay on March 1.

Coach Matt Saunders was left with an unusual scenario when the Nos. 3-5 seeds — Firelands, Vermilion and Rocky River — went on the same side of the bracket.

Buckeye then avoided a date with No. 1 Benedictine and took the bye, which pretty much forced Holy Name and Bay to play each other.

“I like where we’re at,” Saunders said. “They are two teams we’ve scrimmaged, which will be good for us. Ideally I wanted to play (a first-round game), but with the way it shook out it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. It was an interesting draw, to be sure.”

Black River (0-19) was the 14th seed at the Wooster D-III District. It will play seventh-seeded Orrville (5-14) on Feb. 25.

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

Schedule

COPLEY DIVISION I

Feb. 26 — CUYAHOGA FALLS VS. WADSWORTH, 6 P.M.; CLOVERLEAF VS. BRUNSWICK, 7:30 P.M. Feb. 27 — MEDINA VS. HIGHLAND, 6 P.M.; Firestone vs. Stow, 7:30 p.m. March 1 — Cuyahoga Falls-Wadsworth winner vs. Nordonia, 6 p.m.; Cloverleaf-Brunswick winner vs. Walsh Jesuit, 7:30 p.m. March 2 — Medina-Highland winner vs. Hudson, 6 p.m.; Firestone-Stow winner vs. Twinsburg. March 6 — District semifinal, 7 p.m. March 7 — District semifinal, 7 p.m. March 9 — District championship, 7 p.m.

WESTLAKE D-II

Feb. 26 — Brookside vs. Padua, 6 p.m.; Holy Name vs. Bay, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 — Vermilion vs. Firelands, 6 p.m.; Benedictine vs. Fairview, 7:30 p.m. March 1 — HOLY NAME-BAY WINNER VS. BUCKEYE, 6 P.M.; Brookside-Padua winner vs. Cleveland Central Catholic, 7:30 p.m. March 2 — Benedictine-Fairview winner vs. Cleveland Max Hayes. March 6 — District semifinal, 7 p.m. March 7 — District semifinal, 7 p.m. March 9 — District championship, 7 p.m.

WOOSTER D-III

Feb. 25 — ORRVILLE VS. BLACK RIVER, 6 P.M.; Northwestern vs. Wellington, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 — Elyria Catholic vs. Hillsdale, 6 p.m.; Keystone vs. Smithville, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 — Clearview vs. Chippewa, 6 p.m.; Loudonville vs. Norwayne, 7:30 p.m. March 1 — Oberlin vs. Orrville-Black River winner, 6 p.m.; Northwestern-Wellington winner vs. Elyria Catholic-Hillsdale winner, 7:30 p.m. March 2 — Waynedale vs. Keystone-Smithville winner, 6 p.m.; Clearview-Chippewa winner vs. Loudonville-Norwayne winner, 7:30 p.m. March 4 — District semifinal, 7 p.m. March 5 — District semifinal, 7 p.m. March 8 — District championship, 7 p.m.