SHAKER HTS. — Brunswick’s Ryan Badowski and Nate Armagost lived the dream of every boys basketball player Friday night.
Badowski scored on a driving layup with 11 seconds left and Armagost blocked Ricky Stokes’ jumper at the buzzer as the Blue Devils upset Shaker Heights 51-50 in a Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division thriller.
The Raiders (17-5, 8-2), ranked ninth in The Associated Press Division I state poll, had taken a 50-49 lead with 1:26 remaining on a free throw by Kent State recruit Rosel Hurley, but wound up suffering their second straight home loss to Brunswick (12-9, 5-5).
“That was one of those shots that you practice in your backyard all the time, but you never know if you’ll actually have an opportunity to use it,” Badowski said. “I wanted to go to the basket, and after I used the crossover (to cross up two Shaker Heights defenders), I got some space and was able to get to the lane and knock it down.”
The Raiders immediately inbounded the ball and rushed into the frontcourt, where Stokes forced up a 3-pointer with five ticks on the clock. Stokes grabbed his own rebound just inside the foul line, but Armagost was there to meet him and reject his 13-footer.
“We put Nate back into the lineup because of his defense and he was great down there tonight,” Blue Devils coach Joe Mackey said. “Really, all of our kids played their roles beautifully and executed the game plan to perfection.
“Shaker Heights’ talent and their record speaks for itself. They’re a better team than we are, but they weren’t the better team today.”
The Raiders clinched the outright NOC Valley Division title Thursday when Medina lost 67-55 at Mentor, but wanted to celebrate it with a triumph on senior night.
Brunswick, however, took the crowd out of the game by scoring the first seven points en route to taking a 20-2 lead after the first quarter.
Senior shooting guard Badowski (game-high 27 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists) scored 10 points in the opening period, including a one-handed dunk past Hurley (11 points, 11 rebounds).
“Making plays like that and the game-winner are why Ryan earned a Division I scholarship to LongwoodUniversity,” Mackey said. “Great players step up on the biggest stages.”
Junior center Esa Ahmad (23 points, 7 rebounds, 15-of-17 free throws) slowly brought the hosts back, allowing Shaker Heights to finally tie the game at 44 with 3:44 left on a three-point play by Hurley.
The score was also deadlocked at 47, then at 49 when Ahmad made two free throws with 1:59 left. Hurley then gave the Raiders their only lead of the evening at 50-49 by making the second half of his double-bonus.
Badowski missed a 3-pointer with 59 seconds remaining, but junior point guard Jason Okulovich (6 points, 5 rebounds) hustled through a crowd to grab the board for Brunswick.
At that point, Mackey opted to take the air out of the ball, explaining, “If you had told me we’d have the ball down one at that point, I would have said, ‘I’m putting it in the hands of my best player to win the game.’ That’s what happened.”
Fortunately, junior center Armagost (2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocked shots) also was ready for his magic moment and swatted away Stokes’ second shot.
One year earlier, his older brother, then-Brunswick senior center Taylor Armagost, scored the game-winning layup as time expired in a 44-42 triumph at Shaker Heights.
“That’s just Brunswick — tough kids from a tough community,” Mackey said. “You never can count them out of anything. I love them all.”
Senior small forward Zach Parker and senior power forward Anthony Slane added six points apiece for the Blue Devils.
Junior shooting guard Kaleb Roy scored nine points on three 3-pointers for Shaker Heights, but he and Hurley were called for technical fouls in the final five minutes.
“This was definitely the biggest win we’ve ever had because we’ve had such an up-and-down season,” Parker said. “Winning here last year was great, but Shaker wasn’t ranked No. 1 in the area and in Ohio’s top 10 then. They are now, and we took them down.”
|Four-year starter Badowski moved into sixth place in MedinaCounty history with 1,236 points.
Brunswick hosts Kenmore in its regular-season finale this afternoon. The Cardinals agreed to take the place of the Blue Devils’ snowed-out Dunk for Diabetes contest at WalshUniversity.
It was a family affair as Aaron Badowski, Ryan’s sophomore brother, scored a game-high 28 points to lead the junior varsity Blue Devils to a 42-30 victory.
In an oddity on the high school level, the concession stand at Shaker Heights sells three varieties of fruit-flavored Crush soda pop, but no diet soft drinks.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.
Brunswick 51, Shaker Heights 50
BRUNSWICK 20 4 15 12 — 51
SHAKER HEIGHTS 2 15 16 17 — 50
Brunswick — Zach Parker 2-1-6, Eric Bulic 2-0-4, Nate Armagost 1-0-2, Ryan Badowski 9-7-27, Jason Okulovich 3-0-6, Steven Ficyk 0-0-0, Anthony Slane 2-2-6, Zach Cebula 0-0-0, Austin Conn 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-10-51.
Shaker Heights — Dez Hodoh 1-0-2, Rosel Hurley 4-3-11, Ja’Merez Bowen 0-0-0, Matt Podl 0-0-0, T.J. Steele 1-0-2, Esa Ahmad 4-15-23, Courtney Mays 0-0-0, Kaleb Roy 3-0-9, David Wright 0-0-0, Ricky Stokes 1-0-3. TOTALS: 14-18-50.
3-point goals — Badowski 2, Parker, Roy 3, Stokes. Rebounds — Brunswick 23 (Badowski 8), Shaker Heights 27 (Hurley 11). Assists — Brunswick 7 (Badowski 3), Shaker Heights 6 (Hodoh, Roy 2). Records — Brunswick (12-9, 5-5), Shaker Heights (17-5, 8-2). Junior varsity —Brunswick 42, Shaker Heights 30.