Amherst Comets’ comeback falls short vs. Berea Braves

BEREA — Berea outlasted Amherst on Friday night, with their defense and junior guard Alex Brown coming through in the clutch to win 65-62 in Southwestern Conference play.

The Braves (8-7, 5-4) came out strong, scoring 20 points in the opening quarter and holding Amherst (8-8, 3-7) to only five. Brown had eight of his 23 points in the first quarter, while Jake Holecko worked hard rebounding in the paint and chipped in four of his nine points.

Both teams were looking to rebound, with Berea coming off of a 74-67 loss to Avon Lake and Amherst dropping to Westlake 64-58, even after another strong second half push.

Adam Srnis’ three-point shot at the first half buzzer foreshadowed the Comets’ looming comeback. Srnis sank three 3s and teammate Garret Klekota contributed two from downtown, as the Comets outscored the Braves 22-8 in the period. Berea’s Devin Posey had a couple inside shots, as did Brown and Horner, but the Braves looked like they could be in trouble after Klekota made a layup and a free throw to tie the game at 42-42 near the end of the third.

Berea’s A’skia Wingfield made a tremendous defensive play, deflecting the ball off of an Amherst player so that the Comets could get the ball back and then sinking a field goal on the next possession. Posey and Brown worked inside to keep Berea ahead amidst Srnis’ and Klekota’s three-point show that continued into the fourth quarter, as they each sank two.

“Amherst is tough and that’s a credit to John and his players,” Berea head coach Darren Collins said. “I knew a lot of it had to do with the first time we played them. We pretty much had an easy game and I knew they were going to come back. Our intensity dropped in the third quarter and they started making some shots. They made some big shots.

“Klekota made some and Srnis — they made some unbelievable shots. That gives confidence. I put in Vaughn Fultz to defend and work them. In the end, it was about our defense that gave us some easy looks.”

The Comets prevailed with a strong defensive effort and some clutch free throws by Holecko and Brown.

“Even though our free throw percentage has been a problem, they seem to make them in the clutch,” Collins said. “Last week against Midpark, same thing. We made free throws down the stretch. It’s a huge difference to extend the lead to three, four, and five when there’s less than 30 seconds. It’s pretty huge.”

Both schools will be challenged next week, with Berea heading to Westlake to face a tough Demons team (12-4) and Amherst hosting Avon Lake (10-6).

“We have a big week next week with Westlake and Brecksville. We’ll need to play a complete game. Hats off to Amherst, they played really well tonight and they played hard like I knew they would. They’re a tough team to beat.”

Berea 65, Amherst 62

Southwestern Conference

BEREA — Devin Posey 6-1 13, A’skia Wingfield 1-0 3, Alex Brown 10-3 23, Alex Horner 2-2 7, Anthony Dobbertin 2-0 6, Vaughn Fultz 1-2 4, Jake Holecko, 3-2 9. TOTALS 25-10 65.

AMHERST— Adam Srnis 8-0 22, Nick Glowacki 2-0 5, Rees Rua 3-0 6, Guy Schuler 3-0 6, Garrett Klekota 8-1 21, Eric Lamb 1-0 2. TOTALS 25-1 62.

3-POINT GOALS — B: Wingfield, Horner, Holecko, Dobbertin (2); A: Srnis (6), Klekota (4), Glowacki.

Score By Quarters

Berea (8-7) 20 14 8 23 — 65

Amherst (8-8) 5 15 22 20 — 62


Last Updated: 2/1/2013 11:38:30 PM EST

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