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Bees swarm over Demons: Brecksville Bees claim district championship over Westlake Demons
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Brecksville celebrates after the final buzzer of the Division I Grafton District Final after beating Westlake, 58-53.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Westlake’s Gavin Skelly shoots a jump shot during the third quarter against Brecksville in a Division I Grafton District Final game at Midview on Saturday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Westlake head coach Shawn Hood directs his team in a huddle as time runs down in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Westlake's Danny Strodbeck shoots a three-point shot during the second quarter against Brecksville in a Division I Grafton District Final game at Midview on Saturday. The Bees won the district final, 58-53.
In the Division I Grafton District Final at Midview High School, Brecksville took the lead with two minutes left in regulation. They held off the Demons’ last charge in the waning moments for a 58-53 win in front of a near-capacity crowd Saturday.
This is the Bees (22-3) first district championship in 33 years, while Westlake ends its fantastic postseason run with its first district finals appearance since 1993.
“We answered virtually every call, but we just fell short at the end,” Westlake coach Shawn Hood said. “When I talked to the kids, I wasn’t going to belabor any one point. It doesn’t make sense. We played well enough to win. We came up short and that is the way it goes ... we did everything we could do.”
The fourth quarter was back-and-forth just like much of the game. Westlake (9-16) tied the game at 45 after back-to-back baskets by Gavin Skelly (nine points). The Bees bounced the lead back out to 50-47 before Jamie Lackner (11 points) tied it with a three-pointer with 2:30 left.
Mark Chrzanowski (team-high 15 points) snagged a rebound and scored on the put back to give the Bees the lead with two minutes left. A pair of free throws by Tim Tupa extended the lead to four, 54-50, but Westlake senior Shawn Turk (team-high 14 points) buried his third three of the game to slice the deficit down to one with 52 seconds remaining.
After a pair of free throws by Matt Csuhran pushed the back to 56-53, the Demons’ three-point attempt to tie the game went awry. The Bees hit two more free throws to seal the district championship.
“It’s been a long time and that is why it feels so good right now,” Brecksville coach Steve Mehalik said. “That’s a hell of a basketball team (Westlake) over there. They’re so good, so well-coached and so physical. We knew it was going to be a battle. We don’t play anything but battles with that team. (Play) them three times, you take your chances. We win close games with that team all the time; you figure sooner or later a good team like that is going to win. They played well enough to win. We made one more shot than they did.”
The battle both teams expected certainly didn’t disappoint with neither team getting much of an advantage throughout the first half.
Westlake took a 23-17 lead midway in the second quarter after a three by Turk. The Bees closed out the quarter with an 8-0 run which featured Westlake turning the ball over on four straight possessions.
Chrzanowski, who went scoreless in the first half, put the Bees on his back in the third quarter. He scored 13 points in the quarter which included a pair of 3’s. His second one came at the buzzer which bounced on the rim a couple of times before going in and gave the Bees a 41-39 lead and set up the thrilling fourth quarter.
“He’s (Chrzanowski) our stud,” Mehalik said. “I think people now know he’s pretty darn good. He is such a smart basketball player. He just knows how to score.”
Though the season has come to an end for the Demons, it is one which will be remembered for quite a while.
“It’s great for our seniors,” Hood said. “They have had wonderful success. They played good basketball. Most of them are multi-sport athletes and they have had success in their respective sports. Honestly, it’s no big surprise they finished as a district finalist. It’s too bad they didn’t get it.”
Brecksville 58, Westlake 53
Division I Grafton District Final
WESTLAKE — Bryan Mackenzie 4-0 8, Shawn Turk 5-1 14, Danny Strodtbeck 2-2 8, Gavin Skelly 3-3 9, Jamie Lackner 3-4 11, Makis Beach 1-0 3. TOTALS 18-10 53.
BRECKSVILLE — Paul Karthan 1-0 3, Mark Chrzanowski 6-1 15, Matt Csuhran 5-3 15, Tim Tupa 4-2 13, Tyler Tupa 3-0 8, Jon Belhorn 1-2 4. TOTALS 20-8 58.
3-POINT GOALS — W: Turk (3), Strodtbeck (2), Lackner, Beach; B: Csuhran (2), Chrzanowski (2), Tim Tupa (3), Tyler Tupa (2).
Score By Quarters
Westlake (9-16) 13 10 16 14 — 53
Brecksville (22-3) 14 11 16 17 — 58
Field Goals — Westlake 18 of 47 (43 percent), Brecksville 20 of 50 (40 percent).
Free Throws — W 10 of 12 (83 percent), B 8 of 9 (89 percent).
Rebounds — W 22, B 21.
Turnovers — W 10, B 8.
Last Updated: 3/9/2013 11:42:24 PM EST