By Ryan Kaczmarski
It was a night of hot and cold on Friday at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School. The Westlake Demons were ice-cold and the Brecksville Bees were red-hot as the Demons were defeated 53-37 to tie things up on top of the Southwestern Conference with one week left in the regular season.
“I really believe we were frozen by the magnitude of the game,” said Demons head coach Shawn Hood. “We’re playing for a conference championship. We’re playing for a number-one seed in the district, and I think the magnitude of this game froze us early on. That’s all it took for (Brecksville) to run out on us.”
The Bees (13-4, 10-2 in the SWC) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back, going into the second quarter with a lead of 18-4. Brecksville then extended its lead to 24-6 before the Demons hit a field goal and added three free-throws to go into double-digits and make the score 32-11 at halftime. Brecksville was good on six 3-pointers in the first half, four in the first quarter alone.
Westlake (15-2, 10-2 in the SWC) trailed by as many as 22 points early in the second half, but managed to pull within 12 to end the third quarter trailing 38-26. In the fourth quarter, two more 3-pointers by Bees’ junior Mark Chrzanowski thwarted any thoughts of a Demons come-back.
“As a coach you ask yourself, ‘Could we have done anything different defensively to not let them (Brecksville) get going like that?’” Hood asked. “I really believe that it was one of those days where they were going to shoot the ball well. Any time a team shoots the ball that well on you, you’re probably going to lose.
“It’s unfortunate, but it happens,” he added. “We’ll put it behind us, move on, try to win (the two remaining conference games), and see what happens down the stretch.”
Westlake had a night that was not typical of the team that started 10-0 and was on a five game winning streak going into the game Friday, committing 11 turnovers and shooting 60 percent from the charity stripe.
“It wasn’t one of our better nights in any area,” Hood said. “We didn’t really generate any turnovers on our press. The only thing we did do, in the second half, we crashed the boards and got the offensive rebounds.”
Westlake junior guard Shawn Turk led the Demons in scoring with 10 points, followed by senior Andrew Guirguis with nine. Guirguis also chipped-in with 10 rebounds.
Brecksville senior Tom Tupa led all scoring with 15 points, followed by his younger brother, sophomore Tim Tupa, and Chrzanowski, each with 11.
With both teams having two conference games remaining on the schedule, there could be a co-championship in the SWC this year.
“Both teams deserve to be champions,” said Bees head coach Steve Mehalik. “I hope we both win out.”
With the rematch against Midpark – who ruined Westlake’s perfect record on Jan. 20 – coming this Friday night, Coach Hood refused to think his troops were looking past a game of this magnitude.
“We respect Brecksville,” he said. “There is no way they were looking ahead.”