- North Olmsted’s Marc Remy, left, drives around Olmsted Falls’ Sam Lombardo on Friday night. (West Life photo by Amy Rutledge)
By Amy Rutledge
“We have a really good relationship so there’s a little more into it,” Smith said. “He’s a great guy and his kids are coached really well.”“I’m excited for our kids,” said Bulldogs head coach Chris DeLisio. “They’ve been working really hard. They had a lot of close losses. I’m happy they get rewarded for their hard work.”
The Eagles (6-5, 4-5 in the Southwestern Conference) and Bulldogs (2-9, 2-7 in the SWC) were neck and neck throughout the first two quarters, but a 3-pointer by sophomore guard James Sabatka at the end of the second gave Olmsted Falls a seven-point lead and the momentum going into the second half.
“Our game plan was to come out and put a lot of pressure on them,” DeLisio said. “We wanted to speed the game up. They are a lot bigger than us, so we wanted to get the game going up and down fast. Marc (Remy, North Olmsted senior guard) is an outstanding point guard, and we had our hands full with him. We tried to make sure we were aware of where he was.”
North Olmsted head coach Joe Smith said the speed and the intensity of the game had a great impact his team’s play.
“Olmsted Falls played extremely well,” he said. “I thought they played hard, and defensively, they were way more into it than we were. They forced us into a ton of turnovers.
“I think we got frustrated,” he added. “We wanted to get the ball inside and they took us over and made us play a little faster than we wanted to play. Marc is a terrific player. He got a little frustrated and they took him out of what he wanted to do tonight.”
Adam Asadorian put up a pair of threes followed by another basket in the third quarter to keep the Bulldogs ahead. With a successful foul shot and 30 seconds left, Sabatka was able to make a steal and put up two more points for the Bulldogs, extending their lead over the Eagles to 10.
“We got it to four and then they stretched it to 10 and we never recovered,” Smith said. “We had a little bit of momentum going, but free throws and turnovers killed us tonight.”
Back-to-back turnovers by the Eagles in the fourth quarter with two more to follow diminished any chance the Eagles had of winning. For the Bulldogs, Sabatka again was able to take advantage and add four more points.
“I think more mentally we got frustrated,” Smith stated. “Every time we tried to cut into their lead they pushed right back.”
“James is a good anticipator,” DeLisio said. “He knows how to get into lanes. He really came out and played an aggressive game tonight.”
It was a high-scoring night for the Bulldogs, with many players putting up double digits. “We had a lot of kids who contributed. That’s what we need,” DeLisio said. Leading the Bulldogs to victory were Sabatka with 16 points, Jared Kurz with 14 points and Steve Johnson with 12 points. Kenny Hanna had 11 points while Eric Meehan had four points, Billy Calabrase had three and Sam Lombardo had two.
Asadorian, a sophomore and second-year varsity player who had 11 points, is shaping up to be a standout player for the Bulldogs.
“He played a lot for us last year as a freshman,” DeLisio said. “He’s a kid that is really coming along every day. His game is really improving. He’s really doing some nice things for us, and that showed tonight.
“We’re improving,” he added. “We are happy with our progress. In the second half of the season we are hoping some of those close losses turn around.”
For the Eagles, post players Darvin Freeman and William Lucien led with 18 and 16 points respectively. Remy added seven points, while Khaled Oudeh and Patrick Moran added four each and Patrick Needles, Sean Needles and Brandon Avalos put up two each.
“They (Freeman and Lucien) are great players,” Smith said. “Darvin, if he’s not the best player in the league, he’s in the top three. He had a typical ‘Darvin’ game tonight. To our advantage we have the size.
“We have eight seniors. It’s not where we want to be right now, but we can still make this a successful season and come together as a team more.”
The rivalry between Olmsted Falls and North Olmsted extends far beyond the players. DeLisio and Smith played as rivals for their respective schools and were teammates on a summer baseball team.