Demons down Eagles, raise funds for cancer research
By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Westlake boys varsity basketball team bounced back from a two-game losing streak with a resounding 68-24 victory over North Olmsted in a Southwestern Conference matchup Friday night at Westlake High School.
The Demons (6-3, 3-2 in the SWC) started the game by winning the tip-off and put the pedal to the floor, scoring the first 18 points of the game, and stretching the lead to 21-1, before North Olmsted scored its first field goal.
“I wanted to make sure that we played well and that we did not look at North Olmsted’s record (1-9, 0-5 in the SWC), so I talked to the boys before the game,” Westlake head coach Shawn Hood said. “I said that if they didn’t come out with great intensity, then I’d probably not give them a second rotation.”
The Demons gave Hood the intensity he wanted, taking leads of 24-7, 37-15 and 50-20 into the second, third and fourth quarters, respectively. With the game practically being decided in the first half, Hood started to mix it up on the floor, getting many of his bench players some quality minutes. At one point in the game, Westlake featured five “small” players on the court at the same time, with no real post player.
“We wanted to get a senior in, who had not played much, in Tyler Zack (six-feet-one-inch), so the only guy I thought I could afford to not give minutes to tonight was (six-feet-eight-inch) Brian Guzzik, who is our only real ‘size guy’ in our second unit,” Hood said. “So if I take Brian out and put Zack in, we really look small.”
Westlake junior Aaron Wargo led the Demons in scoring with 14 points, followed by senior Shawn Turk with 10 and junior Gavin Skelly with nine. The duo of Jah-Haile Tyler and Sean Needles led the Eagles in scoring, with six points each.
Friday night’s game was also the Demons’ second annual Coaches vs. Cancer game, in which proceeds from the sale of concessions, T-shirts and the 50-50 raffle were donated for cancer research; and the man in charge of bringing the event to Westlake is assistant coach Kevin Considine.
“The school I was at before Westlake – I came over with Coach Hood – we had done it there for a couple of years, and very few high schools are doing it right now, but there are a lot of colleges (participating),” Considine said. “Basically, what we are trying to do is two things: raise money and raise awareness.
“The proceeds will be split between the American Cancer Society, The V Foundation and a local organization called Kids in Flight, which takes kids with cancer – and gets pilots to donate their time – (to) take them up and fly them around Cleveland,” he added. “The whole idea is that they get a different perspective and it takes them away from their daily grind of what they are going through.”
Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that empowers coaches, their teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer. If you would like more information on the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer, getting involved, volunteering at an event or becoming a sponsor, please contact Beth Campbell at 248-663-3476 or e-mail her at beth.Campbell@cancer.org.
Westlake will visit Brecksville, while North Olmsted hosts Berea Friday night. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.