By Ryan Kaczmarski
After losing two tightly contested games to Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in the regular season, Westlake’s boys basketball team was hoping the third meeting would be the charm and give the Demons the Division I district championship.
It was not to be, as Westlake senior Shawn Turk heaved and missed on a desperation 3-pointer in an attempt to tie the game with only 23 seconds left in the game, then the Bees added two free throws to give Brecksville a 58-53 victory, and it’s first district title in 33 years.
The victory was no easy task for the Bees, as the score was back and forth all game long.
“That’s a hell of a basketball team over there,” Brecksville head coach Steve Mehalik said of the Demons. “Holy cow, they’re so good and well-coached and so physical. We knew it was going to be a battle.”
The game could not have been any closer throughout, with Brecksville holding a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter and a two-point lead at halftime and at the end of the third quarter. Westlake had a 37-35 lead with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter, but could not expand its lead and Brecksville put on the pressure.
“We answered virtually every call,” Westlake head coach Shawn Hood said. “We just fell short at the end.
“When I talked to the kids (after the game), I wasn’t going to belabor any one point. That wouldn’t make any sense. We played well enough to win, we came up short and that’s the way it goes. Brecksville’s a terrifically-coached team, with very, very good players, and so yeah, they had something to do with us coming up short, but we did everything we could do.”
The 3-point shot was raining down for both teams, as Westlake hit on seven and Brecksville hit on 10.
Turk led the Demons with 14 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes, followed by Jamie Lackner with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists. Junior star Gavin Skelly was held to nine points and three rebounds.
Brecksville’s Mark Chrzanowski and Matt Csuhran led all scoring with 15 points a piece.
“(Getting to the district finals) is great for our seniors,” Hood said. “They’ve had wonderful success. They’ve played good basketball, and have played good sports – most of them are multiple-sport athletes and they’ve had success in all the sports they played.”