By Joey Keleman
The North Olmsted Eagles were able to hold off the Amherst Comets, 53-51, Friday night at the Eagles’ Nest, to get to .500 on the season.
It was a tightly contested ball game throughout the entire night. Early on, North Olmsted (7-7; 3-4 in the Southwestern Conference) looked to control the paint, and also control the ball. However, Amherst (8-8; 1-6 in the Southwestern Conference) was able to create a few turnovers resulting in the Comets maintaining the lead for most of the game.
The Comets were not able to capitalize on the Eagle’s mistakes. Missed free-throws, splitting pairs for the Comets seemed to be the biggest mistake. In the first half, the teams were still feeling each other out with a slow tempo on both ends, as the score was back and forth.
North Olmsted sophomores Ryan Coleman and Andy Lucien both clocked in stellar nights. The two were 13 for 26 combined shooting, causing havoc in the post.
“Those are the guys that have done it all year for us…they clean up other guys messes when they take bad shots,” North Olmsted head coach Jason Frolo said. “They play tough, and they are only sophomores.”
The stories of the first half for the Eagles, were driving to the lane, forcing fouls inside and getting buckets in the lane. However, the second half, the story would change. The Eagles would drive the lane a kick it out to a shooter sitting open on the perimeter.
Amherst sat in a 2-3 zone for the duration of the game creating open 3’s in the second half. The 3-point shots came from North Olmsted juniors Matt Starcovic and Tommy Sullivan.
“(Starcovic) has more confidence in his shot than anyone, and when he is feeling it, he’s feeling it,” Frolo said.
Starcovic came out hot from the 3-point line, giving the Eagle’s the lead in the second half, complimented by 3’s by Sullivan to maintain the lead.
A lot went in the Eagle’s favor Friday, more than in past games. However, the last 15 seconds went somewhat haphazarly.
“Ten things didn’t go our way, including fouling shooters, and not getting timeouts I was calling,” Frolo explained.
A key to North Olmsted’s victory was freshman gaurd Josh Hufstetler. He played the entire game with the flu, and did way more than just score for the Eagles.
“He gets steals, assists and rebounds,” Frolo said. “He plays beyond his years for sure. He’s physically and mentally a lot more mature than his age is.”
In the last remaining seconds, Amherst was able to make the home crowd a bit uncomfortable with the scoreboard. With only 3.2 seconds remaining, Amherst was able to get off a shot from beyond half court (only being down two points), which rimmed in and out. The bucket would have sealed the game at the buzzer for the Comets.