By Pete Chiodo
Maplewood’s Dane Barker drained a floater to start the second quarter against Conneaut, pulling his Tigers within three points of the Eagles at 18-15.
However, that would be the last that ’Wood would see of the scoreboard until halfway through the third period.
Conneaut would go on to score 24 unanswered points to take a 42-18 lead with four minutes left in the third. And the Eagles would hang on during a run-and-gun fourth period to claim a 66-52 victory over Maplewood during the consolation game of the CASH Boosters Holiday Hoops Tournament on Saturday.
“It kind of got away from us there towards the end,” said Conneaut head coach Bob Leupold, whose Eagles improved to 2-7 with the win. “But we played a lot better then we have been. We cut down on the turnovers ... Baby steps. By the end of the year we could be a pretty solid team.”
Maplewood, meanwhile, fell to 1-8 on the year.
“Again, turnovers,” said Tigers head coach Scott Palotas. “We had 26 on my score sheet. That seems to be the story. We played well in the second half. We had great effort, great intensity. But that second quarter, I just want to erase it from my memory.”
The first quarter was fairly tight. Maplewood was able to spread out some points throughout its lineup. Conneaut, on the other hand, got a big period out of freshman Tom Detelich, who scored seven points. And Taylor Williams started to heat up from downtown, bagging two treys to put the Eagles in front 18-13.
Barker then made his bucket to start the second. Then Conneaut put the hammer down.
The Eagles went to a full-court press. Maplewood couldn’t handle it, committing seven turnovers in the second.
“We practiced (against the press) all day (on Friday),” said Palotas. “And we handled it fine (on Friday). It’s those types of things that you go over again and again, but when push comes to shove we can’t execute.”
Conneaut turned those extra possessions into points. Williams went full inferno in the second, knocking down three more treys to finish the half with 15 markers. Detelich added four more points to go into the break with 11.
Conneaut was on top 34-15 at the half.
Then to start the third, Hunter Merritt dropped in back-to-back 3-pointers. Then Danny Holcomb got a steal at the point and brought it back for a layin. Conneaut now led 42-15.
Maplewood’s Justin Dahl finally stanched the bleeding when he hit a 3-pointer with 4:00 remaining in the third.
After that, Conneaut let off the gas a little bit. And Maplewood was able to knock away some of that lead. The Tigers, in fact, scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to bring the game back to a reasonable 14-point margin.
Barker ended up leading Maplewood with 13 points to make the all-tournament team. Dustin Delo followed with a dozen. Miller Peters chipped in nine points and nine rebounds.
For Conneaut, Williams’ 15 points led the way. He made the all-tournament team. Detelich followed with 13 points. Merritt had 10.
“Williams shot the ball well,” said Leupold. “We shared the ball well. We limited turnovers. We played like a much better team than we have been playing.”
Notes: North East won the tournament championship with a 51-43 victory over Reynolds. The MVP for the tournament was North East’s Brendon Tinko. His teammate, Mike Macaulay, was an all-tournament selection. Reynolds was represented by Corey Woods and Garhett Frable.