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Shaker Heights wins boys basketball showdown at Mentor

By Tim Rogers
on January 05, 2013 12:56 AM, updated August 22, 2013 5:08 PM
  • 01/04 - 7:30 PM Boys BasketballFinal
    Shaker Heights
    72
    Mentor
    66
Complete Box Score »

at Shaker Heights for the past 18 years, 15 as an assistant to the late Bob Wonson and three years as head coach.

He could not remember ever walking out of Mentor's gymnasium with a victory.

"Winning at Mentor has never been easy for us," Young said last week. "That is a tough place to play."

Mentor coach Bob Krizancic did not savor the fact that his team was playing Shaker Heights at home for the first game of their two-game set in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division.

"I am not happy about playing the first one at home because if we lose, that means we need to go to Shaker for the second game and win," he said in a pregame interview. "That's not a situation I like."

Both scenarios proved true Friday when visiting Shaker Heights protected its top ranking in The Plain Dealer Top 25 by coming from behind for a 72-66 victory.

The Raiders won the game -- and raised their record to 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the league -- with defense.

It was a defense that forced Mentor (8-2, 2-1) into an uncharacteristic 22 turnovers and gave up one basket over the final eight minutes, erasing a 17-point deficit (43-26) with 3:29 remaining in the second quarter.

Shaker closed out the second quarter with a 15-2 spurt, pulling to within 45-41 at the half. Rosel Hurley and Mel Leach had five points each and Kash Blackwell chipped in with four over the final 2:50 of the half.

Trailing by four points after three periods, the Raiders held the normally high-scoring Cardinals -- a team that has exceeded 80 points in six of their previous nine games -- to four points over the final eight minutes.

The Cardinals, ranked fourth in The Plain Dealer, missed nine of 10 shots in the quarter. Junior Caleb Potter scored the only field goal with 4:26 remaining and Brandon Fritts, still recovering from a pair of hairline fractures in his ankle, added a pair of free throws that tied the game at 66-66 with 1:07 to play.

From that point on it was all Shaker Heights. Blackwell, who led the Raiders with 25 points, scored on a move under the basket and sophomore Kaleb Roy made two free throws that gave the Raiders a two-point lead and earned Roy a huge hug from Young in the ensuing timeout.

The Cardinals turned the ball over on their next possession and Hurley, who finished with 15 points, put the finishing touches on the victory.

The victory came with a price. Outstanding freshman guard Keith Griffin suffered a cut above his right eye in the final 70 seconds and was headed to the hospital. Young said he felt stitches would be necessary.

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