Meadowbrook cruises by Harrison in 4A
BYESVILLE – Seeking a fifth consecutive Wheeling Hospital OVAC Boys Basketball Championship 4A title, top-seeded Meadowbrook High took step one on Tuesday evening with a convincing 70-43 semi-final victory over visiting No. 4 seed Harrison Central.
With the lopsided win, the Colts improve to a sparkling 16-3 record and will now battle East Liverpool on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Ohio University-Eastern to attempt to secure their fifth straight 4A championship.
In the night’s other OVAC semi-final match-up, East Liverpool routed Martins Ferry, 81-41 to clinch their spot in the championship game.
“We put ourselves in position to win a fifth straight title against a good East Liverpool team,” Meadowbrook head coach Lou ‘Scooter’ Tolzda explained. “They have a lot of great athletes, and it’s at a tough time with being 10 in the morning. So that will be a challenge for both teams.”
“We’re excited to get the opportunity to go down and try and defend our title again,” Tolzda added. “It will be a challenge for us and we will need to work hard for the next few days to get ready for it.”
In the early going, led by high-scoring junior Kobe Mitchell, the visiting Huskies stayed within striking distance in the opening quarter. Mitchell pumped in eight points in the quarter to to try to offset Meadowbrook senior Jonathan McCall’s nine point frame, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“We knew (Kobe) Mitchell is a really talented player…he’s averaging over 30 points a game and that’s not easy to do,” Tolzda offered. “We kind of guarded him by committee and feel like we were able to frustrate him some. Plus we were able to lock down on their other guys and keep them from hurting us.”
But McCall received a little more help from his ‘friends’ with senior Zach Rusnak knocking down a pair of triples for six points, and junior Davis Singleton scoring four to give the Colts a 19-11 lead heading to the second period.
In the second stanza, the Colts seemed to pick up the pace and quickly reeled off a quick 6-0 run, capped by a two-handed dunk from senior Addy Black for a 25-11 lead at the 7:20 mark.
Meadowbrook would then take control of the contest for good, outscoring Harrison Central 21-9 in the quarter to extend the lead out to 40-20 at the halftime break with Rusnak’s third 3-pointer of the half ending first half play.
McCall finished with six points to run his first half total to 15, while Black and Davis Singleton each contributed four markers for the Colts.
Defensively, Meadowbrook was able to slow down the high-scoring Mitchell, limiting him to just four points in the quarter.
“They are just a good team…they can make you look bad at times,” Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford stated. “Give them all the credit tonight, I was just a little disappointed with the way we competed. We were OK early with our effort, but then when one or two things went wrong we seemed to kind of feel sorry for ourselves instead of battling.”
Black led the Colts out to a 15-10 third quarter scoring edge with six points, including his second ‘flush’ of the night. Sophomore Jake Singleton also tallied six points to give Meadowbrook a comfortable 55-30 edge after three quarters of play.
Mitchell picked up his scoring pace in the third frame with nine points for the Huskies.
Meadowbrook was able to maintain the upper hand in the final period, finishing with a slight 15-13 points advantage with both coaches getting reserves some playing time to close out the contest.
Meadowbrook placed four players in double figures led by McCall with his 15 points all in the first half, Black who led the Colts off the glass with 10 rebounds and Jake Singleton each finished with 13 points and Davis Singleton added 10. Rusnak just missed double figures with nine on his trio of 3-pointers.
Mitchell took game-high scoring honors with 30 points for Harrison Central (10-8), with Cale McAffee chipping in with five.