Did you hear?!?
by Katie Brinager, Staff Writer
It’s been a dream season for the West Geauga Boy’s Basketball Team.
For the first time in 19 years, West Geauga advanced to the final eight of the
state tournament, with a CVC title to boot.
The West Geauga basketball squad hit its stride in the playoffs. “Everything was clicking. We were more patient than we were during the regular season,” commented guard Pat McDonald.
West Geauga next faced Liberty in the regional semi-final at the Canton Civic Center. The circular Civic Center arena was a much larger venue than anything the team was used to. “It was exciting as we walked in there. We’ve never played in anything like that before,” said Lubelski.
The Wolverines rose to the occasion, solidly defeating Liberty by a score of 66-55. The Wolverines took a big lead in the second quarter and never looked back. Guard Pat McDonald said, “It was the best game we’ve played collectively as a team. It takes a team effort to beat a bunch of athletes like they were.” Once again West Geauga had to slow down the pace of the game to contain Liberty’s talented scorers. Their defensive effort was particularly effective in breaking down Liberty’s offense. According to Lubelski, in the second half Liberty could only rely on athletic drives to the basket.
However, West Geauga faced a much tougher Canal Fulton Northwest in the Regional Final. The Indians defeated West Geauga by a final score of 52-42. Canal Fulton held the Wolverine offense in check with its tough 2-3 zone defense. “It was the best defense we played against all year,” said Lubelski.
Despite narrowly missing out on the state final four, the boy’s basketball squad is more than pleased with their season. After an embarrassing, early season loss to Perry, a team meeting helped turn the course of the season around. The team set ambitious goals, like winning twenty games, capturing the CVC title, and advancing to regionals. Apparently the new approach worked, as the Wolverines eventually accomplished all three goals. “We came together as a team at that point,” said Lubelski.
Instead of relying on a star player for offense, the Wolverines focused on ball movement and unselfish passing. West Geauga hoped for low scoring games, where their tenacious defense and turnover-free execution would deliver them victory.
Junior Mike Reinhard surprised everyone with his outstanding defense down the stretch. “The way he shuts down people is just incredible,” said Lubelski.