CUYAHOGA FALLS: Walsh Jesuit coach John Norris was pleased with what he saw from his team on Saturday.
East coach Joe Wojcik did not share the same feelings and understandably so.
Outmanned after losing three significant players to discipline issues this week, East caught the host Warriors on a good night that translated into a bad night for the Dragons. East lost 62-42 in a game that was all but over by halftime.
“That was the best game we’ve played on both ends of the floor to date,” said Norris, whose team improved to 4-2 with the nonleague win. “We’ve been waiting for that to happen. There have been nights when we played well defensively, but struggled on offense. And there have been games when we played well on offense but not so well on defense. Tonight we put it together at both ends against a dangerous East team.”
The discipline issues put additional pressure on East’s two best players, seniors Derik Lewis and Kenyon Philpott. The two combined to score 20 of East’s points but were unable to withstand the Warriors’ best game of the season.
“We played a good first quarter and then Walsh came out and hit like four or five buckets in a row, and we just went into a shell,” said Wojcik, in his first season at East after several years at Firestone. “The kids have played hard all season, but tonight I told them that this was the first time they had quit on me.”
Walsh had a 20-16 lead in the opening minute of the second quarter, when 6-foot-4 sophomore Mitch Peterson ignited a storm in which the Warriors scored 21 consecutive points to build a 40-16 lead.
The Dragons (1-3) were held scoreless until Lewis scored with 44.6 seconds remaining and Philpott followed with another basket just before the buzzer.
Peterson scored seven of those 21 points and finished with a game-high 18. Senior Max Siwik scored nine of Walsh Jesuit’s first 20 points and finished with 11 as Norris emptied the bench for the fourth quarter. Guard Gaven Cona scored nine points and sophomore Joe Iacobacci, senior Jeff Bachmann and junior Chris Kazimir each had five to account for the bulk of the Warriors’ offense.
Lewis, regarded as one of the best players in the City Series, tried to inject some spark into the Dragons’ offense when he opened the third quarter with a 3-point shot, but Peterson retaliated by scoring five straight points to stifle any comeback attempt.
The Warriors were on fire from the floor in the first half, making 15-of=26 field-goal attempts while the Dragons went 6-of-16.