GARFIELD HEIGHTS: Buchtel senior Elijah Bell walked out of the Garfield Heights gymnasium Saturday with a trophy in hand but a loss in his mind.
He gladly would have traded the hardware for a team victory.
Bell and his Buchtel boys basketball teammates never led Cleveland Glenville in the fourth annual Cleveland Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic, but pieced together a valiant comeback attempt that came up short in a 76-73 loss.
Glenville senior Carl Dowdell converted a three-point play with a layup and free throw with 8.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring. Buchtel attempted a 3-pointer just prior to the buzzer that missed.
Bell scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the Griffins (3-2), whose largest deficit against the Tarblooders (8-1) was 52-39 with 3:17 to go in the third quarter.
Bell and Glenville senior Craig Eubanks were named the game MVPs for their teams. Eubanks finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals.
“No, not at all,” Bell said when asked if having an MVP trophy meant much to him. “I have been doing this for four years and we are not out there at times. Our star players need to play better. We need more intensity from our star players.
“We need to improve on rotating defensively and come out at the beginning of the game hyped. We also need to have more intensity in the big games.”
Buchtel’s next big game will come Tuesday against visiting Cleveland Central Catholic.
“Right now we just need that one kid we can throw the ball to and he can put the ball in the basket consistently,” Buchtel coach Stephen White said. “We are searching for that kid. If we get that kid, we will be fine. We play a tough schedule and I think we will get better as we go along.”
Glenville led 19-13 after one quarter, 36-29 at halftime and 55-45 following three quarters, but coach Michael Holt was not totally pleased.
“We came out flat,” Holt said. “I don’t think we had the intensity that I usually want. The good thing is that we persevered through the adversity. There was just about everything you could imagine in this game, and this is our third game like that. This is a good experience for our guys.”
Senior Harry Sykes totaled 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals for Glenville. He also assisted on Dowdell’s game-winning basket.
Tarblooders junior Jimond Ivey scored 12 points and had four assists, three steals and three rebounds. Dowdell scored 10 points.
“We just started out slow and then all of a sudden in the third quarter my assistants said we need to press them sooner or later, full court and all out,” White said. “I also think when we did some zone, that threw them off because they did not expect it. Then when we came after them and they got tired.”
Buchtel sophomore Deric Rucker had 14 points and six rebounds. Seniors Erron Cosey and Tyler Jones both scored nine points for the Griffins and senior Demonte Hicks added eight points.
Garfield Heights 88, Firestone 62
Senior Robert Hurst led the host Bulldogs (9-1) over the Falcons (6-4) in the nightcap with 19 points and six assists.
Junior Al Burge (18 points), junior Dave Bell (16 points) and senior Richard Parker (14 points) also reached double figures for Garfield Heights, which overwhelmed Firestone with its height and athleticism. Bell, a 6-10 center, also had 11 rebounds and five blocks.
Firestone senior forwards Kevin Gladney and Jerome Lane both scored in double figures. Gladney scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed five rebounds. Lane contributed 16 points, six rebounds, five blocks, three assists and three steals.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.