A full-fledged 3-point shootout broke out Wednesday night at the University of Akron’s Rhodes Arena.
Brecksville and Nordonia love to shoot from beyond the 3-point arc, and each side fired away in a Division I boys basketball regional semifinal.
The Bees made one more 3-pointer than the Knights and escaped with a 71-68 victory.
Nordonia held a 30-25 advantage in points in the fourth quarter, but fell short.
“It was an up-and-down game,” Nordonia coach Matt Cash said. “It was what we expected. We knew going in that they shoot the 3-ball real well. We just didn’t show up in the first half. Give Brecksville the credit. They played a great game. We didn’t show up until the fourth quarter. That is when we finally woke up and decided to play, and in a regional semifinal game, that is just too late.”
Senior guard Nick Piotrowski scored 24 points for the Knights (22-4) and senior guard Mark Chrzanowski had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Bees (23-3).
Neither was involved in the final sequence of the game. Bees freshman Tyler Tupa made two free throws with 1.9 seconds to go in the fourth quarter to give his team a 71-68 lead, which prompted Cash to call timeout.
Knights sophomore Alex Alders inbounded the ball to Chris Scott near the midcourt stripe. Scott turned and shot a 3-pointer from about 40 feet away that caromed off the rim as time expired.
“It was a flash up, catch it and look for the shot,” Scott said. “If it is not there, then pass it to the open man. I caught it, I turned around and I didn’t see anybody, so I shot it.”
Scott finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Alders also reached double figures with 11 points, and senior Eli Linder scored eight points.
The Bees led 13-11 after one quarter, 23-22 at halftime and 46-38 after three quarters. Piotrowski scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“I just kept shooting and I was open,” Piotrowski said. “[My mind-set was] any way to get our team back into the game possible, no matter if it was me or somebody else.”
The Bees made 12-of-29 3-pointers, 12-of-28 2-pointers and 11-of-15 free throws.
The Knights converted 11-of-25 3-pointers, 14-of-24 2-pointers and 7-of-11 free throws.
The Bees also received solid contributions from senior Matt Csuhran (17 points), junior Tim Tupa (11 points), freshman Tyler Tupa (10 points) and senior Tommy Tupa (nine points). The three Tupa brothers are the sons of Tom Tupa, a former star at Ohio State and a former NFL player, who spent some time with the Browns.
“What an amazing high school basketball game,” Bees coach Steve Mehalik said. “Every time I thought we were going to pull away, they hit a huge 3 or made a huge bucket. Every time where they were getting really close to the point where they might take it over, we hit a huge 3 or made a huge bucket. It was just a great high school basketball game. I am exhausted. I don’t know how the kids are.”
Nordonia held a 31-26 rebounding edge but committed 13 turnovers to four for Brecksville.
The Bees advance to a regional final at Toledo. This is their first regional appearance in 33 years. Cash said this was Nordonia’s first Division I appearance at regional. The Knights made Division II regional trips twice in the 1990s.
“We helped off [the ball defensively] too much sometimes,” Cash said. “We had the game plan. We worked on it. The kids knew they were going to shoot the 3. Really, the first three quarters we [lost focus] and started getting mixed up on our rotations and who was going to help.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. 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.