The Cuyahoga Falls boys basketball team is on the roll that coach Rob Slone has been envisioning.
Slone starts four seniors and one junior on a nightly basis and is happy with the past three results, wins over Tallmadge (71-60), Solon (55-52) and Cleveland Benedictine (84-63).
One constant in the victories has been the play of 6-foot-6 senior forward-center Angelo Cugini, who has been a presence on both ends of the court for the Black Tigers, who are 6-2 overall and 3-0 Northeast Ohio Conference River Division.
Cugini scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Tallmadge and then had two more memorable games. He had 27 points, including the winning basket and free throw with six seconds remaining, and 11 rebounds Friday against Solon. He then totaled 32 points and 10 rebounds Saturday versus Cleveland Benedictine.
Cugini is not the only bright spot in the Cuyahoga Falls starting lineup, which also includes 6-2 senior guard Jay Slone, 6-0 senior guard Josh Ricker, 5-11 senior guard Simon Moskowitz and 6-2 junior forward Tyler Adams.
Adams made the pass to Cugini that led to the game-winning points against Solon.
“Every game we get a little bit better,” Rob Slone said. “Saturday, I felt like everything came together [against Benedictine]. We shared the ball very well and the kids played very well. The lead got out to 36 points at one point and I started pulling kids and letting other guys play.”
Falls’ top reserves are senior point guard Michael Kaser, junior guard Nick Winar, junior forward Allen Gera, senior guard John Brooks and junior guard Cameron Thomas.
Cuyahoga Falls is scheduled to play at Hudson (5-3, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Rob Slone said Cugini’s season high is 34 points in a 68-60 win over Twinsburg.
Cuyahoga Falls’ losses this season were against Norton (77-74 in the season opener) and Hilliard Darby (39-37 at the Hoops With a Heart Classic at Walsh University). Cugini missed the Darby game with a sinus infection and the Black Tigers lost on a shot at the buzzer.
Cuyahoga Falls also has a 40-36 win over visiting Stow on Dec. 6 on its resume. Falls will play at Stow (8-2, 2-1) on Jan. 24.
“From the time they have been in the fifth grade, they have been successful and won championships,” Rob Slone said regarding some of his seniors. “They won the league championship when they were in seventh and eighth grades. … There has been pressure on them to turn Cuyahoga Falls basketball around. Last year we went 14-10 and people in the community were happy. Even in the 10 losses we were competitive, but the kids wanted more. They want to win.”
Slone also credited last year’s seniors for their leadership and setting the tone for this year.
Unbeaten Irish girls
The St. Vincent-St. Mary girls basketball team features an all-senior starting lineup and a 10-0 record.
Jordan Korinek, a 6-foot-2 Kent State University recruit, leads the Fighting Irish in points (17.0) and rebounds (10.0). The other starters are 5-11 forward Alexis Taylor (5.0 points, 5.0 rebounds), 5-8 guard Shannon Jack (13.5 points, 2.5 assists), 5-6 guard Kiley May (11 points, 3.6 assists) and 5-8 guard Cassie Jakubick (4.2 assists, 2.1 steals).
“We have different players that all play their roles and do a tremendous job together,” St. V-M coach Joe Jakubick said. “We have good players in our starting lineup and we have players off our bench who are capable players that come in and do a job. To date, I feel like we have tremendous team chemistry. It is not about any player’s points per game or minutes per game.”
Taylor has committed to play in college at Findlay, Jack at Slippery Rock and May at Tiffin.
Cassie Jakubick is considering her college options as she returns to action this season following a knee injury that kept her out last season. Her father, Joe, was a standout basketball player at the University of Akron.
“Having Cassie back makes us a totally different team,” Joe Jakubick said. “It puts everybody in better position to score.”
Sophomores Amelia Motz (5-10), Jane Uecker (6-2) and Lexie Handley (6-0) are the top reserves for the Irish.
St. V-M will host Kenmore (7-4) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
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.