The Norton boys basketball team got reacclimated to cold temperatures and snow this week when the Panthers returned to Ohio following a championship performance in Florida.
Norton players and coaches worked on their tans with family members, and enjoyed sunshine and swimming on a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., which included three victories in the 2012 KSA events Holiday Basketball Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Senior Matt McGlone made a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining in the final game Monday to lift the Panthers (8-1) to a 36-33 win over Bay Village Bay.
“I knew it was going in for sure,” McGlone said. “It was the first 3 I have made all year. I have been getting my legs under me. When I released the ball it felt good.”
Junior Aaron Van Buskirk assisted on McGlone’s shot. Van Buskirk was named Most Valuable Player of the eight-team field after averaging 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists per game.
“The experience was really a lot of fun,” Van Buskirk said. “We came out ready to play. Coming back this year after not winning the championship last year, we knew we had to win it all. We believed in each other, bonded together and came out and won the title.”
Norton beat Foxborough High School (Ma.), Cinnamoninson (N.J) and Bay in its bracket.
“It was great for our kids,” Norton coach Rod Swartz said. “It is more than just basketball. It is also educational. They got to meet kids from different walks of life. It is a different life down here in Florida. There were boys and girls teams from all over. Our kids got to meet kids from a team from Anchorage, Alaska. I would recommend traveling with your teams if you can. A lot of kids might not get this experience. This is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.”
Seniors Tyler Sherman, Javonte Smith, Eric Lockhart and Liam Shaffer also contributed for Norton. Juniors Jay Ventura, Justin Blanks, Dakota Pratt, Nick Calhoun and Jeff Schulte also made an impact.
McGlone, who is 6-foot-4, joins 6-7 Sherman, 6-6 Van Buskirk and 6-5 Pratt to give Norton a big frontline.
“We have six different leading scorers in nine games,” Swartz said. “That says a lot about our depth. We have several kids that can step up and score a lot of points on any given night. They are not just scoring, they are defending, rebounding and passing.”
Norton hosts Crestwood at 7:30 tonight.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in a tournament like that,” Van Buskirk said. “Now, we have to focus on our upcoming opponents.”
The Green boys basketball team enters its game against host Tallmadge tonight undefeated with an 8-0 overall record. That includes a 5-0 mark in the Suburban League.
Dan Fanelly, a 6-foot-6 senior, leads the Bulldogs with averages of 17 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
Fanelly is in a starting lineup that includes 6-8 senior Josh Pritchard, junior point guard Nick Reale, sophomore guard Austin Marciniak and senior guard Eddie Janini.
“We are playing real well,” Green coach Mark Kinsley said. “We have been very balanced scoring-wise. With the size we have, we have been able to score inside and our guard play has also been really solid.”
Kinsley is also pleased with Green’s reserves: juniors Carson Corle, Dan Pollock, Landon Holl, Casey Perch, Blake Zuponcic and Griffen Pine and sophomore Kenton Keesler.
Blue Streaks on a streak
Lake boys basketball coach Tom McBride is pleased with his team’s first eight games, all wins.
The Blue Streaks (8-0, 4-0) will host Canton McKinley at 7:30 tonight with a solid starting lineup that consists of 6-foot-4 junior forward Mitchell Spotleson, 6-3 senior guard Chaese Vaudrin, 5-10 sophomore point guard Chase Champagne, 6-3 junior forward Alex Belinsky and 6-5 senior Kayden Schlabach.
“We have got greater length at each position than we have had at Lake for a while,” McBride said. “We are at least 6-3 at every position, aside from Chase Champagne, with our first six guys. We are long and can cover some ground. We have been solid defensively, and very good rebounding the ball. We have a good mix of inside-out play.”
Lake’s top reserves are 6-5 junior Caleb Peach, junior John Flower and seniors Jake McBride, Blake Sitzlar, Ken Brooks and Clay Leopold.
Falcons guards out
Firestone boys basketball coach Dave Milo said his starting five took a hit due to recent developments with two guards — senior Chaz Brantley and sophomore Reggie Rogers.
Brantley missed Wednesday’s game against host Perry due to a knee injury sustained Dec. 21. Milo said Brantley will get an MRI this week on the knee, and that Rogers is no longer with the team due to a violation of school rules.
Firestone (6-2, 5-0 City Series) defeated Buchtel to close out 2012 and then lost to Perry to open 2013. The Falcons host St. Vincent-St. Mary at 7 tonight.
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.