STOW: Junior Evan Bainbridge and senior Mason McMurray stand 6-foot-9 and 6-8, respectively for the Stow basketball team.

In a key Suburban League National Conference game Friday against Wadsworth, the two Bulldogs might as well have been as tall as the ceiling in their home gym.

They keyed a 74-59 win over the Grizzlies with games for the ages.

The win moved Stow (13-1, 7-1) into first by a half game, thanks to Twinsburg’s 68-45 loss to North Royalton, and Bainbridge and McMurray gave Wadsworth (6-7, 4-4) headaches throughout the game.

Bainbridge led the way with 30 points thanks to a 10-for-13 performance from the floor, and Ohio University recruit McMurray had 19 on a 5-for-14 evening.

“It’s unique to have one kid like that with that kind of length,” Stow coach Dave Close said. “Both of them can shoot it. Both of them can put it on the floor. Both of them have good vision. Both of them rebound.

“It’s a luxury we have. We try to exploit it. Today, they were kind of perimeter guys, but we can pound them inside. It’s nice to have that flexibility.”

The two combined for 30 points from behind the 3-point arc and headlined an incredible group that shot 11-of-27 on 3-pointers.

“I thought we came out with a lot of energy,” Close said. “We shot quick, but were unselfish. We found the open guy. We moved the ball, we put the ball on the floor and got to the rim aggressively and we were energized on defense.”

With a gigantic game against Twinsburg (11-3, 7-2) in six days and the Grizzlies potentially giving Stow a problem, the Bulldogs wanted to come out early and set the tone.

They certainly did that, shooting 16-for-26 in the first half and 9-for-15 on 3-pointers. On the flip side, Wadsworth shot 6-for-25 in the first half and trailed 47-16 at the break.

“Tonight, one of our big focuses was the fact we had a real close game with them the first time [a 57-51 win on Dec. 15],” Bainbridge said. “This time we wanted to come out and show them that we’re the top team and they really can’t hold us. We put it to them in the first half, kind of let up in the second half, but came out with a win in the end.”

As much as everyone was watching what Bainbridge and McMurray were doing on offense, the Bulldogs took advantage defensively with Wadsworth’s Tony Hewitt (14 points) out for the first half due to a technical foul earlier in the week.

Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. has a rule with technical fouls that kept Hewitt out a half and Stow certainly capitalized on it.

That said, Stow used its size on the glass, outrebounding Wadsworth 37-20 thanks to players like McMurray (14 rebounds), Bainbridge (10) and Coryon Rice (5), who made rebounding a priority.

“That was huge for us,” McMurray said. “We like to lock them down and get in their heads. Giving up second and third opportunities really deflates you on the defensive end and builds confidence on the offensive end. If we can hold them to one shot, a bad shot or a quick shot and get going, it’s all good.”

Schmeltzer took some solace in his team’s solid second half in which the Grizzlies made 14-of-27 shots.

“One of the big differences in the second half was that we took it one possession at a time,” Schmeltzer said. “We probably took more time in that second half and scored 43 points. That’s not 43 against the second group. That’s 43 against their starting group. We’ll take some lessons from that because there’s a good possibility we’ll see them again.”