CUYAHOGA FALLS: After a lethargic first quarter, Woodridge coach Ric Blevins knew his Bulldogs just needed to loosen up in their 68-51 victory over Revere in a Division II Stow District Tournament opener Tuesday.
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs (19-4) led the 10th-seeded Minutemen 7-4 after the end of a ragged first quarter.
By the end of the game, the Bulldogs had three scorers amass at least 13 points and hit seven 3-pointers as a team, only one of which came in that troublesome first quarter.
“Like I told the kids, this is probably my 33rd state tournament in a row, and there is no getting used to going out on the floor for the first time in the playoffs,” Blevins said. “Kids are nervous, kids are tight. After awhile, that kind of wore off and our kids just started playing basketball again. We were able to get a couple baskets in transition, [and] that usually loosens my kids right up.”
After an exchange of fastbreak points to start the second quarter, sophomore guard Mason Lydic recorded five unanswered points off Revere turnovers to lift the Bulldogs to an 18-9 lead, their first comfortable cushion of the game. Lydic registered seven of the Bulldogs’ 20 points in the period, and Bulldogs senior guard Keaon Potts buried a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs ahead by double-digit points for the first time.
Five different Bulldogs scored in that second quarter, and seven scored by game’s end.
“We’ve done it by committee all year,” Blevins said. “It’s never the same guys. We’ve got four or five good offensive weapons. I think the key to our success so far is that our kids share the basketball. They like to play with each other, and when you do that, you get the opportunity to find the hot hand and ride it until it’s not hot anymore.”
The Bulldogs sealed the win in the third and fourth quarters, outscoring the Minutemen 41-34. Potts hit on two 3-pointers and scored nine points in the fourth quarter, highlighting the Bulldogs’ 27-point quarter.
Potts and junior guard Preston Clark, who each tied for a team-high 15 points, combined for 21 points in the second half. Clark also led the Bulldogs in rebounds with five.
Although the Minutemen (9-14) were doing their damage — senior forward Mike Hill scored a game-high 16 points, 10 in the second half — the Bulldogs were simply scoring more. Sophomore forward Pete Nance, the son of former Cavaliers star Larry Nance, added 13 points for Revere.
The Bulldogs advance to play at No. 1 Cleveland Benedictine on Friday. The Minutemen lost 63-60 to Benedictine in January.
“My kids are so happy right now to have two more days of practice and the opportunity to play again,” Blevins said. “I’m not 100 percent sure what we’re walking into. My kids will be prepared Friday night. My kids have worked very hard to get where we’re at, and that’s not lost on me or my staff.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to prepare them to play the best basketball game they can Friday.”