COPLEY: The Larnell Nealy Slam Dunk Show continued Tuesday night as the Copley boys basketball team remained undefeated.
Nealy scored 32 points, grabbed five rebounds and made five steals to lead the host Indians to a 96-65 victory over the rival Revere Minutemen.
A raucous crowd showed up to support the Indians (14-0, 8-0) and the Minutemen (6-9, 4-4) in a Suburban League American Conference game, and Nealy — who is 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds — tossed down three dunks in the second half as Copley pulled away.
“We know this is our last year, and we want to go out being the best Copley team,” said Nealy, a senior guard.
Copley coach Mark Dente said his team has improved since the beginning of the season.
“We knew we had to push the tempo, and the guys have bought into that,” Dente said. “Our goal is 25 points a quarter. Sometimes we get it and sometimes we don’t. We are constantly pushing the ball after makes and misses, and you can see the kids have bought into the high tempo.
“It plays into our size because we are not real big. We have to get up and down, and you can see how Larnell excels in this type of atmosphere.”
Copley had 10 players score, including senior Bryce Harvey, who had 18 points, and junior Austin Brenner and sophomore Brian Roberts, who each totaled 10 points.
Nealy scored 11 points in the first quarter and Harvey added seven points as the Indians led 27-16. The lead grew to 49-31 at halftime and to 73-49 after three quarters. Harvey scored 11 points in the third quarter.
“They shot the heck out of the ball,” Revere coach Dean Rahas said. “Every time it left their hands, I think it went in. They shot almost 80 percent in that first half, and we actually shot well, too. That was the ridiculous thing. We shot over 70 percent in the first half ourselves, but they out-rebounded us and we had a lot of turnovers.”
Copley, which beat host Revere 58-43 earlier this season, finished Tuesday with 27 rebounds and nine turnovers. Revere had 31 rebounds and 29 turnovers on Tuesday.
Seniors Jeffrey Thomas and Daniel Ester each scored nine points for Copley. Thomas also had five rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Junior Jacob Williams and seniors Drew Bodnar, Trey Neal and Jake White accounted for the Indians’ other eight points.
Senior Mike Hill and junior Kyle Tretter each scored 15 points to pace Revere. Minutemen sophomore Pete Nance finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds, senior Lance Milovancev scored nine points and freshman Samson Albert scored seven points.
“Pete has really improved,” Dente said of Nance. “He is going to be really tough to handle these next two years in the Suburban League. ... He is so long and agile. He doesn’t necessarily block every shot, but he alters a lot of shots. His low-post game has really improved. He is going to be a really good player.”
Copley will play at league foe Tallmadge on Friday and then host nonleague Massillon on Saturday. The Indians can secure at least a tie for a league title with a win Friday.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.