Buchtel boys basketball coach Matt Futch went into Friday’s game at East wanting to see his Griffins play with more focus and more effort.
In 32 minutes of action, both goals were accomplished. Buchtel earned an 85-66 victory with freshman Chris Livingston, sophomore Ronnell Perie II and senior Jonathan King leading the charge before a sellout crowd of approximately 750.
“We have been preparing and we have been working hard,” Futch said. “Our guys were a little bit more focused today than they were last week [in a loss against Shaker Heights]. I am really proud of them, but we have to get better in some areas as far as having some discipline in certain points of the game.
“I thought tonight we really played for each other as a team, and that is what we are all about.”
Livingston, a 6-foot-5 guard, scored 29 points for Buchtel (1-1, 1-0 City Series). He also had nine rebounds, three steals and three assists.
“We stayed pretty focused and we played hard,” said Livingston, who had three dunks Friday. “We moved the ball, we played together and we had a lot of assists. Everybody got involved in the game and everybody did well.”
Senior Derveonte’ Russell led East (0-1, 0-1) with 16 points, six steals and four rebounds. The 6-3 forward also threw down four dunks.
Perie made six 3-pointers and had 24 points and four assists; and King contributed 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
“We played hard, stayed disciplined on defense, got out on the fast-break, shared the ball and hit shots,” Perie said.
Perie and sophomore Noah Peeples (eight points, nine rebounds, two blocks, two assists) both returned to their home public school following a year at St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Buchtel sophomore D’Lawrence Scott chipped in five points and five rebounds.
“This has been a fun process working together and making sure everybody knows the details playing up on the varsity level and getting experience,” King said. “The seniors — myself, Anthony [Hunt] and Marquest [Jacobs] — are making sure we play with effort and work hard as a team.”
Buchtel used its speed and length to lead 23-15 after one quarter, 44-30 at halftime and 66-46 through three quarters. Livingston and Perie both scored eight points in the opening eight minutes. Perie scored 10 points in the second quarter.
Juniors Deshawn Jones (14 points); Billie Johnson (12 points, 15 rebounds, three steals); Marlon Lee (11 points) and Amarian Robinson (nine points) were also active for the Dragons. Jones and Robinson both attended St. V-M the previous two years.
“I liked our athleticism and I think there were a lot of athletes on that court, but we need to execute a little bit more,” East coach Brian Dawson said. “In our first game with a big crowd like this, we didn’t hit our expectation.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com.