TWINSBURG — His team lost four of its first give games, including two in a row on its home floor.

But don’t expect Stow boys basketball coach Dave Close to seek therapy. And he certainly doesn’t think his players need any sort of remedy either.

“When it comes to us losing a few games early, if you’re listing your top worst 1,000 things in your life, that’s going to be in the bottom 100,” Close said.

Life has gone on for the longtime coach’s developing Bulldogs. Their new appreciation for life certainly got a major boost Friday night when visiting Stow got back in the Suburban League National Conference race with a 54-42 victory over previously unbeaten Twinsburg.

The Bulldogs (2-4, 2-2) led much of the way and used their defense to stifle the high-octane offense of the Tigers (5-1, 3-1), who now must learn how to bounce back after getting their first loss.

"That's OK,” Twinsburg coach Phil Schmook said. “I'll take my guys right now where we're at. I'll put us against any team in the league."

Schmook and his players prepared all week for it. Nonetheless, the Tigers found themselves scrambling recklessly against the Bulldogs’ rare but highly effective 2-3 zone, which forced them to launch 3-pointer after 3-pointer — and only 4-of-19 found the mark.

Twinsburg’s cause wasn’t helped by the presence of Stow’s 6-foot-10 skyscraper, Evan Bainbridge. The Kent State University recruit made the Tigers adjust whenever they traveled in his direction.

“We’ve used that quite a lot this year,” Close said of Stow's 2-3 zone. “They made some adjustments and our kids made adjustments to their adjustments very nicely. Evan is a factor. We kind of spread out in that thing a little bit and have a 6-10 kid in the back allows you to do that.”

Schmook lamented his team's off-night shooting the ball.

"No. 1, we didn't shoot the basketball the way we normally do," he said. "No. 2, we struggled with the big kid. When we went inside, we had baskets we're normally getting that he blocked. No. 3, for whatever reason, we were a step behind all the time."

The Bulldogs put the game away with a 10-1 run that stretched their lead to 47-32. Even with some careless turnovers and shaky free-throw shooting down the stretch, that lead was too much for the Tigers to overcome.

Bainbridge, despite some early shooting issues, finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, and his presence on the floor allowed his teammates to thrive in their roles when the ball touched their hands. That was particularly the case for 6-4 senior forward Brian Cartwright, who had a game-high 18 points, mainly on ruthless attacks of the basket.

“He’s very explosive,” Close said of Cartwright. “He gets to the rim in a hurry.”

Senior forward Ralph Campbell, who injured his ankle late in the game, led the Tigers with 11 points.