Donovan O'Neil scores a game-high 20 points for the Bulldogs in their 82-53 victory over the Minutemen.
NORTH CANTON Their old Suburban League league rival appeared on paper ... and on film ... to be a good pre-tournament test for the Green Bulldogs.
It did not take long for the handful of people who saw the final game of the Mercy Medical Classic to realize that the Bulldogs would pass it with flying colors.
Green built a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter and easily beat Revere 82-53 on Sunday at Hoover High School. The loss stopped a 13-game winning streak for the Minutemen (16-4), the top seed in the Division II sectional-district tournament at Stow.
"I was really proud of our kids' focus tonight," Bulldogs head coach Mark Kinsley said. "Coming in I thought we were locked in and ready to play."
The Minutemen are a team that scores points in bunches. They erupted for 100 in a game against Aurora last month. They hit at least 70 in many of their wins.
Green would have none of it. The Bulldogs set the tone defensively in the first quarter when they held Revere to just 11 points.
"Defensively our guards led by Ryan Smith do a great job of pressuring the ball," Kinsley said. "He's so good at guarding the basketball and kind of dictates the tempo for the rest of the team. When you can pressure the point guard like he can and not get beat, that really helps our defense."
Offensively, the trio of Donovan O'Neil, Garrison Keeslar and Kaleb Martin helped Green (16-4) build a 43-15 lead late in the first half. The Bulldogs scored 26 points in the second quarter alone and led 47-25 at halftime.
The 6-foot-3 O'Neil led Green with 20 points, almost double his season average.
"This was probably one of his best games of the year at both ends of the floor," Kinsley said. "... Donovan's offense has really improved this year. He gives us that scoring threat inside that we need to balance with our guard play. We keep getting that balance and it helps us win games."
Keeslar scored 17 points for Green. Martin hit three 3s, finished with 15 points and was named the Bulldogs' player of the game. In addition to his solid defense, Smith had 10 points.
The Bulldogs have won three in a row since losing at Jackson two weeks ago. They saw their final hope for a share of the Federal League title disappear Friday when the Polar Bears beat Hoover.
They are having no trouble putting that disappointment behind them.
"We're playing really well and doing a real good job of sharing the ball," Kinsley said. "We're getting multiple guys in double digits. That's big for us going forward. That's something we have to continue to do."
Chris Richardson scored 13 points to lead Revere.
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