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Coming off a 31-point explosion in a recent tough two-point loss to Lyndhurst Brush, no one would have blamed senior point guard Jalen Washington if he had taken the shot himself as the seconds were winding down against Olmsted Falls.
Instead, Washington penetrated and dished off on the right wing to senior guard Cooper Rea, who was open.
Rea calmly buried the three-pointer as the buzzer sounded at Olmsted Falls as Twinsburg won 71-70 in a non-league battle on Dec. 21.
"It was a terrific game and it was one where you had to play a full 32 minutes," said Tiger boys basketball coach Bob Pacsi, whose club moved to 4-2. Olmsted Falls fell to 3-3.
"Cooper [Rea] hit a big shot and it was a great feed by Jalen as Cooper was open, and we went for the win."
"Olmsted is a very good team, averaging 68.0 points a game with four starters in double figures. Mentally, we needed this win after the tough loss at Brush."
Down four with 1:20, Twinsburg calmly showed patience down the stretch in the tough road game.
Washington drove to the top of the key and was fouled; hitting two clutch free throws with 12 seconds left and the Bulldogs' up 70-68.
Pacsi put 6-foot-6 senior A.J. Edwards on the inbounds pass to limit space. Olmsted Falls sent its post player long and hit the athlete on a 70-foot baseball pass, but Twinsburg sophomore Jarette Gardenhire was under the athlete when he came down.
The Bulldog player then elected to shoot the ball when he came down from the catch in the key. The ill-advised shot missed as Gardenhire fought for the rebound.
That's when Washington found Rea for the game-winner.
Marveling over the poise for sophomore newcomers Shane Farmer and Gardenhire, Pacsi also noted that the duo had their first varsity starts in the win.
"Those two sophomores had their first start and it was big, but Jalen sees the floor better than any player I have coached," said Pacsi.
Edwards had another huge game as he had 21 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked three shots.
"A.J. has been playing so consistently, and he's doing everything out there," said his mentor. "He has a nose for the ball."
On the year, Edwards is averaging 20.0 points, 15.2 rebounds, 3.0 steals, 2.5 blocks, and 2.0 assists a game.
Washington popped in 17 points and five assists, plus he fared well against the Bulldogs' full court press.
Rea poured in 16 points and Gardenhire scored 10. Juniors Sean Marable and Tay Johnson added four and three points, respectively.
The Bulldogs were led by Alex Mitchell's 20 points, followed by 13 by Kenny Hanna, Adam Asadorian, who had 11, and 10 by Pat Hynes.
Twinsburg played a great game at Brush, except for a stretch in the second half in which the Arcs had a critical 19-2 spurt. That run enabled the Arcs to defeat the Tigers 69-67 at Brush's Welser Gym on Dec. 18.
The Arcs improved to 5-2 overall and to 2-0 in the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division. Twinsburg is 1-1.
Washington's career-high 31 points were supported by Edwards, who had 21. Johnson netted nine points despite injuring his hand.
Marable scored four points and Farmer had two.
Twinsburg plays a non-league game at Aurora on Dec. 28 and returns to NOC action on Jan. 4 against visiting Cuyahoga Falls.