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Tigers beat Knights in overtime

By STEVE BATKO Correspondent Published: January 18, 2017 12:00 AM
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A big overtime session keyed a win for the youthful Twinsburg boys basketball team as the Tigers tackled one big coaching point.

Twinsburg won 56-49 at Nordonia in overtime in a league game in Macedonia Jan. 13.

A huge point came when the Tigers started draining free throws after a dismal fourth quarter showing to allow Nordonia back into the game.

At one point after successive 3-point bombs put Twinsburg up by six in the fourth period, the Tigers had missed nine straight free throw shots.

In the overtime period, Twinsburg was a sizzling 10-of-11 at the charity stripe to seal the victory.

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The win raised the Tigers mark in the National Conference of the Suburban League to 1-5 with their first victory and the locals are 2-8 overall, prior to the Jan. 17 game at Barberton.

"It was a big win," said head coach Phil Schmook. "We started making free throws."

"We were up five (with 3:00 left in the fourth quarter) and we missed nine straight free throws, but the positive thing is that we were still able to get to overtime, which is a credit to the kids and our defense."

Early on, the Tigers had struggles on offense as Nordonia held Twinsburg to just two points on 1-14 shooting from the field in the first period, but the Tigers then outscored the Knights 17-9 in the second stanza to take a 19-18 lead at the half.

Tied 40-40 at the end of regulation. Twinsburg exploded for 16 points in the overtime session to secure the win.

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"We are getting better with every single game," Schmook emphasized.

"From watching tape, you can see the striking difference in how we have improved in all areas and mainly, the little things in basketball," he added. "It is showing."

Senior wing Mike Cusma was superb with 21 points to lead the Tigers

Michael Moore also shined as the senior wing poured in 17 points as he created scoring lanes off of the dribble as the Tigers effectively spread the floor. Moore hit six shots at the free throw line while Cusma had five.

"Cusma was outstanding and nice playmaking by our guards got him the ball in a position to score," noted Schmook.

"Moore was tremendous off of the dribble in the final 5:00 and in overtime."

First-year sophomore forward Ralph Campbell also came up big hitting three free throws and netting a career high five points.

"He (Campbell) gives us some size and energy," said Schmook, who also had plenty of praise for senior Vince Paolucci.

Paolucci, a 6-foot guard who can also play on the wing, has started playing more in the post and is battling against the taller trees.

"Vince has shown a lot of leadership and has taking ownership of what the coaches want him to do," pointed out the mentor. "Paolucci has gone to the post and he battles guys much bigger than us.

Schmook praised Paolucci for battling Nordonia's 6-foot-6 post, Ryan Smith. Smith was limited to 14 points.

Freshman guard Josh Wanton played well with four points while junior guard Chris Fox had four points. Ryan Felberg added a 3-pointer and Kenny McElrath added a hoop as well.

"Josh did a really nice job for us," said Schmook.

Nordonia (4-9, 0-5) was paced by guard Julius Jones, who dropped in 20 points.

In upcoming action, Twinsburg hosts for straight games -- Jan. 20 against Cuyahoga Falls in league play, Jan. 24 against Copley, Jan. 27 against North Royalton in league action, and plays a league tilt Jan. 31 against Brecksville.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC


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