CLEVELAND — The Open Door Patriots got to experience playing like the Cleveland Cavaliers on the Quicken Loans Arena court Wednesday afternoon. Their opponent, Cornerstone Christian, played more like the Miami Heat.
Bryan Gee led all scorers with 15 points as Cornerstone Christian used a 24-6 third quarter to pull away for a 65-35 win in a battle of the Patriots.
Open Door only scored 12 points in the second half while struggling to handle Cornerstone’s trapping, pressure defense. It didn’t help that Open Door shot just 30 percent from the field, a problem that coach Todd Wright said has plagued the team all season.
“Poor shooting has been our problem all year,” he said. “We’re getting good shots, we’re just not getting the ball in the hole. We spend the majority of our practice shooting because we know we need the work, but the bottom line is there is only so much you can do during the season to improve that. It’s something we need to work on in the offseason and I think the guys on the team understand that.”
Cornerstone (9-3) used its speed to force 32 Open Door turnovers and set up a number of fastbreak chances. Junior guard Isaiah McQueen scored 14 points and had five steals for Cornerstone but it was his dunk in the fourth quarter that got his teammates jumping up off the bench.
“I had a couple of dunks earlier in the season,” McQueen said. “I was thinking about trying one today but I wanted to be patient and wait for a good chance and it came and I went for it.
“It’s just a great privilege and a blessing to be able to play at Quicken Loans Arena. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of this.”
Cornerstone coach Dan Selle said what McQueen brings to the team can’t be measured in the box score or even by his 37-inch vertical leaping ability.
“The best thing about Isaiah is that he a leader on this team,” he said. “Everything starts with him and Bryan Gee. We really didn’t play the way we would have liked to in the first half, and the first person to speak when we came into the locker room wasn’t me, it was Isaiah. He had some fine words to share about what we needed to do in the second half. His leadership makes a huge difference for us.”
Open Door (2-6) led by a point, 15-14, after one quarter thanks to a pair of field goals from Dan Stintsman, who led the team with 12 points.
Things went from bad to worse for the Patriots in the third quarter as Cornerstone started the second half on a 12-2 run to pull away. Open Door’s only points in the first five minutes of the third quarter came when Conner Hardt drained a pair of free throws after Cornerstone was called for a delay of game technical foul.
Andrew Patterson came just shy of cracking double figures in rebounds with nine for Open Door. He also scored seven points.
Although Open Door was on the losing end, Wright still felt it was a positive experience for his team.
“This is just incredible being here,” he said. “It is something that draws us closer together as a team. We talked about that in the locker room that this is a memory they will be able to tell their grandkids about one day. We hope to be able to have this experience again in the future.”
Cornerstone Christian 65, Open Door 35
CORNERSTONE CHRISTIAN (65): Isaiah McQueen 6-2-14, RJ Spaller 4-0-11, Gregory Oliver 2-0-4, Tyler Hordinski 1-0-2, Nick Manfroni 1-0-3, Tyrez Shepard 2-4-8, Bryan Gee 6-2-15, Elijah Cuffee 3-0-8. Totals: 25-8-65.
OPEN DOOR (35): Dan Stintsman 5-2-12, Connor Hardt 3-2-9, Zach Thomas 1-0-2, Andrew Patterson 3-1-7, Nick Cipriano 2-0-5. Totals: 14-5-35.
Cor. Christian 14 17 24 10 — 65
Open Door 15 8 6 6 — 35
Three point goals: Cornerstone Christian 7 (Spaller 3, Cuffee 2, Manfroni, Gee); Open Door 2 (Cipriano, Hardt); Field goals: Cornerstone Christian 24-67 (36 percent); Open Door 14-46 (30 percent); Free throws: Cornerstone Christian 10-20 (50 percent); Open Door 5-8 (63 percent); Rebounds: Cornerstone Christian 42, Open Door 38; Turnovers: Cornerstone Christian 19; Open Door 32.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.