EATON TWP — For the first time in 33 years, Brecksville is headed the Sweet 16.
The Bees beat conference rival Westlake for the third time this year Saturday, 58-53, to win the Division I district at Midview.
“Thirty-three years,” said Brecksville coach Steve Mehalik after a deep exhale. “That’s a long time. That’s why it feels so good right now.”
The top-seeded Bees withstood a great challenge from the third-seeded Demons to advance to next week’s Toledo-Akron regional against Nordonia on Wednesday night at Copley.
The score was tied seven times and the lead changed hands eight with neither team having a lead larger than six points.
“That’s a heck-of-a basketball team over there,” Mehalik said of Westlake. “They are so well-coached and so physical. We knew it would be a battle. I’m not going to lie to you — I was nervous. Three times — take your chances — we won close games against them.”
Westlake scored the first seven points of the second quarter — the final three coming off a 3-pointer by Shawn Turk — to ease out to a 20-14 lead but shortly after that, 6-foot-8 Gavin Skelly picked up his second foul and rode the bench the remainder of the half. Skelly, coming off a triple-double against Elyria in the semi-finals, was not nearly as dominating Saturday as he was against the Pioneers but his presence was felt just the same. He had three blocked shots and nine points. Turk led the Demons with 14.
With Skelly sidelined, Brecksville closed out the half on a 8-0 run for a 25-23 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, Mark Chrzanowski heated up for the Bees, scoring 13 of Brecksville’s 16 points to maintain the two-point lead. Chrzanowski and Matt Csuhran both led Brecksville with 15 points each while Tim Tupa added 13 — 11 coming in the opening quarter. Chrzanowski picked off seven rebounds for the Bees.
Westlake tied the game at 50 off a 3-pointer from Jamie Lackner with 2:21 to play but Brecksville finished the game on a 8-3 run to ice the game. Lackner scored 11 points while Bryan Mackenzie added eight points and seven rebounds before fouling out late in the game.
“Chrzanowski didn’t score in the first half and things are looking pretty good,” said Westlake coach Shawn Hood. “A player of his magnitude doesn’t score but then he had a great third quarter — 13 points — really gave them some life and some energy.
“We answered virtually every call. We just fell short at the end”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brecksville 58, Westlake 53
WESTLAKE (53): Bryan Mackenzie 4-0-8, Shawn Turk 5-1-14, Danny Strodtbeck 2-2-8, Gavin Skelly 3-3-9, Jamie Lackner 3-4-11, Makis Beach 1-0-3, Brian Guzik 0-0-0, Connor Meek 0-0-0. Totals 18-10-53.
BRECKSVILLE (55): Paul Karthan 1-0-3, Tom Tupa 0-0-0, Mark Chrzanowski 6-1-15, Matt Csuhran 5-3-15, Tim Tupa 4-2-13, Mike Tyler 0-0-0, Jon Balhorn 1-2-4, Tyler Tupa 3-0-8. Totals 20-8-58.
Westlake 13 10 16 14 — 53
Brecksville 14 11 16 17 — 58
Three-point goals: Westlake 7-21 (Turk 3, Strodtbeck 2, Lackner, Beach), Brecksville 10-24 (Tim Tupa 3, Chrzanowski 2, Csuhran 2, Tyler Tupa 2, Karthan). Field goals: Westlake 18-42 (43 percent), Brecksville 20-50 (40 percent). Free throws: Westlake 10-12 (83 percent), Brecksville 8-9 (89 percent). Rebounds: Westlake 22 (Mackenzie 6), Brecksville 21 (Chrzanowski 7). Turnovers: Westlake 10, Brecksville 8. Fouls: Westlake 13, Brecksville 11. Technical foul: Mackenzie. Fouled out: Mackenzie.