ELYRIA — Open Door had the matchup with Division I Massillon Washington circled on the calendar for months.
The Patriots, a Division IV team, knew it would be one of their biggest tests of the season.
They passed with flying colors Thursday, posting a convincing 73-53 win over the Tigers to extend their winning streak to nine games.
“At the beginning of the season, we circled a few games that were big so we can prove ourselves,” Jared Bublinec said. “We really don’t have a chance to play those teams to prove ourselves.”
Open Door coach Todd Wright used the “big school vs. small school” challenge as motivation for his team.
“I asked the guys before the game, ‘Why would I schedule this game?’” he said. “It doesn’t make sense on paper. They aren’t in our district.
“They had the right answer. We wanted to be tested by the best teams we can find, and we can play. I owe it to them for use as a measuring stick.”
Open Door (10-2) used its defense to bother the shooters for Massillon (5-7). The Patriots held the Tigers to 29.4 percent (15-of-51) from the floor.
“I’m mostly impressed and happy with how we came out on defense tonight,” Wright said. “Our defense is going to get us where we want to go. We know we can score some points and guys can fill it up, but we have to be able to stop people.”
The Patriots dominated the first half and controlled the tempo to lead 38-20 at halftime. Trey Brooks scored eight of his 17 points in the first half, and Miles Hunt added six of his 10.
“I think we played well tonight — team basketball,” Brooks said. “We moved the ball well together and it’s not a one-man show. We all can score. Listen to what Coach says and we’ll be a good team.”
Open Door continued to dominate Massillon right out of halftime as Bublinec made three straight 3-pointers to start the third quarter. Bublinec scored a game-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers.
“Our defense leads to our offense and we love to get out in transition,” Wright said. “That’s what these guys are comfortable doing. I trust them once we get out in transition and we were able to get run-outs and have guys open for shots.”
Massillon first-year coach Josh Hose realized his team would be in for a fight, despite the schools’ size discrepancy.
“We knew coming in tonight that this is a good team,” Hose said. “They beat us to loose balls, they dictated the flow of the game. We got down early in the first quarter and I think we panicked a little bit.”
Open Door 73, Massillon 53
MASSILLON (53): Kyshad Mack 0-0-0, Jace Edwards 0-0-0, Anthony Pedro 2-0-4, Jaden Stock 4-6-14, Brett Martin 6-3-15, Isaiah Roberson 2-4-8, Jaiden Wise 0-0-0, Darien Williams 1-1-3, Nick Leibler 0-0-0, Luke Sabo 0-2-2. Totals 15-16-53.
OPEN DOOR (73): Josh Zaborowski 0-0-0, Mark Yakobchuk 2-0-4, Tylan Neadham 0-0-0, Trey Brooks 6-2-17, Caleb Daniel 0-0-0, Miles Hunt 4-2-10, Carter Wright 3-5-11, Mason Wiley 1-2-4, Jared Bublinec 6-3-19, Gavin Dobbins 3-0-8. Totals 25-14-73.
Massillon 8 12 18 15 — 53
Open Door 18 20 17 18 — 73
Three-point goals:(Open Door) Brooks 3, Bublinec 4, Dobbins 2. Field goals: Massillon 15-51 (30 percent), Open Door 25-48 (52 percent). Free throws: Massillon 16-26 (62 percent), Open Door 14-17 (82 percent). Rebounds: Massillon 30, Open Door 21. Turnovers: Massillon 15, Open Door 7. Total fouls: Massillon 18, Wellington 23. Junior varsity: Massillon 80, Open Door 25.