NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Over a month ago, North Ridgeville went into Avon Lake’s house and defeated the Shoremen by 20 points, smiling all the way back home.
Avon Lake got the last laugh Tuesday night.
The Shoremen held the Rangers to 42 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers, leading to a 56-52 victory in Southwestern Conference play.
“We felt like we owed it to get these guys,” said Avon Lake junior Nick Marsh, who scored 12 points. “We call the second half of our season the revenge tour because the teams we lost to in the first half, we knew we should have beaten those teams. We wanted to get back at (North Ridgeville), so it feels good.”
Avon Lake (10-8, 7-7) is playing its best basketball of the season, winning five of its last six games.
“We always say, ‘If you play your best game you play all year in the first (one), you have some problems,’” Avon Lake coach Eric Smith said. “You want to try to get better and better every day. The guys are getting better and they bought in to what makes us good — is to sit down and defend in the half court and to make shots in the half court.”
Shooting wasn’t a problem for Avon Lake in the first half, but it was for North Ridgeville (10-8, 8-6). The Rangers missed layups and wide-open jump shots in making only 6 of 20 shots prior to intermission.
“I thought we looked like we didn’t want to be here,” North Ridgeville coach Bryan Morgan said. “For a team that played to impress for district seeding, I thought we came out extremely flat. A couple guys looked disinterested the entire game. I have nine seniors on the team. I don’t know how they can look at an opportunity to play another basketball game and look disinterested.”
The Rangers became interested in defending their home court in the third quarter. North Ridgeville outscored Avon Lake 20-7 while cutting the Shoremen lead to 35-34 heading to the final period.
Cole Payne scored seven of his game-high 19 points in the third.
“I don’t think we moved the ball well like we did in the first half,” Avon Lake junior Nate Sidloski said. “In the third quarter, the ball was a little stalled and it didn’t move as well like it should have been.”
Sidloski and Marsh helped the Shoremen hang on in the fourth quarter, combining for seven rebounds and playing tough defense in the post.
“Nick is a big-time player,” Smith said. “He’s a tough matchup because he can drive by you because he’s so strong and he can get to the basket.
“Nate was big for us inside as well because when you key on Marsh, Sidloski can get some open shots.”
Avon Lake 56, North Ridgeville 52
AVON LAKE (42): Nick Marsh 3-6-12, Cristian Perry 1-0-2, Tanner Russell 3-1-9, Cole Schraff 2-2-6, Nate Sidloski 6-0-13, Creed Bolognia 1-2-4, Hunter Simons 4-0-8, Nate Murtaugh 1-0-2. Totals 21-11-56.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (52): Cole Payne 5-8-19, Desean Fitzpatrick 1-1-3, Jeremy Sanchez 5-5-14, Zach Perkins 2-0-4, Mikey Richmond 0-0-0, Jason Vrba 0-2-2, Noah Bayer 3-4-10, Tyler Cadle 0-0-0. Totals 16-19-52.
Avon Lake 12 16 7 21 — 56
North Ridgeville 8 6 20 18 — 52
Three-point goals: (Avon Lake) Russell 2, Sidloski, (North Ridgeville) Payne. Field goals: Avon Lake 21-36 (58 percent), North Ridgeville 16-38 (42 percent). Free throws: Avon Lake 11-26 (42 percent), North Ridgeville 19-23 (83 percent). Rebounds: Avon Lake 24, North Ridgeville 14. Turnovers: Avon Lake 8, North Ridgeville 14. Total fouls: Avon Lake 16, North Ridgeville 18. Technical fouls: (Avon Lake) Marsh.
Junior varsity: North Ridgeville 57, Avon Lake 51