CLEVELAND — The shoe didn’t fit Cinderella’s foot Friday night.
Poor shooting and Cleveland Central Catholic’s efficient offense were too much for the ninth-seeded Wildcats, who fell 61-42 to the top-seeded Ironmen in a Division II sectional final at CCC.
Scoring was hard to come by in the first half for the Wildcats (12-12), who shot just 25 percent from the field and were held to just 13 points.
The second quarter extended the misery as Keystone didn’t score for nearly the first five minutes until Ethan Sokolowski hits a 3-pointer to cut the ironmen lead to 24-8.
Charles Knuckles’ 3-pointer with 4:49 left in the third quarter pushed the CCC lead to 16 and the Ironmen weren’t threatened from there. The Wildcats tried but could never got the lead under double digits in the second half.
“I’m sure a lot of people in the stands thought the game was over,” Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer said. “I was very, very certain we could get the deficit under 10.”
Battling down low was a struggle for the Wildcats due to the Ironmen’s size and length. Keystone found the majority of its success in the paint during the fourth quarter when forward Mason Strader scored six of his eight points.
“I think we made the extra pass more often, getting guys open for more shots,” Strader said. “We had to box out a lot better. We had to start rebounding a little more.”
“We use Mason as much as we can,” Holzhauer said. “He really helps just with his length on defense. He made a couple plays down the stretch.”
Defense was a bright spot for the Wildcats, who forced 21 turnovers. But Keystone was unable to turn the turnovers into points, looking frantic at times in transition.
“That’s the biggest team we’ve played this year,” Holzhauer said. “Their length and their ability to get up and down the court made us a little tentative.”
Next season, the Wildcats will be without senior brothers Matt and Kevin Mealwitz, who have been key contributors throughout their four years with the program.
“It’s meant a lot to be playing with my brother,” Matt Mealwitz said. “We have a good relationship on and off the court and it’s meant a lot to stick together.”
“We have so many good memories,” Holzhauer said of the brothers. “We have so many really, really fun games where those guys just made plays to win games. Outstanding kids, not only here in our basketball program but in our community. Fantastic students. Those are the kids that you want to coach.”
Contact Jacob Linkous at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCC 61, Keystone 42
KEYSTONE (42): Kollin Rodick 0-1-1, Ethan Sokolowski 5-0-12, Dillon Pinkerton 0-0-0, Mason Strader 4-0-8, Ashton Waite 1-0-3, Kevin Mealwitz 0-0-0, Matt Mealwitz 4-0-12, Dylan Naylor 0-0-0, Bryan Sayers 1-0-2, Sean Saterlee 2-0-4. Totals 17-1-42.
CLEVELAND CENTRAL CATHOLIC (61): Trevon Wells 3-5-13, Arthur Fayne 4-4-13, Rayshawn Ford 0-0-0, Taryl Davis 7-2-16, Tevin Jackson 0-3-3, Deshaun Nettles 3-1-7, Charles Knuckles 1-0-3, Terran Mack 0-0-0, Jaden Williams 2-0-6. Totals 20-15-61.
Keystone 5 8 14 15 — 42
CCC 14 16 13 18 — 61
Three-point goals: Keystone 7-25, Cleveland Central Catholic 6-13. Field goals: Keystone 17-51 (33 percent), Cleveland Central Catholic 20-41 (49 percent). Free throws: Keystone 1-8 (13 percent), Cleveland Central Catholic 15-21 (71 percent). Total fouls: Keystone 17, Cleveland Central Catholic 8. Turnovers: Keystone 15, Cleveland Central Catholic 21.