By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
PAINESVILLE TOWNSHIP —
Neither coach was particularly satisfied with his team’s performance in Tuesday night’s contest at Riverside.
But given that his team came out on the short side of an 84-72 verdict, seemingly Lakeside boys coach Mark Taylor had more reason not to be happy.
After wins against Solon and Geneva, Lakeside turned the ball over 28 times and hit just two of many tries from beyond the 3-point arc. It fell behind by as many as 18 points twice in the fourth quarter before a late rally fell short.
“Turnovers were a killer tonight,” Taylor said. “We did so good in handling the ball against Solon and Geneva. And tonight we weren’t executing. You’ve got to give ‘em credit; they played great team defense. They were the better team tonight.”
However, Riverside coach Adam May had thought his team could have performed better.
“We’ve been doing a good job defensively,” he said. “We really don’t put two things together yet. We’ve been doing really well defensively; we just never get it to click offensively. And then we did that tonight, and we forget a little bit about the defense.”
Emonte Parks put in 15 of his 28 points in the fourth period, but it wasn’t enough. The Beavers (6-4, 6-1 in the Premier Athletic Association) turned it over 25 times themselves, but shot 50.9 percent from the floor (28-of-55) and held the upper hand on the boards by a 32-24 count. Twenty-seven Lakeside fouls turned into 32 free throws, with Riverside nailing 24 oft them.
“We let Parks just go crazy,” May said. “And you could hear us screaming on the bench to try not to let him touch the ball, and he still gets 28 points. He’s a great player.
“(Getting to the line) is something that we emphasize. Thirty times is the key number. If we get to the line 30 times and still shoot the ball poorly like we normally do, we’ll still win basketball games.”
Kyle Downs (14 points) fouled out for Lakeside, and so did Parks in the waning seconds. Sayvaughn Morgan (4 assists) did not despite being whistled for four fouls in the first half.
Chandler Smith, who sat during the first quarter, led the Beavers with 20 points, 14 in the second stanza, and added eight boards. Adam Hockman, who also did not play in the first period, added 16 points and four assists. Maxx Brubaker tallied 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help hold off the Dragons (3-7, 2-4).
After the Beavers posted advantages of 63-45 and 65-47, Lakeside put up a 12-2 run to cut it to 67-59, and eventually got within 77-71 on a Parks drive with about a minute left. But Riverside sealed it by making seven-of-eight free throws.
After a sloppy first quarter which started with the Beavers going up 6-0 in the first two minutes but ended with them tenuously holding onto a 9-7 edge, they outscored the Dragons 30-24 in the second quarter. Lakeside did draw even at 15 and was trailing 24-23 before Riverside put in seven straight en route to a 39-31 halftime lead.
Traistan Bradley had 13 points and five steals for the Dragons despite exiting for a time in the second half after going down hard on the court. Marcell Ballenger led them with seven caroms.
Lakeside did shoot 45.6 percent (26-of-57) from the field and went 18-of-23 from the line, but Taylor pointed out that they are usually about 40 percent in 3-point attempts.
“It was like a lid on the basket today,” he said of his team’s 3-point shooting. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, we didn’t handle the ball well.”
Marc Wadas had nine points and game-highs in rebounds (9) and blocks (4) for Riverside.
“I thought their ballhandling was excellent and their post play was fundamentally sound,” Taylor said. “But I thought that team was just relentless. I thought they got every 50-50 ball, and for three quarters I thought we got outhustled. They just wanted it a little bit more, and they executed better and took care of the ball.
“The fourth quarter was just too little, too late. We cranked it up, played good team ball. We looked like the team we were the last two games. For whatever reason, some nights you have the energy and some nights you don’t.”
“I think we had the plan in place to win the game by more; we didn’t execute as well as we should have,” May, who related he was happy he had guys who try to do things the right way, but that he thought his team can improve as far as playing intelligently, said. “But a win’s a win; we’re moving in the right direction.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.