The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


January 26, 2011

Fanning the flames

Lakeside-Conneaut boys clash called with 27.8 seconds left after fans go onto the floor

CONNEAUT — Having just closed to within six points of Lakeside, Conneaut’s boys basketball team had seized control of momentum and was poised to make an uphill climb toward an exciting finish.

However, no one will ever know just what would have happened. With 27.8 seconds remaining, the game was declared concluded by officials Walt Klepac, Kevin Robertson and Morris Jones after the bleachers at Garcia Gymnasium began to empty. Lakeside claimed a 78-72 victory.

After Lakeside’s Brendan Hester fouled out and was called for a technical foul as he made it to the bench, fans behind the Lakeside bench began jawing at Hester. Hester stood and turned toward the offending adult and said something. Officers from the Conneaut Police Department and the Lakeside coaching staff got tentative control of the situation.

As that was being tended to, members of the Lakeside student section began emptying the bleachers and going across the gym floor toward the Conneaut fans. Officials called the game at that point.

Neither bench made a move toward the altercation, though words were exchanged here and there.

The Conneaut Police, Lakeside principal Sylvia Atkinson, Lakeside athletic director Rob McGruder, Conneaut principal Dawn Zappitelli and Conneaut AD Joel Taylor were able to clear the gym and restore peace relatively quickly.

Lakeside coach Rob Pisano and Conneaut Tim Tallbacka sent the teams to their respective locker rooms as quickly as was possible.

“The game was played awfully dirty from the start, in my opinion,” Pisano said. “That it would carry over to the fans that had moved — they weren’t sitting there before — to behind the bench and were grown adults is disgraceful.

“The kids were emotional (because of the situation in the game) and they can be easily set off. They read that speech (about sportsmanship) before the game. That did not happen here tonight. I’m really upset with what went on here tonight.”

“It’s extremely disappointing for the game to end the way it did,” Tallbacka said. “I got no explanation from the officials, but it’s a shame for it to end the way it did.

“We were down six with 30 seconds left. It would have been a tough finish. Congratulate Rob. He has a nice team and it was a hard-fought game both ways.”

Entering the fourth quarter, Lakeside held a 63-46 lead on the heels of an 11-1 run in which Cody Blizzard, Adam Bahr and Harry Story all connected on 3-pointers.

“We started to get the ball inside a little bit and (Conneaut) started to back off, opening up the outside,” Pisano said.

“They had nine 3s on the night,” Tallbacka said. “If you told me before the game they’d have nine 3s and we’d only lose by six, I wouldn’t have believed it. We wanted to take away their penetration. They’ve got shooters all over the place.”

Lakeside held onto that 16-point advantage for the first six minutes of the final period.

With 1:51 to play, Cody Thompson jumpstarted the Conneaut comeback with a trey from the top of the key. After two missed free throws by the Dragons (9-3, 6-2 in the Premier Athletic Conference), Nick Blood scored on a feed from Christian Williams and the Spartans trailed, 76-65, with 1:23 to play.

Hester then sandwiched two free throws around one from Conneaut’s Blake Heinonen and the flurry was on with Lakeside leading, 77-65, with 53 seconds remaining.

Hester committed his fifth foul. As he was sent to the bench, he received a technical foul. Heinonen hit on one of his two free throws in the double bonus, Thompson made both of his attempts from the technical and the Spartans had the ball with 39 seconds left.

Thompson connected on a trey from the wing, right in front of the Lakeside student section and that quickly Conneaut (2-10) had trimmed its deficit to six, 78-72.

“We went to a man (defense) in the fourth quarter,” Tallbacka said. “We had to. We were down 16 or 17 going into it.

“We made shots tonight. When you make shots, the energy level is so much better. The more I watch basketball, there’s a certain synergy when you make shots that things seem to go better. We made shots tonight.”

“We were in heavy foul trouble,” Pisano said. “That’s all I’ll say. We played a lot of the second half with three and four fouls.”

As the Dragons tried to inbound the ball, the game was called.

Blizzard and Story led the Dragons with 22 and 21 points, respectively. Emonte Parks added 15 and Hester scored 10.

Thompson paced the Spartans with 19 points, Josh Furmage scored 16, Blood tallied 14 and Matt Munson added 13.

Text Only
  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Week in Review January 10 and 11
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video