The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 12, 2013

Classic curtain call

Apollo’s win in boys game a knockout

The young gentlemen playing in the Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic on Monday night at Lakeside had their work cut out for them in presenting a good, interesting basketball game after the ladies put on a great show in the first game.

In a close contest, they did just that. Coming down to the final seconds, it took a free throw from Lakeside’s Sayvaughn Morgan to provide the final point in a thrilling 118-117 Team Apollo win over Team Zeus.

The biggest lead of of the contest was only seven points, accomplished twice by Team Apollo, once in each half, it all came down to a rush at the basket by the Apollo troops.

Morgan was in the right place at the right time as Emonte Parks of Lakeside, the team’s Play-All Sports Player of the Game, drove to the hoop from the left and had his shot roll off the right side of the rim. Morgan was there to put it up, but was jostled a tad with 3.1 seconds left on the clock.

In a contest that was a run-and-gun affair in which both teams got off 104 shots from the floor, those last 3.1 ticks suddenly became a humorous strategic event as both coaches, Tim Tallbacka of Conneaut for Team Apollo and John Bowler of Edgewood of Team Zeus, exchanged timeouts.

Whatever was planned went down the drain in a hurry as Team Zeus, starting from midcourt, did not get off a shot a good shot, Team Apollo grabbed the ball and could finally take a deep breath.

“This game was just a lot of fun to be part of,” Bowler said. “The kids just played hard and it suddenly got tighter in the last five minutes to become a bit more competitive. You could see the basketball skills these kids really have.”

Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year Andrew Konczal of Edgewood, playing for Team Zeus, capped his high school career with a solid exclamation point. He finished with 22 points and eight rebounds.

“This season was a lot better for me,” he said. “Our team did a lot better and I worked harder to make our team better. We all did.

“I had a lot of fun tonight, too. It’s not easy when you have a bunch of guys thrown together, but it was a very good game with an exciting finish.”

Konczal led four teammates in double-digit scoring.

Adam Hockman of Riverside, the Team Zeus Player of the Game, added 19 points and four assists. Cale Burdyshaw of Perry scored 10 of his dozen points in the second half while grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking 3 shots and Ian Illig of Perry added 10 points.

Team Apollo had its big performers as well, led by the 25 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists by Parks on his last appearance on his home court. Houston Dugan of Grand River Academy added 18 points and 11 rebounds, Brett Powers of Jefferson tallied 14 points, Chandler Smith of Riverside put home 13 points while snaring eight rebounds and Nick Blood of Conneaut scored 12 points while battling for five rebounds among the giants in the paint.

With 3-pointers falling almost as fast from the players as it was outside on this early spring night, the winners nailed 10 of them in hitting 51 of 104 shots from the floor, a solid 49 percent.

Nearly half the points for the Zeus team came from 3-pointers as they hit 19 while sinking 46 of 104 shots, a solid 44.2 effort.

At times it appeared that there would not be much left in the energy tanks for the players toward the end of the game due to the fast pace from the opening tipoff. Several times in the second half, while trading long range shots at both ends, the pace slowed down. Maybe it was the length of the contest in the college format.

“Things got a bit ragged at times in the second half,” Bowler said. “You have to give them credit, though, for the way they played the last few minutes. They made it a very entertaining game for everybody.”

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.

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