By ANGELO VELOTTA
For the Star Beacon
SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP —
The Cleveland Heights Tigers came into town Tuesday night and defeated the Lakeside Dragons, 99-47.
Right off the bat Cleveland Heights (1-1) was able to take control of the momentum with two Marcus Bagley 3-pointers, and were able to extend that to a 12-0 lead to start the game.
But, Lakeside (0-2) fought right back, and answered with their own 9-5 run and were able to end the first quarter only trailing the Tigers 23-15.
“Showed some resolve, mental toughness, (to) hang in there,” Lakeside coach Mark Taylor said of his team’s comeback.
But the second quarter was a tough one for the Dragons.
Several fouls and turnovers extended the game, and really put the pressure on Lakeside as Cleveland Heights was able to capitalize.
Lakeside struggled with foul trouble throughout, racking up a total of 33 fouls, and turned the ball over 32 times. The Tigers also struggled in this department with 20 a piece for fouls and turnovers.
But with the advantage in Cleveland Heights favor, it was able to win the second quarter 22-10, and take the lead at halftime, 55-25.
The third quarter rolled around and Lakeside looked to go deep in their bench and keep things fresh with a constant rotation of players. Despite losing the quarter 24-7, the Dragons continued to battle, trailing the Tigers, 79-32.
Trying to build up some more momentum Lakeside came out in fourth quarter still playing tough basketball, and actually had their closest quarter to Cleveland Heights, holding their own and only losing 20-15, and giving the eventual final score 99-47.
“(We) competed to the end, fought valiantly, they are a consummate team,” Mark Taylor said. “They have speed, quickness, length, talent.”
Several players for Cleveland Heights stepped up in a balanced effort. Dondre McDowell led the way for the Tigers with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals, Camerin Cross added 15 points and 5 rebounds, Marcus Bagley added 13 points and 3 steals, and Kurt Pearson scored 9 points and a team-high 10 rebounds all for the Tigers.
“It just came off the flow of the game, came from here,” Dondre McDowell said. “Anybody can put up the numbers, not just me.”
“I think we are pretty deep, a little sloppy at times, not set with 13 rotations, 14 situations (we have). Early season game,” Cleveland Heights coach Andy Sultell said.
“It was a learning experience, when you play the best you can take something away,” Taylor said of his team. “The level of talent, it’s a measuring stick, (we have) ways to grow.”
Emonte Parks led the way with a team-high 10 points and 3 rebounds, Jaeden Jones added 7 points, Sayvaughn Morgan scored 6 and had 2 steals, Kyle Downs added 4 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals, and Odera Ajamu scored 5 points and had 4 rebounds for Lakeside.
“Cut down on turnovers and the silly fouls,” Taylor said. “Played with some pride, get better, make every minute count and compete, we played with some team spirit.”
Velotta is a freelance writer from Concord Township.