Boys Varsity Basketball · Boys Varsity Recap 1/3: Lowellville 41 Western Reserve 56

Courtesy of The Vindicator

Western Reserve gets league win over Lowellville

BERLIN CENTER — The Western Reserve Blue Devils have had some frustrating games so far this season, but with the new year they are looking for a new start. Friday night at home they overcame a sluggish start to pull away from the Lowellville Rockets for a 56-41 victory.

With the victory, the Blue Devils improve their mark on the year to 5-5 overall and 2-2 in the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference. The Rockets dropped to 5-4, 0-4 in the league.

“We talked about getting back into league play, the rivalry, the familiarity with each other, and coming off five losses of I think a total of seventeen points in our five losses. So it’s just us grinding away and the kids practicing really well over the break,” Blue Devils coach Pat Daltorio said. “Hats off to our guys for the work they put in during practice and it translated here today.”

Getting the win after dropping four straight contests is huge for the Western Reserve locker room, who made it a goal to start 2020 off right.

“We lost some close ones which really gets to you, but we made a goal for us to start the new year to come back and start winning,” senior point guard Todd Henning said. “That’s what we did. We played all four quarters.”

Rockets coach Matt Olson noticed that his team wasn’t playing the way he’s seen them play in games past. A downside of having such a young roster.

“We seemed a little flat tonight. We didn’t seem to have the energy that we normally do,” Olson admitted about his team that features three starting freshmen, a sophomore and one junior. “Not to make excuses, but we are young, we are just young and we have to get better.”

After the Blue Devils trailed 12-7 at the end of the first quarter, they would go on a 10-0 run to start the second quarter to lead 17-12 at the mid-way mark of the stanza. They would go on to hold a 7-point, 27-20 advantage at the intermission break.

“I think on the defensive end we started to get some stops and we were able to get out into transition,” Daltorio explained the Devils big second quarter. “We were able to limit them to one shot, we were doing a good job of running the floor, and we were passing the ball up and keeping our eyes on the floor.”

But it was with the start of the second half that the Devils would really distance themselves from the Rockets. A bucket by Jake Pappagallo, followed by two consecutive 3s by Todd Henning quickly propelled the Devils to a 35-22 lead at the 6:25 mark of the period. They would push their advantage to 15-points at the 4:57 mark following a basket by Noah Klasic. The Devils would hold a 42-29 lead at the end of the third quarter.

“In the beginning of the game, I shot three pretty bad 3s that I had just one fall, but I’m going to keep shooting because my teammates have confidence and I have confidence so I’m going to just keep shooting,” Henning explained his shooting mindset.

The Rockets would keep battling as they cut the deficit down to eight with 6:57 remaining in the contest following a trey by Vinny Balone to make it 42-34. But the Devils would quickly answer with a 12-0 run to clinch the game and carry a 20-point, 54-34 lead with 3:27 left in the contest. The Rockets would close the game with a 7-2 run to reach the 15-point final margin.

“With a young team, we lack a little bit of inexperience and Western Reserve is very well-coached and disciplined on the defense they ran and packed it in. I think we were 1-18 from three and shooting that way against a two-three zone, you’re going to struggle,” Olson explained the Rockets downfall in the game. “But they didn’t want to give up at the end and they kept fighting.”

The Rockets travel to Sebring Tuesday night in their next matchup. The Blue Devils will also be on the road Tuesday when they travel to Springfield.


¯ LOWELLVILLE (5-4, 0-4 MVAC): Vinny Ballone 5 0-0 11, Anthony Lucente 6 1-6 13, Brady Bunofsky 1 0-0 2, Cole Bunofsky 2 0-0 4, Kyle Miller 2 0-0 4, Johnny Michaels 1 1-1 3, John Loshuk 2 0-0 4. Totals: FG 19; FT 2-7.

¯ WESTERN RESERVE (5-5, 2-2 MVAC): Jake Moore 0 0-0 0, Todd Henning 6 4-5 19, Luke Kilbert 0 0-2 0, Preston Reed 2 0-0 4, Ryan Gordon 6 1-1 15, David Ashburn 0 0-0 0, David Alteure 1 0-0 2, Noah Klasic 4 3-3 12, Jake Pappagallo 2 0-0 4, Gabe Platt 0 0-0 0. Totals: FG 21; FT 8-11.

Lowellville 12 8 9 12 – 41

Western Reserve 8 19 15 14 – 56

3-POINT GOALS: L – 1 (Ballone); WR – 6 (Henning 3, Gordon 2, Klasic). JV SCORE: WR, 48-34. JV LEADERS: L – Anthony Lucido 9; WR – Austin Nabb 12, Joe Serensky 11.