Eagles Beat Mentor; Now One Win From Final Four
St. Edward overcame a 14 point first half deficit to defeat Mentor 62-43 in the regional semifinal of the OHSAA tournament on Wednesday night. The Eagles will meet Garfield Heights on Saturday night at 7pm at the CSU Wolstein Center, with the winner advancing to the Final Four in Columbus.
Mentor used a barrage of three pointers to open an early lead on the Eagles. They hit five treys in the first quarter, stunning St. Edward to take a 17-9 advantage after the first period. The Cardinals continued to pour it on early in the second quarter, scoring six unanswered points to stretch the lead to 23-9 with 5:25 left in the half. “There was a little bit of tension, a little bit of nervousness” Eagle Coach Eric Flannery said after the game, “When we became the aggressors, the game changed.” Junior forward Will Henry came off the bench to deliver some of that aggressiveness, scoring five unanswered points to spark a 23-5 Eagle run. Reserve sophomore Demetrius Terry scored four quick points midway through the second quarter to help the Eagle rally. “He [Terry] really sparked us coming off the bench” said Flannery. St. Edward tied the game with 1:17 left in the half on a pair of Tommy Schmock free throws, then never looked back.
St. Edward had a 30-28 halftime lead and pulled away during the second half. Coach Flannery switched from man-to-man defense to a zone during the second quarter, and it stifled the Cardinals three-point attack throughout the rest of the game. Cardinal junior Tadas Tatarunas led all scorers in the game with 17 points, but Mentor was limited to only five points during the third period. St. Edward carried a 52-33 lead into the fourth quarter, and both teams were able to empty their bench in the final minute of the game.
Jack Sullivan led the Eagles with 15 points in the game. Freshman Grant Huffman had 12; Henry finished with 9; Terry had a total of eight. St. Edward will face Garfield Heights in the regional championship. The game is scheduled for 7pm on Saturday at the CSU Wolstein Center. The Bulldogs reached the regional final by defeating Uniontown Lake 29-22 earlier Wednesday evening at the Wolstein Center.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1