Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Cardinals get defensive in win over Glenville

On Feb. 11 against visiting Glenville, the Cardinals got defensive.

Mentor held the Tarblooders to nine points in the second half and ran away with a 62-39 win.

The Cardinals improved to 13-5 on the season and head to the Division I Euclid District seed meeting on Feb. 12 with wins over Shaker Heights and Glenville on the weekend. Mentor is the No. 2 seed behind Solon.

“Defensively, we switched presses in the second half, and to hold a really big, athletic team to nine points like that for us is impressive,” Mentor coach Bob Krizancic said.

“We talked about it all weekend. We needed to win both games this weekend and we played really well defensively. It’s great for confidence and momentum, but you just don’t know what is going to happen in the seed meeting. It is a solid weekend and we will take it.”

Mentor senior Manning Trubisky hit six 3s and finished with 18 points. Matt Koski hit a huge 3 at the end of the first half and chipped in 10, including momentum for his team heading to halftime with a 33-30 lead that quickly turned into a double-digit advantage in the third quarter.

RawSpiceBarThe Cardinals outscored Glenville, 16-6, in the third quarter and 13-3 in the fourth to secure an easy win.

“It’s tournament time and I just want to step up to do whatever my team needs,” Trubisky said. “We feel confident right now no matter who we play.”

Jack Korsok scored 10 points for Mentor and Caden Kryz added 9 on three 3s.

“We have no control over what happens at the seed meeting, but after losing two games last weekend this was huge to come out and play well and win by a considerable margin,” Krizancic said.

“We still need to clean up some turnovers and get better offensively, but these last two nights were big wins.”

Xavier Cheek played a strong game defensively for the Cardinals and finished with three points on offense. Shane Zalba, a talented starting guard for Mentor, was out with an ankle sprain, but should return soon for the Cardinals.

Glenville, which got 11 points from Hercules Sheperd, is the No. 6 seed at the Division I Euclid District. Mentor lost the 2016 district final to Solon.

The weekend got off to a big start as the Cardinals rebounded from tough setbacks at Solon and VASJ to defeat Shaker Heights, 83-74, on Friday.

Senior standouts Jack Korsok and Manning Trubisky stepped up on Senior Night at Mentor. Korsok scored a game-high 23 points as the Cardinals improved to 12-5 overall and 9-3 in the Greater Cleveland Conference.

Trubisky added 16 points as the Cardinals used runs of 20-7 during the second quarter, 9-0 in the third quarter and 9-2 in the fourth quarter to hold off the talented Raiders.

Juniors Tadas Tatarunas and Caden Kryz also played huge for Mentor in the victory, scoring 19 and 11 points, respectively. Tatarunas has played very well lately for the Cardinals and his presence inside and outside will be key to the team’s upcoming postseason run.

“There’s no other way to put it, this was a game we had to win,” Krizancic said. “After last weekend, we needed to come back and play hard especially in a league game and I think we did a lot of good things tonight. We still had too many turnovers, but we have a chance to be a very dangerous team.”

Junior guard Christian Guess topped Shaker Heights with 20 points. Senior guard Isiah Wright added 15 points for the Red Raiders, who slipped to 7-9 overall and 3-7 in the GCC.

Neither team got much going offensively in a first quarter that ended with Shaker Heights clinging to an 11-9 lead. The Red Raiders had pushed out to a 25-17 lead midway through the second quarter when Mentor’s offense finally kicked into gear. The Cardinals finished the half on a 22-7 run, sparked by Korsok, who nailed a 3-pointer and made a 3-point play in the final minute of the first half to allow his team to take a 37-32 lead at halftime.

Mentor extended the lead to 61-51 at the end of three quarters and went up by as much as 16 before settling for the nine-point win and a sweep of the season series with Shaker Heights.

“(This weekend) is huge because we have the district meeting coming up and a big league game against Elyria next week that will probably decide the GCC,” Krizancic said. 

“We got a lot of good contributions tonight, some that might go overlooked. I thought (Matt) Koski and (Chad) Blessing both played smart and played hard. We had guys look to score and want the basketball which has to happen for us consistently. I liked the way we made our runs in key times and pushed the tempo. Overall, I liked what I saw.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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