No matter what the year or who is on the roster, there are a few key elements Mentor coach Bob Krizancic looks for in all of his teams.
Playing with tempo, getting a few big runs each half, having big-time players want the ball and produce consistently – those are just a few of the Cardinals trademarks under Krizancic.
In a 99-66 beatdown of rival Euclid on Dec. 16, Krizancic saw a lot that he liked, particularly in a dominant second quarter in which Mentor outscored the visitors, 30-10.
Senior guard Jack Korsok led the Cardinals (2-0) offensively in the second straight game, scoring 24 points despite sitting for a majority of the second half.
Xavier Cheek had his best game since transferring to Mentor with 13 points and eight rebounds. Fourteen of the 15 players who got into the game for the Cardinals scored.
“I like the fact we are 2-0 and we are getting a freshman in the game, a few juniors who need some time,” Krizancic said. “We have some deficiencies, but I like the pieces on this team. We just need to put it all together.
A back-and-forth first quarter finished with Mentor on top, 19-16. The second quarter was all Cardinals as the youthful Panthers (0-4) were overwhelmed on both ends of the floor.
“I think we were able to wear them down a little and we were able to dictate tempo which was huge tonight,” Krizancic said.
Korsok, who scored 28 in the season-opening win at Brunswick, said the decisive second quarter was something the team talked about before the game.
“Coach always stresses breaking out quick, jumping on a team and then making it a little easier to rest in the fourth quarter and we were able to do that,” Korsok said. “We wanted to break the game open early, jump on them and score a bunch of points.
“I feel good as a leader right now and it is easier with all the good players that are on this team.”
The Cardinals will take the floor one more time before Christmas with a road game at GCC foe Strongsville on Dec. 23.
Mentor will face Barberton at the Stallion Classic in Columbus on Dec. 28 and host Bay on Dec. 29 to close out the 2016 portion of the calendar. The Cardinals open 2017 with a huge home game vs. Solon after New Year’s.