Sunday, February 5, 2023

Morgano’s buzzer-beater leads West G to win over Chagrin Falls

Nico Morgano scored just three points in West Geauga’s win over visiting Chagrin Falls on Friday but they couldn’t have come at a better time.

Morgano drained a 3-pointer as time expired to lead the Wolverines to a 48-46 win over the Tigers.

“It was a huge win for our team, one of those that you hope is just the swing of momentum to change your season around and give all the players a huge boost of confidence,” said West Geauga coach Jeff Javorek. “We have only played three games this season with our full team and have wins over Aurora, Perry and now Chagrin Falls.”

West Geauga led 45-44 with 30 seconds left when Chagrin Falls took a time out to set up what the Tigers hoped would be the game winning play.

The Wolverines, out of time outs, used that break in the action to set up both a defensive set and an offensive play should the Tigers take the lead.

Chagrin’s Trevon Grimes scored to give the Tigers a 46-45 lead with nine seconds remaining and the Wolverines quickly got the ball up the court.

The plan was for Micah Young, who had scored a team-high 10 points, to look for a shot. The Tigers double-teamed him so he fed Morgano in the left corner.

“I talked with our guys about the exact situation, ‘If they score, this is what we need to do. We can't stop playing,’” Javorek said. “Our plan was to have a guy sprint and take the ball out and get it to Micah to attack and we needed to make sure we had shooters in spots. It was not drawn up, but our guys were prepared for this situation. It's a credit to their awareness and attentiveness in the final time out.”

West Geauga led 11-10 after the first quarter but the Tigers rallied for a 27-23 halftime lead and took a 39-32 advantage into the fourth quarter.

The Wolverines battled back in the final eight minutes but needed Morgano’s shot to complete the comeback victory.

“Nico Morgano is a really good 3-point shooter but had not scored the entire night,” Javorek said. “That three was his only points of the night and it couldn't have been a bigger situation. He was able to come through in a pressure situation.”

The Wolverines improved to 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division. The win was their second straight over a conference opponent.

“It's one of those huge momentum swing games for our team,” Javorek said. “We finally got back healthy over the winter break and have had some great practices leading up into the last two games.”

West Geauga travels to Geneva on Tuesday.

West Geauga 48, Chagrin Falls 46

Chagrin Falls (3-5, 2-3 CVC): Benko 2, Bargar 4, Fricke 4, Kwasny 8, W. Bartlett 2, M. Bartlett 3, Grimes 10, Karyo 6, Yonker 5, DiFiore 2

West Geauga (3-7, 2-4 CVC): Kahs 2, Calo 5, Sexton 5, Shenkel 16, Ramey 7, Young 10, Morgano 3

Chagrin Falls 10 17 12 7 — 46
West Geauga 11 12 9 16 — 48

Field goals: Chagrin Falls 18 of 52, West Geauga 16 of 36; Free throws: Chagrin Falls 10 of 19, West Geauga 10 of 11; 3-pointers: West Geauga 6 (Young 2, Calo, Ramey, Sexton, Morgano); Rebounds: Chagrin Falls 32 (Yonker 8), West Geauga 20 (Shankel 6); Assists: Chagrin Falls 6 (Bargar 2), West Geauga 10 (four with 2); JV: Chagrin Falls 56, West Geauga 40

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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