PEPPER PIKE—Ray Bonner scored a team-high 19 points to lead Orange to a 68-65 come from behind win over visiting West Geauga on Tuesday.
The Lions trailed the Wolverines entering the fourth quarter, 55-52, before making key plays down the stretch to improve to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division.
“We really wanted to focus on running our offense and being consistent and making good decisions,” Orange coach Ashen Ward said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with at times, but today I thought we played at a really good pace and we kind of sped West G up to play at our tempo and I think it worked to our advantage.”
Behind Josh Irwin, who scored 16 of his game-high 32 points in the first quarter, West Geauga (1-4, 1-2) built a 22-19 lead.
But, the Lions countered every West Geauga run with one of their own.
“We have a lot of guys that return from last year and we had a lot of tough battles last year, so I think that kind of built us to be ready to handle a moment like today, but most importantly the guys just stuck together,” Ward said. “It was a true team win. Every guy did their job to the best of their ability and it showed in the score.”
Trailing 65-64 with 10 seconds left, Bonner stepped to the line and drained a pair of free throws to give the Lions a 66-65 lead.
After a West Geauga miss from the free throw line, Donald Hughes converted a pair of free throws to close out the scoring.
Harrison Pyner, Hughes and Scott Minor also scored in double figures for the Lions with 18, 13 and 11, respectively.
Peyton Bissler contributed with 16 points for West Geauga.
“The biggest thing we’ve got to figure out is how to close out games,” West Geauga coach Jeff Javorek said. “Three out of four of our losses have been at the buzzer. We lost by one, lost by two and then lost by three, so we’ve got to figure out how to close out games.”
Orange 68, West Geauga 65
West Geauga (1-4, 0-2 CVC): Musser 2, Bissler 16, Formichelli 2, H. Gruber 3, Pitcock 4, Javorek 2, Podojil 4, Irwin 32
Orange: Bonner 19, Leiken 1, Pyner 18, Menor 11, Hughes 13, King 6
West Geauga 22 19 14 10 — 65
Orange 19 20 13 16 — 68
Free throws: West Geauga 14 of 19, Orange 9 of 11; 3-pointers: West Geauga 8 (Irwin 6, Bissler 2), Orange 11 (Pyner 6, Menor 3, Bonner 1, Hughes 1); Rebounds: West Geauga 27 (Irwin 16); Assists: West Geauga 14 (Formichelli 4)