NORTON–Richmond Heights opened up the game with an aggressive mindset and game plan to execute on the way to a 70-33 victory over Cuyahoga Heights in a Division IV district semifinal at North High School on Monday.
The Spartans, who improved to 20-4 overall, used a second-quarter run to pull away from their Chagrin Valley Conference rivals and will play for a fifth straight district title.
“That’s a scrappy team we played,” said Richmond Heights coach Quentin Rogers of Cuyahoga Heights. “We have played them for the last four years, so there was some familiarity.”
Heights hung with the Spartans in the first quarter as both teams traded the lead several times but closed out the period deadlocked at 15-15.
Richmond Heights opened the second quarter with a 10-0 run and held a 31-17 advantage at the halftime break.
“Firing to the glass,” Rogers said of his team’s success in transition. “Drills we work on, and we condition hard so we can go four quarters, as well as still being able to keep that pace as well as keep applying pressure.”
The Spartans kicked off the second half the same way they did the second quarter and pushed their lead to 52-24 entering the final eight minutes of play.
“Energy was very important tonight,” said Richmond Heights’ London Maiden, who scored game-high 19 points. “It played a huge role in this game and we just have to bring that energy all the time.”
Jaiden Cox-Holloway contributed to the win with 12, Josiah Harris added 10, Dorian Jones pitched in with eight, and DeErick Barber, Jr. finished with seven points.
Dominic Belko led Cuyahoga Heights with a team-high 15 points while Emmanuel Loizos added six, Nate Biggers contributed with five, and David Collins finished with four points.
Cuyahoga Heights finished the season with an 18-7 record and a bright future.
“We do have some kids coming up from the JV level that can shoot the ball a little bit,” said Cuyahoga Heights coach Michael Tartara. “Also, I feel like with our length and athleticism we can do some things that can be fun.”
Richmond Heights, the top seed at the Norton District, will play the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal between No. 2 Dalton and No 3 Cornerstone Christian Academy in the district championship on Friday.