Mentor coach Bob Krizancic still wants to see what the Cardinals can do this season when they are at full strength.
On Feb. 24, Krizancic saw a team missing one starter, playing with another going at less than 100 percent and yet another with two fouls in two possessions in the first 68 seconds of play. There were no excuses from the veteran coach, but all the missing pieces added up to a 59-48 loss at home to visiting Brunswick.
Senior guard Joey Zaugg was in street clothes recovering from concussion symptoms. Junior guard Andrew Valeri started and played solid, but is still easing back into the flow after missing a month with a thumb injury. Junior post player Micah Potter (team-high 19 points) was whistled for fouls on the first two Brunswick possessions of the game and was in and out of the lineup for the majority of the first half.
All of that adversity wasn’t nearly as difficult to swallow for Krizancic as the fact the Blue Devils had 18 offensive rebounds and became the third team to defeat the Cardinals on their home floor.
“That is the most offensive rebounds we have given up in I can’t remember how long and you aren’t going to beat teams when they dominate the boards like that,” Krizancic said. “And that is our third loss at home this year which is the first time that has happened … maybe it has happened once in the last 20 years? A lot of firsts this season, not necessarily good ones.”
Mentor (11-9) fell behind, 20-10, after one quarter, but rallied to trail by two at halftime thanks in large part to a big first half by junior point guard Kyle McIntosh, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the opening 16 minutes. A very patient offensive approach by Brunswick (16-5) coupled with a stingy zone defense helped the Blue Devils grind out possessions and maintain the lead for the majority of the second half.
Nate Armagost was huge for Brunswick, scoring 25 points, many coming on mid-range jumpers which were impressive for the 6-foot-8 post player.
“Brunswick is a solid team and you aren’t going to get a lot of possessions against them. …. It is the kind of team that gives us trouble and we would not want to see them in the tournament,” Krizancic said.
“The big kid (Armagost) is a really good player and he hurt us tonight … Defensively, we pressed every possession and I am not sure we got one turnover off the press. We weren’t very aggressive and you can watch the film and see what we didn’t do well. In my gut I still want to see this team at 100 percent, but that isn’t why we lost this game.”
Zaugg could play Friday at Medina and Valeri will continue to get more game time as the Division I postseason approaches with a sectional semifinal at home vs. Chardon.
A nonconference game against Collinwood scheduled for Feb. 23 and then moved to Feb. 25 has been again postponed. Mentor athletic director Jeff Cassella said the schools are working on a potential makeup date.