Garfield Heights onto State Semifinals
Division I Cleveland Regional Final- Garfield Heights 85 Mentor 68
Before Saturday night's Division I Regional Final between Garfield Heights and Mentor at Cleveland State's Wolstein Center many questioned how the game would turn out. How would Mentor fair against Garfield Heights size? In which the Bulldogs clearly had a height advantage. Would Mentor be able to to take another team down with their amazing 3-point shooting? Throughout the season the Cardinals had easily defeated most of their opponents with their 3-point happy offense. Would free-throw shooting be a factor in the game? The Bulldogs showed their struggles at the line last week in the Regional Semifinals against St. Edward, while Mentor has been quite consistent at the free-throw line. And most importantly, how would the two teams handle the pressure on the center stage which is the last step of getting to States in Columbus?
The stage was set and it couldn't have shined any brighter for Garfield Heights senior Trey Lewis (game-high 32 points) in the first half. Lewis was 9-13, scoring 26 points, fueling the Bulldogs who shot an incredible 77.8% from the field in the first half. Garfield Heights looked very impressive early and used a 22-7 run to take a commanding 18-point lead, 45-27 with just under 2 minutes left in the first half. The big first half lead led to an 85-68 win over Mentor, placing them in the State Semifinals next week in Columbus, a place they haven't been in 61 years.
Garfield Heights answered all the questions that surfaced before the game. Their height and size advantage was a huge factor as the Bulldogs out-muscled and out-rebounded the Cardinals 20-4 in the first half and 36-11 total. Mentor's 3-point shooting was defended very well as they shot a very dismal 2-12 from beyond the arc on the night. Mentor also struggled from the free-throw line. They were just 10-17 from the line in the first half. The first half was very important, not only did Lewis make almost everything he put up, but as a team Garfield Heights definitely proved they were the better team. With a dominating first half they led 45-32 at halftime. Even with Lewis collecting his fourth foul late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs shook off a mini-run by the Cards. Mentor cut the lead to 62-56 at the end of the third quarter, but Garfield Heights kept the lead and when he returned with 3:25 left in the game they led 74-61 and finished strong.
Mentor seemed the more aggressive team early, scrapping for loose balls and attacking the basket. Danny Wallack opened the game with a 3-pointer and a layup by Justin Fritts gave the Cards a 5-0 lead just 42 seconds into the game, but that lead would not last for long. Trey Lewis nailed a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 7-5 lead which was part of a 9-0 run as Garfield Heights took a 9-5 lead. Right from the start Garfield Heights used their size to take advantage inside and controlled the boards, scoring easy baskets. Mentor kept it close, but too may missed layups and 3-point shots kept them trailing. After leading 5-0 early, they would make only 3 field goal attempts the rest of the first quarter and trailed 21-16.
Early in the second quarter the lead was cut to just three points, 23-20 until Lewis would be fouled on a 3-point attempt and he made the Cardinals pay, making all three free-throws. Lewis started heating up and that was not good for Mentor as he lit them up for 17 points in the second quarter. His pull-back jumper gave the Bulldogs a 35-22 lead with 4:35 left in the second quarter and Garfield looked to be in total control. Just like the first quarter, Garfield Heights went on a run to take control of the game, this time it was a 22-7 run, giving them a 45-27 lead with just 1:50 left in the first half. Mentor did end the half on a 5-0 run, but a horrendous shooting performance in the first half put them really behind. The Cardinals were only 2 of 7 from 3-point range and made just 10 of 17 free throw attempts. On the other side, Garfield Heights shot almost 78% from the field, out rebounded Mentor 20-4, and Trey Lewis had 26 points in the first half giving them a 45-32 lead at halftime.
Garfield Heights maintained the lead early in the second half when Mike McQueen (19 points, 8 rebounds) scored on a 3-point play giving his team a 50-36 lead with 5:30 left in the third quarter. Seconds later Lewis would be called for his third foul and things started to get interesting. The Bulldogs led 50-38 at the time and Mentor would try to get themselves back in the game. Garfield Heights stayed in front 57-42 with 3:31 left in the third, but the Cardinals got right back in the game ending the third quarter strong. Lewis then got hit with his fourth foul with 2:09 left in the third quarter and would have to take a seat on the bench for a while. Cole Krizancic (23 points) scored 8 points in Mentor's 14-5 run including a layup that got the Mentor fans off their seats at the end of the third, trimming the lead to just 6 points, 62-56 going into the fourth quarter.
Garfield's Mike Davis (9 points) who played a big role off the bench for the Bulldogs scored and gave his team a 68-58 lead with 6:35 left in the fourth quarter. With 4:49 left in the game Garfield Heights gained all momentum back when Tony Farmer (13 points, 14 rebounds) had an uncontested slam dunk and Lloyd Henry scored on a layup on their next possession, igniting the Bulldog faithful in the stands, giving them a 72-59 lead. With 3:25 left to play and his team leading 74-61, Lewis returned to the game and helped put the finishing touches on the Bulldogs 85-68 victory.
Garfield Heights shot 72.7% for the game and their defense stymied Mentor's usual explosive offense, limiting them to just 2-12 from 3-point range and shooting just under 48%. Garfield out rebounded Mentor 36-11 on the night on their way to the Division I Regional Final win. After trailing 5-0 very early in the first quarter they led the final 26 minutes of the game. Garfield Heights was led by Trey Lewis, who had a game-high 32 points. Lewis finished 10-14 shooting and was 10-10 from the free-throw line. Senior Cole Krizancic had a game-high 23 points for Mentor. Senior Matt Solden had 13 points and Jeff Foreman added 12 points for the Cardinals. Justin Fritts (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Collin Barth (5 points) were held to just 13 points and 3-11 shooting combined. The stage was set at the Wolstein Center for two of the top teams in Ohio. Unfortunately for Mentor they had their worst shooting performance of the season, while Garfield Heights had one of their best, and for that the Bulldogs are headed to Columbus.
photos taken by: Christina Thomas
article updated on 03/21/11 16:09