That required a 20-minute delay, after which only the Tarblooders responded.
Brawling patrons failed to ruin Glenville’s scintillating 84-78 overtime victory at Cleveland Heights. Of course, the bare-knuckle fighters couldn’t wreck the extra quarter because the stands were cleared of everyone but the players’ parents after regulation.
That required a 20-minute delay, after which only the Tarblooders responded, going on a 9-0 run and holding the Tigers scoreless until the final second of overtime in the non-conference clash between two of the premier teams in Northeast Ohio.
Such heroics didn’t appear possible early in the fourth quarter, when senior forwards Travis Kelce (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Quintus Teer (game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds) led a charge that gave Cleveland Heights a 67-59 lead.
But Division I recruit Rayshawn Goins, who paced the Tarblooders with 17 points and 11 rebounds, scored inside to cut it to 75-73, then teammate Julian Drish did the same off a batted inbounds pass with eight seconds remaining in regulation to tie it.
Drish then keyed the overtime dominance by contributing six of his 12 points. Glenville, in fact, would have scored the last 14 points of the game had Tigers’ guard Deontez May not nailed a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Tarblooders (17-2) threw a curve at Cleveland Heights by opening the overtime in a 2-3 zone, which they had not shown the entire game. One reason for the switch was that Glenville point guard Kendall Holt had fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
“We were banking on them getting a little tired in that fifth quarter,” said Glenville coach Michael Holt. “We didn’t have anyone to offset Teer, so we took a chance with their ballhandlers. I don’t think they figured we’d be coming out in a zone, especially since I’m known as a man-to-man coach.”
Neither team scored in the first two minutes of the overtime, but Drish broke the ice with a driving layup to give Glenville its first lead since early in the third quarter. Guard Maurice Catney stretched it to 79-75 with another layup and a Drish put-back clinched it.
The victory was particularly meaningful for the Tarblooders following an upset loss to Cleveland JFK in the Senate League championship game last weekend. They will enter the Division I sectional/district at Euclid in two weeks as the top seed.
“To beat a great Cleveland Heights team at Cleveland Heights is a tremendous victory for us,” Holt said. “The guys didn’t panic when they were down seven or eight points when we beat Shaker Heights earlier in the year and they didn’t panic tonight.”
Goins certainly didn’t. In fact, an injury against JFK nearly sidelined him, but he was given the option to play. The Tigers (13-5) would have preferred that he beg off, but Goins came off the bench to score all of his 18 points and yank down seven offensive rebounds in the last three quarters of regulation.
“It was a last-minute call for me,” Goins explained. “When I got here tonight, I didn’t know if I was going to play or not. But when (Holt) asked me if I thought I could help the team, I knew I was going to go in there.
“We all came together as one tonight. Even when we were down in the fourth quarter, the last guy on the bench was hyped up like he was in the game.”
It didn’t appear in the first half that either team would pull away. Glenville used a 10-0 run opening the second quarter to take a 31-22 lead, but Cleveland Heights whittled it down to 39-35 at halftime. The Tarblooders raced ahead, 45-43, but the Tigers dominated until early in the fourth quarter.
It was all Glenville from there, a fact that had Heights coach Barry Egan wearing a bit of a scowl after the game. He wasn’t about to use the long delay between regulation and overtime or any unfamiliarity with the Glenville zone as an excuse.
“We knew they played zone; that didn’t surprise us with Kendall out of the game,” Egan said. “We can find excuses, but the fact is that we didn’t come out and execute like we should have. We turned the ball over five times in a row in the fourth quarter.
“When it comes right down to it, we weren’t up to the challenge and Glenville was. And that’s very disappointing to me.”
It wasn’t as disappointing as the few brawlers who forced Cleveland Heights police to empty the gym of all spectators but the parents before the overtime. Such a thrilling game was worthy of the packed house that witnessed it for four quarters.