Northeast Ohio Huddle: Wadsworth wrestlers rally for another win over St. Edward


Northeast Ohio Huddle

Talk about a rally. Wadsworth recieved huge efforts from its final three wrestlers to turn a 27-15 deficit into a 30-27 win in a dual meet at powerhouse Lakewood St. Edward. It was the Grizzlies second win over the Eagles this year. Several other Northeast Ohio teams had a good week as well. Who were they? Read on to find out.

While big-city schools in Columbus, Cleveland or Cincinnati can often times sustain success while sitting just mere miles apart, it is odd to see a small stretch of Route 39 occupy two of the best girls’ basketball teams in Eastern Ohio.

Separated by less than 20 miles, West Holmes High in Millersburg and Hiland High in Berlin, both sit undefeated in their respective leagues this girls’ basketball season.

Both teams have enjoyed success in the past with Hiland winning the state championship last year as well as in 2000, 2005 and 2006. Head coach Dave Schlabach enters his 18th season and is an amazing 370-55. The Hawks sit atop the Inter-Valley Conference by two games at 13-0 (16-1 overall) after a dominating 52-23 win over rival Garaway that included a 19-1 fourth quarter.

While the Hawks lost all-time leading scorer Jena Stutzman to Kent State off of last year’s team, they did return several key players who led the Hawks past Columbus Africentric in the state title game. Senior Karli Mast is joined by juniors Mykeila Mast, Hilary Weaver, Katelyn Stuckey and Jessica Stutzman.

West Holmes is also undefeated in its league, leading the Ohio Cardinal Conference at 12-0. While star player Noelle Yoder took her game down the street to Hiland and stands out as a key player off the bench for the Hawks, the Knights still have a talented crew, led by 6-foot-1 senior Sarah Hammond and junior guard Lindsey Arnold.


Ben Buzzelli, Wadsworth: The senior heavyweight was needed against Division I state power Lakewood St. Edward’s last Saturday and he delivered.

Buzzelli’s team trailed the storied Eagles 27-24 with his match the last on tap. While it took him until the second period, Buzzelli responded with a pin to send his team to an outstanding 30-27 win over the Eagles.

Wadsworth had beaten St. Ed’s at the Ohio Duals earlier this year but were still underdogs in the match this time around at the perennial power who has won every state championship since the 1997 season.

Buzzelli’s heroics were set up by freshman Nick Tavanello who won a 9-3 match at 215 to make it 27-24. That match was preceded by an exciting win by Caleb Busson by way of pin at 189 pounds that took the score from 27-15 to 27-21.


Pymatuning Valley, Girls Basketball: At 19-0 overall and 15-0 in the Northeastern Athletic Conference, the Lakers are the last remaining undefeated girls’ hoops teams in Ashtabula County and after beating Cardinal on Wednesday, look to be on their way to an undefeated season with big school Lakeside remaining on the schedule next Monday.

Constance Stech leads the way in the middle at 15.3 points per game with 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. Rose Lane chips in 14 points and 3.3 assists per game while the defensive Olivia Holt dishes out a team-high 5.4 assists and takes away 4.3 steals per game.

Where is Pymatuning Valley? It sits just on the edge of Ohio near the Pennsylvania border right on Lake Erie.


Saving the Day: Brooklyn goaltender Ish Qasem was pounded on all night in a loss an 8-0 loss to Chagrin Falls but still came out looking good. Qasem held up 97 shots from Chagrin Falls as he was under constant attack while his team was outshot 105-11.

Admiral’s Adrian:
Adrian Casey scored 32 points and ripped down 16 rebounds in Admiral King’s 76-70 win over Bedford on Tuesday. King remains undefeated at 17-0.

Garfield Great:
The Garrettsville Garfield Lady G-Men bowling team won its third Portage Trail Conference bowling tournament title while extending its win streak to over 80 matches dating back to January 25, 2005. The Lady G-Men scored a team total of 3,460 to beat out East Canton’s 3,574. Consistency is the name of the game for Garfield as they didn’t have the individual champion or even the second or third place finisher. Chelsi Moore led the way with a 544. Elise Lambert added a 481, Ashley Bernatowicz a 511, Stefanie Juzkiw a 481 and Kelly Russomanno a 535.

Mentor moving out:
Mentor, a school in Lake County with more than 3,000 students in grades 9-12, will move out of the Lake Erie League in the next two years. The 10-team, 2-division league will turn into a one division league, leaving Mentor as the largest team looking for better competition. Mentor will become an independent in either 2010 or 2011.

Pin Up:
Massillon Perry’s Adam Kurtz was named the Federal League Bowler of the Year after averaging a 226.7 for the year and firing off a 710 at the league tournament.

The Boardman High boys and girls teams swept the team titles at Park Center Lanes in Canton. The boys beat Uniontown Lake and Canton GlenOak 3-1 in the best of 5 Baker format series and then upended Massillon Jackson 49-39 in a 9th and 10th frame overtime roll-off. Vinny Zimbardi nailed a 682 series to pace Boardman.

The Lady Spartans beat Massillon Jackson 3-0 and North Canton Hoover 3-1 before topping Austintown Fitch 3-1 in the finals. Ciarra Moran led the way with a 670.

Twice is Nice:
Dover senior point guard Corey Lisowski found his way to two game-deciding shots in his team’s big 56-53 double overtime win over Cambridge last weekend. Dover needed the win to stay atop a crowded East Central Ohio League that included Cambridge and Coshocton. Lisowski scored 16 points in the game but more importantly, hit a 3-pointer with two ticks left in regulation to tie the score and send it to overtime. He then hit a layup with two seconds to go in the first overtime to send the game into the second extra session. Cambridge and Dover are both 8-2 in the league and Coshocton is 7-2.

Brogdon out:
Warren G. Harding’s Sheldon Brogdon learned this week that he will be out for the season with a knee injury suffered on Feb. 3 against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s. Brogdon is averaging 19 points per game. Brogdon tore his ACL and will need to have season-ending surgery on the knee.

Hat Trick Revak:
Kenston toppled Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 8-2 in hockey action as Greg Revak had three goals for Kenston. Kyle Weninger added two goals as Kenston improved to 18-5-1 on the season.


Swimming sectional: The Division I sectional swim meets will take place for the Northeast at the University of Akron Ocasek Natatorium with the boys swimming on Friday and the girls on Saturday.

Garaway at Hiland, Friday (Tonight), 7:30 p.m.:
Despite its standing as one of the top boys’ basketball programs in Eastern Ohio the past two decades, Hiland has not had an undefeated team in its history. A game against rival Garaway will be a tough test at the Perry Reese Junior Community Center as the Hawks look to stay unbeaten. Hiland possesses something it hasn’t had in year’s past: Size. With 6-foot-7 Noah Boyd at a guard, 6-foot-4 freshman Dylan Kaufman on the wing and 6-foot-5 senior Colton Troyer playing the 4, the Hawks are dangerous inside and out this year. But Garaway counters with 6-foot-7 sophomore sensation Paul Honigford as well as 6-foot-3 senior David Gerber in the middle. Both were instrumental starters on last year’s state finalist team that fell to Ottawa-Glandorf.

Triway at CVCA, Friday (Tonight), 7:30 p.m.:
Is it too early to mention next Friday’s clash of Principals’ Athletic Conference leaders Triway and Timken? Probably because Triway, who has one loss in the PAC, faces a tough road opponent in Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy tonight at 7:30 p.m. Timken is undefeated in league play, handing the Titans their lone league loss. The Trojans are fantastic, beating state-ranked Northland last week. Watch out Triway fans, CVCA may catch your squad looking ahead.


Jeff Williams is an Ashtabula native and an Edgewood Senior High graduate. He attended Ohio University, receiving a journalism degree in 1998. After graduation, Jeff started working for the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette where he covered prep sports as well as Ohio State football for two years. He moved to New Philadelphia in June 1999 and worked for nine years for the Times-Reporter, covering Eastern Ohio prep sports.

In January 2008, Jeff received his Master’s in Education and was hired as a seventh grade language arts teacher at Claymont Junior High in Uhrichsville where he is also the eighth grade girls’ basketball coach and student newspaper advisor.

In addition to his work for JJHuddle, Jeff has continued to string for the Times-Reporter as well as for the Budget in Sugarcreek where he covers Hiland and Garaway.

Said Williams: “I love prep sports and will do my best to cover Northeast Ohio and include as many sports and regions as possible.”

Jeff is married and has a 5-year old daughter.

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