Krizanic’s 42 powers Mentor past Warren Harding in double OT


Mentor guard Cole Krizancic scored 42 points against Harding last season. (Photo by Kurt Stubbs)

Instant Classic!

Those are the two words used to describe Sunday afternoon’s game between Mentor and Warren Harding at the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic inside Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center.

Instant Classic!

Those are the two words used to describe Sunday afternoon’s game between Mentor and Warren Harding at the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic inside Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center.

Mentor trailed 43-27 with just over a minute remaining in the first halfwith things looking less than bleak when the Cardinals closed the half on an 8-0 run to tighten margin to 43-35 at the intermission.

The Cardinals used relentless pressure and timely scoring to claw their way back into the contest eventually overtaking the athletic and talented Raiders for a 99-91 double-overtime triumph.

State of Ohio, if you haven’t met or seen Mentor junior guard Cole Krizancic, let us introduce you to ‘the show’—Part 2.

The game started with Harding using its favorable size advantage led by 6-foot-4 senior Angel Gonzalez to amass a lead that grew to 16 points in the first 15 minutes of the opening half. Gonzalez scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in the first period including 21 and seven in the opening half.

Gonzalez and his Raider teammates were dominating the offensive glass in the first half grabbing 12 in all. Gonzalez scored on a bevy of putbacks and in-lane pull-up jumpers.  Teammate Fred Williams added nine points and six caroms while 6-foot-7 sophomore Shaheed Davis contributied six points and four boards including three offensive.

While Harding was throwing blow-after-blow, Krizancic and teammate Jaron Crowe were doing their best to keep the Cardinals close. Krizancic finished the first half with 17 points with Crowe adding nine on three bonus balls.

“They were a little quicker and more athletic than we expected,”  joked Mentor’s Cole Krizancic. “We knew they were extremely quick, but I think it was different once we got out there.”

Mentor came out of the lockeroom and Krizancic hit a quick three to cut the lead to five, but Harding answered back with four-straight to open the lead back up to nine at 47-38.

However, by the four-minute mark of the third period, the Cardinals had knotted the score at 49 and eventually took the lead at 51-49.

Harding reclaimed the lead (56-54) to end the third on the back of 6-foot-4 junior Tre’ Brown who had eight points and two rebounds in the quarter.

Krizancic tallied nine more markers in the third.

The fourth quarter was back-and-forth from bell-to-bell that culminated with one of the best ending’s to regulation seen in quite some time.

After several lead changes thanks to some tough buckets under heavy pressureby both squads, Harding was able to salvage a 76-75 advantage with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.

With Mentor holding possession under its own bucket, Krizancic was able to break free off a set-play and score the go-ahead bucket on a lay-in from the right block.

Seemingly, Harding’s last chance came up short as 6-foot-2 Mentor junior Matt Solden snatched down what appeared to be the game-ending rebound. The Raiders quickly fouled sending Solden to the line with 2.1 seconds remaining.

Solden hit the first of two, but the second came up short and 6-foot-4 senior Kennis White secured the rebound quickly calling timeout with 1.6 seconds to play.

With not quite as much riding on the contest, but suffice nonetheless, we were embarking on a 1992 Duke/Kentucky moment.

Gonzalez was inbounding the ball under the Mentor bucket, as the Cardinals placed itslef in the preverbial prevent defense, but the chance of completing the pass was slim, completing it and getting a shot off would be next to impossible and completing the pass and making the shot had zero chance.

Harding begged to differ. Gonzalez launched a perfect pass to the other free-throw line where White boxed out Crowe and elevated over him catching the ball in the process. After hauling down the pass, White turned and laid the ball of the glass and into the hoop as the horn sounded sending the game into OT.

Mentor was disappointed but far from deflated. Both teams scored two points in the first OT consequently sending the ‘classic’ to a second extra session.

“We have faith in the press that it will eventually wear the other team down,” Krizancic lamented. “We got way down today, but it worked out in the end.”

With the scored knotted at 80, Krizancic and company decided it was time that all great things must come to an end.  The junior nailed 7-of-8 freebies and 6-foot sophomore Justin Fritts added two buckets and a pair of free-throws while Crowe drilled another triple and added a freebie.

Mentor, using its trapping and relentless full-court pressure, was finally able to wear down a very good Warren Harding team.

“We pride ourselves in being in the best possible shape we can be in,” said Krizancic. “We want to be in better shape than every team we play and hope that it pays off.”
With the win the Cardinals improved to (9-0) and Harding dropped to (8-1).

“Obviously, are main goal is to get to states,” stated the Mentor junior. “We know in order to win it all we will have to beat (Columbus) Northland and that is easier said than done.”

Krizancic, who is coached by his father Bob Krizancic, notched a game-high 42 points including a 13-of-16 performance at the line. The 5-foot-11 junior also accumulated seven boards.

“I had no idea what I had,” Krizancic mentioned. “I just wanted to keep taking the ball to the basket and get shots for my teammates. We wanted to keep running and getting shots up and hope they would start making mistakes. Fortunately for us, they did.”

Crowe tallied 26 points including six triples and Fritts added 16 and nine caroms.
Gonzalez led Harding with 27 markers and 10 rebounds. White was next with 19 and 14 rebounds, Brown followed with 17 and five, Williams added 15 and six, and Reed was good for 10 and five.

For the game, Harding outrebounded Mentor (47-30).

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