Scarabs struggle to score, fall behind early
St. Edward 89, Cleveland East Tech 64
Friday evening’s Division I semifinal between Lakewood St. Edward and Cleveland East Tech was a story of everything going right for one team and nearly everything going south for the other. The mighty Lakewood St. Edward Eagles made sure it was the one enjoying the night.
The Eagles fell to Toledo Whitmer in a 2012 semifinal encounter, but on Friday it left no doubt about their spot in Saturday’s championship game. Ed’s hammered the Scarabs in nearly every aspect of the game from the opening tip making East Tech’s first trip to the state tournament since 1972 a night to forget.
In a game where the lead grew to as many as 31 points, the Eagles (25-2) cruised past East Tech, 89-64, and now await the winner of Upper Arlington and Trotwood-Madison.
East Tech was getting handled, but its hopes for a comeback became even more slim after leading-scorer K.T. Taylor (6 points) left the game with an injury and never returned. The Scarabs struggles were in large part due to a 6-of-24 showing from the field in the 1st half as Ed’s took a, 43-23, lead into the locker room.
Junior Kipper Nichols got off to a fast start scoring 10 points in the opening quarter and 16 points in the half on a series of Karl Malone like baseline jumpers. Senior Tony Vuyancih added eight points during a very efficient 1st half that saw the Eagles make 16-of-24 action shots.
The Eagles continued to pour it on in the 3rd quarter behind 10 points from 6-foot-9 sophomore Derek Funderburk, who is a rising star. Senior Will Meyer, a very underrated player, tallied six points in the period. Ed’s led, 74-45, heading into the final eight minutes.
Give East Tech (24-4) a ton of credit for never quitting and playing a fiery 4th quarter. Senior Johnell Free powered his way to seven points, while freshman Markell Johnson chipped in four and junior Kory Cullum added the same. Johnson, who is a serious athlete, served up a one-handed facial that was rather impressive.
Ed’s received 25 points from Nichols on 9-of-12 shooting, and added five rebounds. Meyer totaled 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and also chipped in five boards. Funderburk followed with 12 points, and Vuyancih notched 10 counters. Second leading-scorer Marsalis Hamilton had just seven points, but was saddled with foul trouble almost the entire 1st half only playing three minutes.
Junior Anthony Carmon paced the Scarabs with 16 points, while Free scored 15 and Johnson notched 13.
Ed’s held a distinct, 37-20, advantage on the boards. One glaring issue for head coach Eric Flannery and his Eagles in this contest was 22 turnovers, which needs cleaned up.
East Tech was just 14-of-29 at foul line.
Stat of the Game
Lakewood St. Edward shot a sizzling (71.6%) from the field on 33-of-46 shooting, and added 19-of-21 makes the charity stripe.
Player of the Game
Kipper Nichols shot 9-of-12 from the field and scored 25 points.
Lakewood St. Edward is the deepest and most complete team we have seen all year.
Photos by Gary Housteau (JJHuddle.com/Bucknuts.com)