Brooke boys erase early deficit, but close Holiday tournament with loss to Meadville

WELLSBURG — It looked like the Meadville Bulldogs were going to bury the Brooke boys basketball team when they raced out to an 18-2 lead in the first quarter, but the Bruins found themselves and began a run of their own to go into the locker room tied at 24-24. The game was the consolation matchup of the annual Brooke Holiday Tournament inside the Brooke Wellness Center.

Meadville, however, picked up the win, 59-46.

The Bruins had a lot of trouble early with Lashon Lindsey, a 6-7 junior, who kept getting easy shots close to the basket. Bruin coach Cam Koehler set up a zone defense during the break between the first and second quarters and it slowed down Lindsey, who scored 14 of Meadville’s 18 first quarter points. Lindsey scored 13 more in the second half to finished with game scoring honors of 27 points.

“I was surprised at how effective the zone defense was because that’s the first time we used a zone all year,” said Koehler, whose club dropped to 3-5. “We just threw that in to see if we could change the pace and it worked all right. It definitely was a positive for us and it was good to see the guys pick up on something we really haven’t worked a whole lot on.”

Coach Mark McElhinny, who took the Bulldogs (7-1) all the way to the PIAA 5A championship game last year and finished with a 26-2 record, made some adjustments during the halftime break and the zone wasn’t as effective in the second half.

“We struggled with Meadville’s size underneath,” said Koehler. “It is tough for us to deal with a 6-7 kid (Lindsey), especially a talent like him. He’s a tough matchup for us and we gave up a little too much inside to start the game.

“Once we got a little confidence about blocking him out (Lindsey got only 4 points in the second quarter) then we got a little rhythm. We executed what we wanted to do. We just weren’t effective a lot of times with little things like securing the ball and throwing good passes.

“It’s something that has plagued us all year. We’re getting better at it and becoming more effective around the hoop and we’re getting looks that are good shots rather than poor shots. Still, there are momentum swings where we’re making a run and all of a sudden there is a bad turnover.

“Until we can do a complete game where we’re really putting it all together, it is going to be a struggle for us underneath. We are improving on that end and guys are stepping up. I love it.”

One of the things that hurt the Bruins was eight first quarter turnovers.

“The first quarter all year for us has been tough,” said Koehler. “We talk all the time about starting the game off strong. We seem to start out slow and dig ourselves a hole. Luckily, we’ve been able to climb back into the games we’ve done that and actually won a few, but if we can just start the game out well and just maintain pace it could be a totally different outcome or, at least down the stretch it would be a little easier on us.”

The Bruins came back to tie the game three times in the second quarter including the halftime score, but the Bulldogs went on a 12-4 run to start the second half and were never headed from there. They held a 41-33 advantage going into the fourth period and outscored the Bruins 18-13.

Meadville had one other player in double figures as senior Ryan Pero scored 10 points.

Hardworking senior Justin Shelton was the only Brooke player in double digits with 10 points. Evan Cuomo scored 9 while another senior, Garrett Pauls, came off the bench to score 8.

The Bruins will return to the hardwood next Tuesday hosting Ripley at the Wellness Center. The JV start is 5:45 p.m.


¯Brooke Athletic Director, Sean Blumette, said he received many complements on the makeup of the 2017 Brooke Holiday Tournament. The field included Meadville, PA, which went all the way to the PIAA 5A championship game only to return home as state runner up. The Bulldogs had won all 6 of its games going into the tournament but lost it’s first on Friday to the Dunbar Early College Wolverines, which made it to the Ohio semi-finals last year before bowing out. The Wolverines played the Marysville Monarchs in the late championship game.

¯The Brooke Wellness Center was a busy place Saturday as the Lady Bruins played a regular season game at 4:30 p.m. They beat Beaver Local 57-45 with Ashley Arca leading the way with 13 points. Chloe Fox scored 12 and Hope Bowman added 10. Jenna Ricardo scored 18 points to lead the Lady Fighting Beavers.

Meadville 59, Brooke 46

Meadville 18 6 17 18 59

Brooke 8 16 9 13 46

MEADVILLE (7-1): Wilson 3 0-0 7; Manning 1 0-2 2; L. Lindsey 11 5-7 27; Wofford 0 0-0 0; Butler 3 0-0 7; Swick 3 0-0 6; Pero 2 5-6 10; K. Lindsey 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23 10-15 59.

BROOKE (3-5): Moore 0 1-2 1; Shelton 4 1-1 10; Williams 0 2-2 2; Cuomo 4 1-3 9; Rasz 1 0-0 2; Spitak 0 0-0 0; Pennybacker 2 2-3 6; Pauls 4 0-0 8; Georgy 3 0-0 7; Wills 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 18 8-13 46.

3-POINT GOALS: Meadville 3 (Wilson, Butler, Pero); Brooke 2 (Shelton, Georgy). REBOUNDS: Meadville 14 (L. Lindsey 5); Brooke 24 (Moore 5, Pauls 5). TURNOVERS: Meadville 12; Brooke 17.