Cameron takes down Madonna
CAMERON — The Cameron basketball programs are crossing milestones off their checklists at a rapid pace.
Just last Saturday, the girls won the first OVAC basketball title in school history. On Tuesday, the boys clinched a spot in their first OVAC championship game in program history with a dominating 73-48 victory over visiting Madonna in the Class A semifinals.
It is quite an accomplishment for the Dragons, but head coach Tom Hart has one more goal in mind.
“We have never been to the championship,” Hart said. “That was a history-making night for the girls the other night and we will get our shot at it on Saturday.
“We will enjoy this tonight and get back to business tomorrow.”
Cameron’s Aidan Lucey proved he had nerves of steel as he took over from the start, scoring all of his game-high 20 points in the first half.
Lucey’s offensive explosion was much needed for the Dragons, who lost their big man Robert Milliken last week to an ankle injury.
“I felt good,” Lucey said. “I was in a rhythm I guess. We wanted to find our roles and try to do things without our big man. Since he’s been out, we kind of have to find new roles and work into them.
“My teammates really helped me out and put me in a position that I normally wouldn’t be in with the big man in there.”
Lucey was locked in during warmups and also received some great advice from his coach.
“During warmups, I talked to Aidan and he seemed more focused that he has been the last couple of games,” Hart said. “He was a little nervous but I told him to transfer that into energy and he came out and really knocked down shots and attacked the basket. It was also probably his best defensive game of the year.”
Hart was looking for several players to step up in Milliken’s absence and he was happy with the results.
“We talked to two younger guys last night in Dillon Meintel and Garrett Scott and told them they will have to fill that role and they both did,” Hart said. “Garrett is an intense player who plays great defense and Dillon has some height and can jump. He also has a smooth shot and smooth moves to the basket. They both really stepped up.”
With Cameron holding a narrow 8-7 lead early in the opening stanza, senior Colby Brown made his presence felt by draining a bucket, drawing contact and sinking the free-throw for a 3-point play. That play started a 9-0 run for the Dragons, extending their lead to 17-7 late in the first.
As time winded down in the first, Trey Scott brought the crowd to its feet with a jump shot just inside the arc to beat the buzzer and give his team a 19-10 advantage.
“We wanted to come out with a quick start,” Madonna coach Chris Blair said. “Cameron just shot the ball extremely well and they got out to a nice lead and it was tough to find a rhythm after that.”
Cameron carried that momentum into the second quarter as it reeled off a 16-2 run to soften the cushion to 33-9.
The Dragons forced the Blue Dons into 11 first-half turnovers and 15 for the game.
“We tried to pick up the intensity on defense with some full-court pressure,” Hart said. “The kids responded to it and we got some turnovers. Then we got some good looks and baskets out of that.”
Turnovers were a problem early in the campaign for the Dons and that kryptonite crept back to haunt them again on Tuesday.
“That was our Achilles heel at the beginning and midway part of the season,” Blair said. “We got a little better at it so I’m a little disappointed that we took a step back (Tuesday).
“A lot of that had to do with how well Cameron played.”
Cameron’s lead got up to 45-23 at halftime and it never looked back as Travis Mickey netted 12 of his 18 points in the second half.
Trey Scott delivered 11 in the win, Colby Brown provided 10 and Meintel turned in nine for Cameron.
“Two seniors, Colby Brown and Trey Scott really led us (Tuesday),” Hart said. “Travis Mickey played really well for us, too.”
Tony Sellitti led the Dons with 18 points and Gavin Dietrich and Dom Mazur followed with eight points each.
“Our goals every year are OVAC, the city championship and the state tournament,” Blair said. “The OVAC championship won’t happen but we still have goals and we can still get better every day. We will get back after it and go to work.”
Cameron 73, Madonna 48
Madonna 10-13-15-10 — 48
Cameron 19-26-16-12 — 73
MADONNA: Lenhart 0 0-0 0; Lemley 0 0-0 0; Dietrich 3 1-2 8; Gurrera 0 0-0 0; Ridgway 0 0-0 0; Mitchell 0 1-4 1; Fuscardo 1 0-0 3; V. Pulice 0 0-0 0; Boniti 1 0-0 2; Sellitti 6 3-3 18; L. Pulice 0 2-2 2; Mazur 4 0-0 8; Rowing 3 0-0 6; Sessi 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 7-11 48.
CAMERON: Clutter 1 0-2 3; Neely 0 0-0 0; T. Scott 4 2-5 11; Lucey 9 0-0 20; Meintel 4 1-2 9; Mickey 7 1-1 18; Burkett 0 0-0 0; Brown 3 4-7 10; Broughton 0 0-0 0; G. Scott 1 0-2 2. Totals 29 8-19 73.
3-POINT GOALS: Dietrich; Fuscardo; Sellitti 3; Clutter, T. Scott; Lucey 2, Mickey 3.