GREEN: Copley had a surprise in store for Green on Friday night.
A very different team showed up for a rematch of a game that Green basically dominated earlier in the season on Copley’s home floor. The personnel was virtually the same, but the approach and strategy assuredly were not.
Copley (8-8, 5-5) controlled the tempo, clamped down on defense and sent the home fans home disappointed with a 51-49 victory over Green, which now finds itself two games behind Suburban League leader Nordonia with four games left.
The Indians employed a deliberate offensive pace, frustrating the Bulldogs who like to get up and down the floor.
“I thought we probably couldn’t outscore them,” Copley coach Mark Dente said. “So we tried to slow the game down, spread the floor and attack them. We shot a lot of layups today.”
A sticky man-to-man defense never let Green (14-2, 8-2) get the lead after the first quarter, though it remained close throughout. The Bulldogs tied it twice, at the end of the third quarter and early in the fourth.
“Defensively, we got after it,” said Dente, whose voice held out to the end despite barking instructions at his team all night. “That was as good as we can play defensively. They are a very good offensive team.”
Jayln Tyler, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, scored a game-high 13 points and added four assists while directing the offense. His driving layup made it 47-43 with 1:50 left, and his two free throws pushed it to 50-45 with 34.6 seconds to go.
Dan Fanelly, who led Green with 12 points and nine rebounds, sank two free throws, cutting the deficit to three before Copley’s DeAire Andrew made 1-of-2 from the line with 28.7 remaining.
Green had a final possession but missed two attempts from the floor before Eddie Janini scored off a rebound as the buzzer sounded, leaving Green two points short and sparking a Copley celebration at the other end of the court.
“Coach just told us to slow the game down, play our game and just get into our sets,” Tyler said. “And once we bring them off the man, we can control the game that way as long as we stayed up.”
In Green’s 71-58 win at Copley, the Bulldogs forged a big early lead and stayed in a zone defense most of the way, forcing the Indians to fire away from outside with little success. Copley avoided falling into that trap this time.
“We came into this game with a different mindset, different game plan,” Tyler said.
Copley’s Kenny Paramore, a 6-2 senior, had nine points and six rebounds. Will Thomas, a 5-10 junior, scored nine points, all in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs’ Austin Marciniak was fouled on a long distance heave at the end of the first half and made all three free throws, cutting Green’s deficit to 25-22 at the half. A 3-point shot from the corner by Marciniak at the third-quarter buzzer tied it 39-39.
“We got more out on the shooters,” said Andrew, a 6-3 senior who added seven points. “Last time their shooters made a lot of clutch shots that determined the game. We just played harder than the last time because we wanted it more.”
Marciniak, a 6-2 sophomore, scored 11 points for Green. Josh Pritchard, a 6-8 senior had eight points and three assists.
“They [Copley] did a great job taking care of the ball, spreading us out and looking for shots they wanted,” Green coach Mark Kinsley said. “Hats off to Copley. They played great tonight.”
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