LAKE TWP.: The calendar says January, but the Green boys basketball team already has its sights set on March.
Green defeated host Lake 56-51 Tuesday night with four players scoring in double figures. The Bulldogs gladly took the win, and the possible ramifications that might come at seeding time for the Division I sectional/district tournament at Alliance.
“We knew we had to come in because this [could] determine who gets the first seed in the district,” Green guard Austin Marciniak said. “We came in and we were ready to take it. We haven’t had the first seed ever [in Division I], and we want to be that team.”
Marciniak, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead Green (13-1) over Lake (12-3).
Green coach Mark Kinsley said North Canton Hoover, Lake, Canfield and Warren Harding are among the teams who will also be in the Alliance district.
“We knew coming in that tonight’s game was important for seeding,” Kinsley said.
Green 6-6 senior Dan Fanelly contributed 13 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal Tuesday.
“We shared the ball really well,” Fanelly said. “Everybody was contributing, and on the defensive end everybody was contributing too, which was big. … We stopped them, got open looks for everybody and started knocking some shots down.”
Mitchell Spotleson, a 6-4 junior, helped Lake lead 11-10 after one quarter and 24-23 at halftime. He finished with 15 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Green turned a 36-35 deficit into a 40-36 edge after three quarters, and capped a 10-0 run to lead 46-36 with 6:04 to go in the fourth quarter. Lake cut its deficit to no closer than three points in the fourth quarter.
“We felt the momentum kind of shift into our favor and we just kept building on it,” Fanelly said. “Then they went on their little run toward the end of the fourth [quarter], which put them back in it. We fought through it, got a couple of big rebounds and knocked in some free throws.”
The Bullodgs got 11 points apiece from 6-2 senior Eddie Janini and 6-8 senior Josh Pritchard.
“As a team, we really move the ball well,” Marciniak said. “We just got open shots and everything was falling. In the first half, nothing fell. We came through and we knew shots were going to drop. We picked it up on the defensive end and started making buckets.”
Kinsley said halftime helped his team rally.
“We talked at halftime about just slowing down offensively,” Kinsley said. “I thought we rushed some shots and took some shots that we normally don’t take in the first half. I thought we did a better job of slowing down offensively and, obviously, Eddie Janini and Austin Marciniak knocking down some threes was big, and then Dan Fanelly was key. He is our best player and he played like it tonight.”
Lake 6-3 junior Alex Belinsky (12 points) and 6-2 senior Chaese Vaudrin (10 points) also reached double figures.
“I thought they hit some big shots at quality times and I don’t think we shot the ball as we had been this year,” Lake coach Tom McBride said. “That is the difference in a five-point game. We gave up  points, so we obviously did a decent job defending. We have to score more baskets. We are not getting the ball in the hole enough. They have got a nice team. In the grand scheme of things, it was a great game between two rival communities.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.