But that’s exactly what the Western Reserve boys basketball team was shooting for in Friday night’s Firelands Conference tilt against visiting Monroeville at Western Reserve High School.
After a competitive half of basketball, the Roughriders exploded for 32 points in the third quarter catapulted itself to a 75–59 win to cap off the perfect FC record of 14-0 (16-4 overall).
The Eagles closed out the regular season at 7-15 overall (3-11 FC).
Aiden Markley led the third quarter assault with 14 of his points — he drilled four shots from behind the three-point arc and demoralized the Eagles defense. John Skrada and Luke Rowlinson each connected from long distance as well to give Western Reserve six for the quarter.
“Anytime you make that many three pointers in one quarter, and I don’t care who you are playing, that can be a dagger — and that really was the key separator for us,” Western Reserve coach Chris Sheldon said. “I thought that they came in with a lot of momentum and after we missed a shot in the lane, and they took it right down and scored to make it a three-point game.
“Then from that point on, Markley took over and got some good looks, and so did Skrada and Rowlinson. But that is what good teams do,” he added. “To go undefeated in the conference, and if you look at the record books, only four teams in this school’s history has done that ... this school has been here for 56-plus years and they are just the fourth to do it. That’s says a lot about this team.”
Monroeville gave the ‘Riders their best shot in a season that saw the Eagles attempt to turn the corner. They won seven games following a one-win season and brought in a new coaching staff under Paul Roeder.
“That was the best half we have played all season, and actually probably the best game, but Western Reserve is a very good team and it wasn’t enough,” Roeder said. “They are strong in the third quarter and we have struggled most of the season, so we knew they were going to come out strong and that is what they did.
“We tried everything to slow them down,” he added. “We tried a 2-3 zone, a 3-2, man-to-man, but it didn’t seem to matter in that third quarter. We played pretty good offensively, but it’s hard to overcome a 32-point quarter.”
John Skrada added 17 points to help Markley pace the Rider offense that shared the ball well and ultimately shot 52 percent from the field as they ran away with the win.
“It was nice to see Markley finish with a game like that,” Sheldon said. “But I am sure everyone probably noticed how happy the rest of the team was for him — that is just the kind of team we have here. They are unselfish and play the game the right way.”
Coach Roeder said that if the Eagles play with the same intensity with Crestline in their Division IV sectional game next week, they have a great shot to win in the tournament opener.
“I don’t know that we have turned the corner, but after just one win last season it would be nice to get a tournament win,” Roeder said. “We are pretty evenly-matched with Crestline and if we can come away with a win it would be good for the seniors who haven’t had a lot of success during their careers — they definitely deserve.”
MONROEVILLE (7-15, 3-11)
Meritt Key 1-0—3; Trevor Schafer 1-0—2; Anthony Dublo 1-0—2; Cody Schaffer 4-1—12; Chayce Schaub 2-2—4; Isaac Roeder 9-1—20; Mason Tonelli 1-0—2; Gunner Howell 3-0—6; Eli Sweet 2-0—4. TOTAL 24-4—59
WESTERN RESERVE (16-4, 14-0)
Cory Hipp 2-2—6; John Skrada 6-3—17; Jace Muenz 4-0—10; Aiden Markley 10-2—30; Luke Rowlinson 2-1—6; Adam Lewis 1-0—2; Hayden Huntington 1-2—4. TOTAL 26-10—75
Monroeville 15 15 16 13 — 59
W. Reserve 16 19 32 8 — 75
3-point FGs: (M) C. Schaffer 3, Schaub 2, Key, Roeder (WR) Markley 6, Skrada 2, Muenz 2, Rowlinson.
JV: W. Reserve, 53-37