GRAFTON — Josh Biber had quite a night, and because he did Lorain Southview is playing Saturday in the championship game of the eighth annual Bob DiFranco Memorial Tournament.
Biber, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, scored 24 points, including a key basket with 15 seconds left in regulation to push the Saints into overtime, and pulled down 11 rebounds in Southview’s 66-57 win over North Royalton Thursday night.
The title game will be at 7:30 in Ed Kubuski Gym against defending champion Midview, winner of the second game Thursday, also in overtime.
North Royalton’s Eric Lebo was equally impressive, scoring 25 points, and turned a layup and free throw with 47 ticks left in the fourth quarter into a 52-47 advantage. It marked Southview’s biggest deficit of the game.
But the Saints (3-3) wouldn’t give up.
First, Quincy Ezell made a layup and followed with a free throw with 38 seconds left to cut the deficit to 52-50. Then after a long lob attempt over Southview’s denial press, the Saints got the ball back and worked it to Biber who hit the short jumper with 15 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
The overtime was all Southview. Biber scored four points and pulled down three rebounds, while guard Drew Laurenti sank 7 of 8 free throws, as the Saints outscored the Bears 14-5.
“Yes, I guess it was my best game ever,” Biber said. “It tied my career best in points, but this was a better all-around game for me. I’ve never had 10 free throws in a game.”
Was he worried when the Bears got that five point lead with less than 50 seconds left?
“Well, there was certainly a feeling of urgency,” he said. “But when we got that steal I was confident we’d score and tie the game. The shot I made was something we practice all the time, and since I had a height advantage on the guy guarding me (5-11 Rodney Munson), I was sure I could put it in.”
Southview coach Andy Bastock was also concerned with the late five-point deficit.
“If this was last year it might have been over then,” he said. “But this year the kids are learning how to win. They’re learning to understand what it takes to get the job done. This was really a big win for us, bringing us up to .500 and getting a shot at a tournament championship.”
North Royalton coach Tim Matus also thought maybe his team was headed for victory with the late five-point lead.
“Everyone in the gym felt we wrapped it up then,” he said. “We just had to make one stop and it would have been over. But we didn’t get it. And then we went cold in overtime.”
In many ways, the game was won at the foul line. North Royalton got called for a whopping 26 fouls (three players fouled out), repeatedly sending the Saints to the line where they made 23 of 32 attempts. The Bears only shot 12 freebies, making 9.
Contact Jerry Rombach at
329-7135 or at email@example.com.
North Royalton 57
SOUTHVIEW (66)—Josh Biber 7-10-24, Quincy Ezell 6-3-16, Drew Laurenti 1-9-11, Montrell Elliott 3-0-6, Mike Anderson 2-1-5, Tony Sanchez 1-0-2, Rick Shawver 1-0-2.Marshall Crum 0-0-0. Totals 21-23-66.
NORTH ROYALTON (57)—Eric Lebo 7-7-25, Dan France 5-0-10, Andy Schmitt 4-1-9, Rodney Munson 3-0-8, Matt Schmitt 1-1-3, Sean Holdmeyer 1-0-2, Kyle Zito 0-0-0, Steve Weber 0-0-0. Totals 21-9-57.
Southview 15 11 14 12 14 — 66
North Royalton 14 14 12 12 5 — 57
Three-point goals—Southview 1 of 3 (Ezell), North Royalton 6 of 15 (Lebo 4, Munson 2); Field goals—southview 21 of 47 (44 percent), North Royalton 21 of 55 (38 percent); Free throws—Southview 23 of 32, North Royalton 9 of 12; Rebounds—Southview 41 (Biber 11, Elliott 8), North Royalton 35 (France 8); Turnovers—Southview 17, North Royalton 20; Fouls—Southview 17 (Crum fouled out), North Royalton 26 (France, Holdmeyer, Schmitt fouled out).