The Comets, the 10th seed, downed North Ridgeville 59-38 for the right to play
top-seeded Westlake for a third time this season. The teams will square off in the sectional final Friday night at 7:30.
The Comets (6-15) came out flying up and down the floor thanks to an up-tempo offense and pressure defense that forced the 1-20 Rangers into 20 turnovers.
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“One reason we pressed tonight was to get off to a better start,” Amherst coach John Srnis said. “We’ve got off to two poor starts in our last two games. We wanted to pick the tempo up and force them to play fast and, offensively, we wanted to attack. I thought we did both of those.
“We’re not usually a pressure team, but we felt that that would be our best advantage to win. (North Ridgeville) is good when they play a slower tempo, so we wanted to speed it up and give ourselves more opportunities and more possessions.”
Amherst used that up-tempo offense to open a 22-9 lead after the first quarter, thanks to the hot hands of Griffin Weir and Garrett Klekota, who scored 16 of the 22 points and 38 of the team’s 59 total points. Weir had 24 and Klekota 14.
“Tonight, Griffin was one of the better athletes out there and he got hot and attacked the basket well and hit open shots,” Srnis said. “Garrett had a good floor game for us. Those two guys have to carry us.”
“I was able to get good looks tonight,” Weir said. “Nice, solid 15-footers and open layups. Garrett was able to feed me on the blocks and I’d get good looks and get to the free throw line a bunch of times. This week at practice we kind of scratched the whole slow-down thing and just got after it. Tonight I think we did that very well.”
Weir scored all 10 of his team’s points in the third quarter.
“If that’s what it takes to win I guess that’s what it takes,” Weir said. “This was our first win in two weeks so it helps get our confidence up. It was a real confidence builder.”
Klekota thought he could have had an even better game.
“I had my spurts,” Klekota said. “I probably could have hit a couple of more but I’ll take hitting a couple of threes. … I like playing fast a lot.”
Not surprisingly, North Ridgeville coach Bill Noggle was disappointed.
“I thought (Amherst) had a good game plan,” he said. “They did a nice job of making us to play a little higher tempo. But I just wish we could have gotten this one for our seniors. I hate to have the seniors go out like this. They’re such a great group.”
Amherst 56, North Ridgeville 38
AMHERST (56): Griffin Weir 7-9-24, Garrett Klekota 6-0-14, Adam Srnis 2-0-6, Nick Glowacki 2-1-5, Guy Schuler 1-1-3, Brent Nowicki 1-1-3, Anthony Eliopoulos 1-0-2, Jordan Irvin 0-1-1, Marcus Schmitz 0-1-1Zach Srnis 0-0-0, Kyle Kelley 0-0-0, Matt Kneisel 0-0-0. Totals 20-14-59.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (38): Dennis Millgard 4-0-11, Andrew Sismour 1-3-5, Matt Clark 2-0-4, Zach See 2-0-4, Myron Johnson 2-0-4, Nolan Freeman 1-1-3, Nate Inal 1-0-2, James Schwarzer 1-1-3, Dan Teitenberg 1-0-2. Totals 15-5-38.
Amherst 22 11 10 16 — 59
North Ridgeville 9 7 4 18 — 38
Three-point goals: Amherst (5) Klekota 2, A Srnis 2, Weir 1, North Ridgeville: (3) Millgard 3. Field goals: Amherst 20-54(37 percent), North Ridgeville 15-37 (40 percent). Free throws: Amherst 14-18 (77 percent), North Ridgeville 5-8 (62 percent). Rebounds: Amherst 33 (Weir 5), North Ridgeville 23 (Sismour 8). Turnovers: Amherst 11, North Ridgeville 20. Total fouls: Amherst 9, North Ridgeville 13.
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.