Behind a career-high 33 points from junior Cameron Kuhn, the host Sailors (2-0) darted out to a 20-7 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, winning the tournament title 71-55 over Margaretta.
In the consolation game, the Roughriders connected on 10 3-pointers en route to a 67-48 win over Brookside (0-2).
“When you’re coming off a 5-16 year, you’ll gladly take something like this,” Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl said. “We know we can do really good things, it’s just a matter of us coming out and executing every single night. Any championship, any success we can get, we are definitely not going to be upset about.”
Kuhn scored 15 points in the second quarter, helping the Sailors take a 43-17 advantage to the locker room. And he didn’t cool off any during the break, tossing in 10 of Vermilion’s 12 third-quarter points, while pushing the lead to 55-36.
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Kuhn said. “We were all passing real well tonight. We were hitting the open man, and I just happened to be at the other end of it and took advantage of it.
“Our intensity on defense, that’s what got us to where we were tonight. It made us hyped and just got us going. Coach always says that we have to win the first three minutes of each half, because that decides the game. That’s what we did.”
“He did a fantastic job tonight,” Habermehl said of Kuhn. “Last night against Brookside I think he pressed a little too much and tried a little too hard, but tonight you could tell he was more relaxed.”
With the big lead the Sailors took into the second half of play, it would have been easy to hit the cruise control, but Habermehl made sure his team didn’t let Margaretta back into the game.
The closest the Polar Bears could get was 14 the rest of the night.
“It was all we had just to keep them focused (in the second half),” Habermehl said. “That’s tough for anybody, I don’t care what level you are at. And give Margaretta a lot of credit. They played incredibly hard and stayed after it, and obviously they caused us to sweat a little bit in the second half.”
Vermilion junior Forrest Boyd helped to spark the Sailors out of the gate, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the first half. But like Kuhn, Boyd praised his teammates for the winning effort.
“I thought we played really well as a team,” he said. “We came out energetic on defense, and on offense we just tried to play within ourselves. We didn’t want to force anything, and the shots were falling. That got us out quickly. I think that as long as we continue to play like that, we can contend this year.
“It feels great to start out winning our first two, and doing it as a team. Playing as a team makes things a lot better.”
“I want to commend our kids on how they came out tonight,” Habermehl said. “We challenged them — knowing that they would be a little bit tired from pressing last night — to really get after it. I have to give them a lot of credit. They came out just on fire tonight defensively, and that gave us a lot of easy baskets.”
In the night’s first game, Western Reserve broke things open by hitting a barrage of 3-pointers in the second and third quarters, turning a one-point lead after a quarter into a 20-point cushion midway through the third.
Western Reserve sophomore guard Nate Good hit on five of the 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 17 points, while Brookside was paced by senior Alex Robinson with 13 points and sophomore Cameron Drew with 12.
Good and Robinson were named to the all-tournament team, as were Kuhn and senior Anthony Rini of Vermilion and Margaretta’s Bailey and senior Austin Moore. Moore was sidelined for most of the championship game after injuring his ankle in the first quarter.
Contact John McDermott at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vermilion 71, Margaretta 55
MARGARETTA (55): Dylan Bailey 5-8-19, Logan Brauer 0-2-2, Hunter Dye 3-1-9, Tyler Kane 2-4-8, Andy Riesterer 2-0-4, Ben Singer 1-0-2, Austin Spicer 2-1-6, Austin Moore 1-0-2, Beau Beechler 0-3-3. Totals 16-19-55.
VERMILION (71): Anthony Rini 3-2-8, Cameron Kuhn 12-8-33, Forrest Boyd 7-0-15, Kyle Nader 1-0-3, Seth Konrad 2-0-4, Ross Lewis 1-0-3, Ryan Miller 0-2-2, Zach Myracle 1-0-3. Totals 27-12-71.
Margaretta 7 10 19 19 — 55
Vermilion 20 23 12 16 — 71
Three-point goals: Margaretta 4-12 (Dye 2, Bailey, Spicer); Vermilion 5-14 (Nader, Kuhn, Lewis, Boyd, Myracle). Field goals: Margaretta: 16-38 (42 percent); Vermilion 27-58 (47 percent). Free throws: Margaretta: 19-25 (76 percent); Vermilion 12-19 (63 percent). Rebounds: Margaretta 19; Vermilion 28. Turnovers: Margaretta 22; Vermilion 11. Fouled out: None.
Western Reserve 67, Brookside 48
BROOKSIDE (48): Alex Robinson 5-3-13, Mito Agosto4-1-9, Nathan Keith 3-3-9, Tim Crnko1-0-2, Cameron Drew 4-2-12, Christian Gray 1-0-3. Totals 18-9-48.
WESTERN RESERVE (67): Nate Good 5-2-17, Jacob Muenz 2-0-5, Zack Blankinship 1-0-2, Mitch Robson 0-3-3, Kevin Boose 6-0-15, Willie Roth 1-2-4, Gabe Price 0-2-2, Nate Ash 2-2-6, Zack Nissen 3-0-7, Dave Hawkins 3-0-6. Totals 23-11-67.
Brookside 6 8 15 19 — 48
Western Reserve 7 18 25 17 — 67