OLMSTED TWP. — One of the best traits Olmsted Falls possesses, as evidenced by a quick third-quarter run last week in a win over unbeaten Westlake, is its ability to turn it on at any time.
It also happens to be one of its worst traits.
The Bulldogs have used their explosiveness to turn close games into lopsided victories and — in the Westlake win and another a week prior over fellow unbeaten Berea-Midpark — to make the difference in big victories.
And yet sometimes they rely on it too much, which can produce lackadaisical stretches. But again Olmsted Falls survived one of those stretches by turning up its intensity in the third quarter during a rare Thursday night game, an eventual 65-42 win over North Olmsted.
Olmsted Falls’ Alex Mitchell, who led all scorers with 19 points, said there’s an easy solution for when perhaps the intensity isn’t where it should be — a spot on the bench. The Bulldogs rotate 11 to 12 guys at various times, so whoever isn’t getting the job done takes a seat.
“If we’re not playing our hardest, (Coach Chris Delisio) will make a switch,” Mitchell said. “That’s a good sign to us that we need to play harder.”
The Eagles — who at 7-6 (3-5 in the Southwestern Conference) have already won six more games than last season — had chances early in the third quarter to make this one a game. They just couldn’t find any offensive consistency.
North Olmsted solved Olmsted Falls’ early pressure and took the lead midway through a slow-moving first quarter, but ran out of steam offensively, scoring only on two Josh Hufstetler free throws in a seven-minute stretch.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, got moving thanks to a pair of threes from Nick Fritz and Alex Mitchell, and a pair of driving Sam Lombardo buckets early in the second to grab a 20-7 lead. The Eagles rallied briefly as Matt Starcovic, their best shooter, got loose for a couple threes, but another Lombardo driving basket pushed the Bulldogs lead back to nine at the half.
Olmsted Falls scored seven of the first nine in the third — including an Adam Asadorian 3-pointer — but the Eagles cut it back to 11 with three minutes left after a basket by freshman Josh Hufstetler off a Bulldogs turnover.
“These spurts aren’t a habit I want us to get into, and that was my message for the guys,” said DeLisio, whose team has won 10 in a row and improved to 14-2 overall and 7-1 in the SWC. “It has to be a complete-game thing, and I thought our effort in the third quarter was more what we’re capable of.”
Frustrating for the Eagles was that while they forced 21 Bulldogs turnovers — uncharacteristic for Olmsted Falls — they committed 20 of their own, often unforced.
Combine those miscues with an inability to convert near the basket — the Eagles made only 26 percent of their shots, with many of the misses coming in the paint — and it was a frustrating evening for the North Olmsted, who also played the Bulldogs tough in the teams’ first meeting of the season.
“We could have finished better around the basket, and I’m not sure if we were afraid of getting our shot blocked or something else,” North Olmsted coach Jason Frolo said. “You can’t miss opportunities against this team, and we did.”
Sam Lombardo had 13 and Asadorian 10 to back Mitchell, while Matt Starcovic scored 10, including a couple threes, to lead the Eagles.
Contact Joel Hammond at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olmsted Falls 65, North Olmsted 42
NORTH OLMSTED (42): Jah Tyler 3-3-9, Josh Hufstetler 2-2-6, Matt Starcovic 3-2-10, Scott Cooney 0-2-2, Jason Brent 1-1-3, Ryan Coleman 3-1-7, Andrew Latas 0-5-5. Totals 12-16-42.
OLMSTED FALLS (65): James Sabatka 1-0-2, Evan Burnell 1-0-3, Troy Hurrell 1-2-5, Alex Mitchell 9-0-19, Sam Lombardo 6-0-13, Evan Manley 1-0-2, Adam Asadorian 3-2-10, Nick Fritz 1-0-3, Ryan Sosic 2-0-4, Kevin Meehan 1-2-4. Totals 26-6-65.
North Olmsted 5 10 11 16 — 42
Olmsted Falls 10 14 23 18 — 65
Three-point goals: North Olmsted 2-12 (Starcovic 2), Olmsted Falls 7-15 (Burnell, Hurrell, Mitchell, Lombardo, Asadorian 2, Fritz). Field goals: North Olmsted 12-47 (26 percent), Olmsted Falls 26-47 (55 percent). Free throws: North Olmsted 16-24 (67 percent), Olmsted Falls 6-11 (55 percent). Rebounds: North Olmsted 26 (Andy Lucien 7), Olmsted Falls 33 (Mitchell 5). Total fouls: North Olmsted 13, Olmsted Falls 15. Turnovers: North Olmsted 20, Olmsted Falls 21. Fouled out: Coleman.