WESTLAKE — North Ridgeville wasn’t in awe of Westlake, which entered Saturday 13-2 and with nine more wins on its resume. The Rangers put together a solid effort as a non-conference underdog, but it wasn’t quite enough to topple the Demons.
The Rangers team that lost to Rocky River on Friday night gave its fans reason to be excited and showed what it can do when it really wants to.
“I think sometimes these guys play to the level of their competition,” North Ridgeville coach Bryan Morgan said. “Every time these guys have a challenge they step up and they play well.
“I’m very proud of the way they played tonight. They competed against one of the better teams in Northeast Ohio and hopefully that shows we can compete against anybody.”
The Rangers (4-15) kept it close the entire first half. They led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter and trailed 25-22 at the half.
It was the third quarter that bit the Rangers — as it has been for so many games. Westlake won the period 19-13 and opened up a 44-35 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to make a big statement going into the tournament draw, so we played our hardest,” North Ridgeville’s Dennis Millgard said. “We wanted to play good defense and execute our plays on offense. We made shots and kept it close.”
Three-point baskets by Tyler Arnold and Matt Clark cut the Westlake lead to 48-41 with 5:18 to play. North Ridgeville’s Jordan Montgomery tried his hardest in the closing minutes to force a tie but wasn’t able to pull it off.
Westlake’s Gavin Skelly closed the door with two free throws in the last 20 seconds.
“We came out and gave it everything we had,” Arnold said. “We were motivated by the coaches. Everyone is never happy after a game like last night.”
Arnold led the Rangers with 10 points, and Clark finished with nine. Skelly scored a game-high 23 points, and Joe Hdib-Nissan added 14 for the Demons.
“They put five scorers on the floor at the same time and that’s tough for us,” Westlake coach Shawn Hood said of the Rangers. “Gavin Skelly and Cameron Brown are used to playing defense close to the basket and when they have to get out to chase people around, that’s tough.”
Contact Ron Nenadal at 327-7135 or email@example.com.
Westlake 56, North Ridgeville 50
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (50): Dennis Millgard 2-0-5, Nolan Freeman 1-2-4, Matt Clark 3-0-9, Jordan Montgomery 1-4-6, Tyler Arnold 3-2-10, Collin Sullinger 1-0-3, Chad Kisel 2-0-6, Braylon King 0-1-1, Nathan Colbert 2-0-4, Demario McCall 1-0-2. Totals 16-9-50.
WESTLAKE (56): Anthony Trijillo 2-0-5, Joe Hadib-Nissan 6-1-14, Gavin Skelly 9-5-23, Cameron Brown 2-0-4, Makis Beach 3-0-7, Danny Slavik1-0-3. Totals 23-10-56.
North Ridgeville 14 8 13 15 — 50
Westlake 13 12 19 12 — 56
Three-point goals: North Ridgeville 9-15 (60 percent) Kisel 2, Clark 3, Arnold 2, Millgard, Sullinger; Westlake 4-13 (30 percent) Slavik, Trujillo, Hadib-Nissn, Beach. Field goals: North Ridgeville 7-24 (29 percent), Westlake 19-36 (52 percent). Free throws: North Ridgeville 9-13 (69 percent), Westlake 6-10 (60 percent). Rebounds: North Ridgeville 11 (Kisel 3), Westlake 19 (Skelly 10). Turnovers: North Ridgeville 16, Westlake 11. Total fouls: North Ridgeville 13, Westlake 15.
Junior varsity: North Ridgeville, 45-37.