WESTLAKE - North Ridgeville and Westlake opened the season with new head coaches Friday night.
Former assistant coach Bill Noggle was taking over for the Rangers while Bob Patton was in charge of the Demons.
Both were looking at a lot of inexperience at several positions and both were looking to see who would step up and help their team.
North Ridgeville had the edge as 6-foot-10 junior Drew McGhee anchored the Rangers` along with a pair of 6-foot-5 forwards, junior starter Keene Cockburn and senior Adam Quinones.
Westlake, meanwhile, had only two returning starters in junior Scott Bishop, a 6-3 guard, and 6-3 forward Alex Pandrangi.
The advantage paid off as North Ridgeville came away a 43-34 winner, with McGhee scoring 22 points, blocking seven shots and grabbing 13 rebounds. Cockburn added 12 points and six rebounds.
Although the score doesn`t indicate it, Westlake stayed with the Rangers, trailing by only two points, 22-20, at halftime and six after three quarters at 31-25.
It was then that North Ridgeville opened up the game by going on an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.
"We knew coming in that this would not be an easy game," Noggle said. "The high point of the game was when we had a five-point lead and we were able to move that up to 10 and take control of the game.
"We got the shots we wanted on three straight possessions. That`s when we pulled away. That is a very well-coached team over there. We knew Coach Patton would have his team ready to play."
"Our defense was outstanding tonight. Coming into the season, we stressed defense and our kids bought into it. Tonight they did a great job."
McGhee did not have the easy night people might have thought he would have.
"They really played physical," he said. "They put up a good fight. The win was important for us, but this is just one win. We have nineteen more games to play starting with Rocky River. We have two weeks off and we can work on the things we need to."
"We were really, really nervous," Patton said. "It took us the whole first quarter to even catch the ball. We were jittery and really struggling and that translated into the way we shot the ball. To start the game we missed an easy layup.
"I thought we competed hard and defensively we were OK, but we couldn`t make them pay for all the turnovers we got. I guess you could say we just had a poor shooting night. And that was from everybody."
The Rangers have the next two weeks off before hosting Rocky River while Westlake will take on the Pirates on Tuesday night.
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Ridgeville 43, Westlake 34
NORTH RIDGEVILLE(43): Drew McGhee 9-4-22, Keene Cockburn 4-3-12, Adam Quinones 2-0-4, Will Mahafey 0-2-2, Tim Ice 1-0-2, Dan Montgomery 0-1-1, Jeff Hammond 0-0-0, Matt Murphy 0-0-0, Nick Rogerson 0-0-0. Totals 16-10-43.
WESTLAKE (34): Chris Considine 4-1-11, Alex Pandrangi 3-1-8, Ouddi Hamdan 2-2-7, Mike Buskey 1-0-3, Shane Skelley 1-1-3, Tyrone Eisom 1-0-2, Dave LeBeau 0-0-0, Scott Bishop 0-0-0 . Totals 12-5-34.
North Ridgeville Â Â Â 16Â Â Â 6Â Â Â 9Â Â Â Â Â Â 12 Â Â Â - Â Â 43
WestlakeÂ Â Â 9Â Â Â 11Â Â Â 5Â Â Â 9Â Â Â Â - Â Â 34
Three-point goals: (NR) Keene Cockburn, (W) Hamdan, Considine 2, Buskey, Pandrangi.Â Â Field Goals: N Ridgeville 16-32, Westalke 12-44. Free Throws: North Ridgeville 10-15, Westlake 5-11. Rebounds: N Ridgeville 30 (McGhee 13) Westlake 19 (Skelly 5). Turnovers: N Ridgeville 23 Westlake 13. Fouls: North Ridgeville 11, Westlake 14.
Junior Varsity: North Ridgeville 46 Westlake 44.