Streetsboro turns up defense in win Nehlson tallies 18 points in Rockets' 43-37 victory

By Eric Clutter Record-Courier staff writer Published:

STREETSBORO _ The Streetsboro Rockets and the Woodridge Bulldogs played for a little pride Thursday night and the chance for the winner to post its second win of the season.

It came down to which squad wanted it more. And with a solid fourth quarter, it was the Rockets who garnered this Portage County League cross-division encounter 43-37.

The victory improved the Rockets to 2-15 overall and 2-9 in the PCL. The long season continues for the Bulldogs who slipped to 1-17 and 0-11 in league play.

Streetsboro was outscored 17-8 by Woodridge in the third stanza and trailed 27-26 heading to the last eight minutes.

The Rockets, however, ran off the first seven points of the fourth quarter and took a 33-26 edge.

Nate Lance's basket off a missed free throw, cut the Bulldogs' deficit to 35-33 with 2:26 remaining.

Woodridge then had a chance to tie, but turned the ball over on a traveling violation at 1:48.

Streetsboro's Chad Rice canned a pair of free throws and followed with a basket inside, increasing the lead to 39-33 with 1:10 showing.

A Paul Weimer 3-pointer pulled the Bulldogs within 40-37 with 25 ticks left, but Rico Zeppetella sank an important free toss with 19 seconds left, giving the Rockets a two-possession lead at 41-37.

Zeppetella's layup at the buzzer provided the final margin.

"When we got down in the third quarter, we could have folded," said rookie Streetsboro coach Bruce Thomas. "But our kids didn't quit and they kept working hard. They knew what they had to do and they got it done."

Excluding its 17-point third quarter, Woodridge managed only 20 points the remaining three periods, including a three-point second stanza when the Bulldogs were held without a field goal. That allowed Streetsboro to take an 18-10 lead at the half.

"Defensively," said Thomas, "I thought we did a tremendous job, especially in the first half _ holding a team to 10 points and two field goals.

"I'm proud of our kids because they never gave up. They worked hard, and everybody who came into the ballgame did a nice job for us."

First-year Woodridge coach Guy Klapp was really bothered by his team's play from the outset, knowing the Bulldogs had an opportunity to get a rare victory.

"How we could come out and play flat in a game like this is entirely baffling," he said.

"We're the worst shooting team I've ever coached in my life. I've never seen a team that can't score. We actually can't score. We missed uncontested layups, wide-open jump shots and foul shots. We absolutely can't score."

Joe Longhitano led Woodridge with nine points. Lance had eight.

Sean Nehlsen was the offensive star for the Rockets as he scored a season-high 18 points. Rice had seven.

_____

Streetsboro 43, Woodridge 37

(At Streetsboro)

WOODRIDGE (37) _ Drew Amos 0 2-4 2; Joe Longhitano 3 2-2 9; Paul Weimer 1 3-6 6; Ryan Fink 0 0-0 0; Nate Lance 2 4-8 8; Kenny Welch 0 2-2 2; Matt Morris 2 0-0 6; Brent Spillan 1 0-0 2; David Uscilowski 1 0-0 2. Totals 10 13-22 37.

STREETSBORO (43) _ Jim Docherty 2 0-0 4; John Sabol 1 3-4 5; Matt Miller 1 0-0 3; Chad Rice 2 3-4 7; Sean Nehlsen 6 3-4 18; Rico Zeppetella 1 2-4 4; Jeremy Ogden 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 11-16 43.

WOODRIDGE 7 3 17 10 _ 37

STREETSBORO 9 9 8 17 _ 43

Three-point goals _ Woodridge (4): Morris 2, Weimer 1, Longhitano 1. Streetsboro (4): Nehlsen 3, Miller 1.

Total Fouls _ Streetsboro, 19-16.

Total Rebounds _ Streetsboro, 40-24.

JV Score _ Woodridge, 55-34. Leading scorers: (W) Jake Mugford, 14 points; (S) Canaan Christ, Tim McVay, 6 points apiece.

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