Better late than never for Wildcats in season-opening win over G-Men

By A.J. ATKINSON | CORRESPONDENT Published:

Despite only having two weeks worth of practice due to the football team's long playoff run, the Mogadore Wildcats beat Garfield Tuesday night on the G-Men's own court, 63-49.

Regardless of what one would believe, it was not the Wildcats (1-0, 1-0 Portage Trail Conference County Division) with their limited basketball conditioning who tired in the second half. At the start of the third quarter, Garfield (1-3, 0-1) only trailed Mogadore by a point. Eight minutes later, Garfield's nine turnovers and sloppy play gave all the momentum to the Wildcats, who led by 12 points by the end of the third period.

Mogadore did not allow Garfield to get any closer, scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter and holding the G-Men to 14 to seal the victory.

"No effort. No energy. Mentally not there," a frustrated Garfield coach Andy Olesky said of his team's play in the second half. "We didn't come ready to play and Mogadore did what they're supposed to do."

Mogadore coach Russ Swartz said, with only the two weeks of conditioning, he expected the Wildcats to run off momentum.

Mogadore had a momentous first quarter start, including Austin Mahoney's two quick 3-pointers. This momentum tapered, but their momentum at the start of the third off the hot hand of Hunter Van Camp carried much longer.

Van Camp killed the G-Men on backdoor cuts to the basket, scoring the Wildcats' first four baskets of the third quarter. Of Van Camp's 18 total points, all but two came in the second half.

"We did a good job of moving the ball," Swartz said. "Van Camp was the recipient of that in the third, and Mahoney with his three (3-pointers) was in the first (half)."

Garfield did face a major blow by losing Tyler Covey. At 4:34 in the second quarter, the senior forward landed awkwardly after going up for a rebound. Covey left the game with an apparent ankle injury and never returned.

Olesky said losing Covey was a setback, but it did not account for the team's lack of energy from that point on in the game.

"I call Tyler Covey a hybrid," Olesky said. "He does all kinds of things for our team and just makes things happen. That doesn't account for our lack of energy, though."

Through his frustration, Olesky was able to compliment the Wildcats.

"Give credit to their players and coach Swartz," Olesky said. "They stuck it to us. They are a quality team."

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