Greater Cleveland Conference 2020-21

SVillegrad

Well-known member
Here's the weekly update:

1. Mentor (6-0, 3-0): Wins: Kenston (4-1), 93-49; Medina (10-3), 76-65; Warren Harding (1-6), 79-54; Elyria (3-7), 72-51; Brunswick (8-4), 90-72; Benedictine (0-6), 100-80.

2. Medina (10-3, 4-1): Wins: Green (5-7), 72-53; Brunswick (8-4), 78-75; Olmsted Falls (11-2), 80-44; Cleveland Heights (5-8), 57-56; Brecksville (6-2), 85-65; Copley (5-5), 76-62; Elyria (3-7), 64-30; Youngstown Chaney (4-5), 75-67; Strongsville (5-4), 79-73; Solon (4-3), 79-73. Losses: St. Ignatius (10-4), 60-62; Mentor (6-0), 65-76; International Sports Academy, 56-64.

2. Solon (4-3, 2-1): Wins: Chardon (3-4), 85-67; Brunswick (8-4), 78-65; Green (5-7), 82-63; Elyria (3-7), 67-60. Losses: Warrensville Heights (11-1), 78-79; Lutheran East (7-0), 68-74 (OT); Medina (10-3), 73-79.

4. Brunswick (8-4, 3-3): Wins: Fairview Park (3-3), 85-56; Normandy (9-3), 73-64; Medina Highland (7-5), 56-51; Strongsville (5-4), 79-53; Walsh Jesuit (10-3), 67-64; Elyria (3-7), 86-47; Euclid (2-2), 78-57; Wadsworth (6-4), 82-71. Losses: Medina (10-3), 75-78; Solon (4-3), 65-78; Hoban (11-2), 54-59.

The rest is Euclid (2-2, 1-1),Elyria (3-7, 1-5); Strongsville (5-4, 0-3)

Mentor and Medina picked up the two big wins of the weekend to move to the front of the league race. Solon has a chance to get back in it this week against Brunswick on Tuesday and then Mentor on Wednesday. Medina was set to play three league games this week, two against Euclid, but Euclid is back on pause. Solon and Euclid were scheduled for Friday too, so that one I'm assuming is also off. So, Medina just has Strongsville this week. On top of Solon, Mentor has Elyria on Friday.

So, Solon looks to be the story this week. Win both and they are in are right back in the title mix. Conceivably can lose one and still be alive, but if they lose both, it makes it a Mentor/Medina race with Mentor squarely in the driver's seat.

Medina did drop a non-conference game on Saturday to International Sports Academy. I wasn't there and haven't watched the game yet, so not sure how bad of a loss that is. I thought ISA had absorbed the Spire players, but in trying to find out more about them, I see Spire had a game this weekend against the Ypsi Prep program started by Emoni Bates' dad. Only thing I was able to find was ISA lost to Ed's 61-59 the night before and they had earlier losses to Mansfield (54-49) and Hoban (62-28). Mansfield is usually solid but see they are 3-4; Hoban is good, but that score doesn't add up. I'm guessing ISA had been without some players. Anyway, a loss isn't good for the tournament resume, but doesn't seem to be something to panic about.

As for the tournament draw, it looks like Mentor and Medina are the only two in the running for No. 1 seeds. Mentor locks one up, IMO, with a win against Solon. Medina still is in a good position on the west side since Lorain dropped both its games last week, albeit to Ed's and Warrensville, two very good teams. Solon, I guess, still has an outside shot, but that would take beating Mentor twice in the next week and also knock off Brunswick. Even then, the best they can get to at the draw is 8-3, which is going to hurt them.

I'll end with the NEOSports rankings (all divisions):

3. Mentor (NC)
6. Medina (+1)
14. Brunswick (NC ... though they have the record wrong at 9-3)
16. Solon (-3)
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
A couple days late, but I'm just seeing this. Strongsville sophomore Justin Wypasek scored a school record 52 points over the weekend in a win over Elyria Open Door Christian.

Ok, the fact that Strongsville is playing Open Door Christian is an embarrassment. To me that is the bigger surprise than Wypasek dropping 52 on them (the kid is really, really good so actually not surprised he did that to a school like that). And I don't mean to downplay the accomplishment either, because 52 is still 52. But I'm guessing he is going to have bigger games (even if it's not more points) against better opponents in his future. He's legit.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Mentor 71 Solon 53

Solon did a good job of making it very difficult for Chicone, who finished with just 10 points. However, Mentor controlled the game from the start with a 24-7 first quarter. Solon got as close as 9 I believe, but for the most part it was hovering around a 15-point game most of the way. Steven Key led Mentor with 28 points as he continues his strong play. Key took advantage of the attention given to Chicone. Jonah Waag also had a strong game. Mentor is not very deep, especially with sharpshooter Kyle Culler hurt, but they are pretty comfortable giving Chicone 32 minutes and Key/Waag each get around 27-29 in a tight game.

Marcus Steele was getting similar attention as Chicone got from Solon. Mentor didn't make it easy for him, but Steele had a very nice game. After getting punched in the mouth in the 1st quarter, Solon responded and played pretty even the rest of the way.

A nice win for Mentor as they are now 7-0. Friday's game with Elyra (COVID) is cancelled, and Mentor is now travelling to Hudson instead. I don't know much about them. When you look at Mentor's schedule, they are probably the favorites in every single remaining game. I'm not predicting an undefeated regular season, but it wouldn't surprise me. They have comfortably handled the top three teams in the GCC the first time around. I know anything can happen in the rematch though. The non-conference schedule is not very flashy at all. CCC and VASJ are usually very strong, but not this year. Harvey lost their star player (Coffey) to Spire, that game will be a rout. A recent addition like Columbia, a fast-paced DIII team that loves to run it up and down the floor, is completely overmatched. But it is a fun idea. They have regularly scored 100 points this season. Beachwood is on the schedule for some reason, but in a COVID year with lots of moving parts - you take what you can get.

Mentor closes the year with Brush and ISA. Either of those teams, if healthy, are fully capable of beating Mentor.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
Mentor probably locked up one of the No. 1 seeds tonight in the east brackets. I'm not sure what else they have to prove at this point. They are a legit state title contender.

The Columbia game is interesting, to say the least. I see the NEOSports poll has them at No. 25 in their rankings. I guess we'll see. I can't imagine they keep that one close with Mentor.
 

Mr. Red Raider

Well-known member
Mentor 71 Solon 53

Solon did a good job of making it very difficult for Chicone, who finished with just 10 points. However, Mentor controlled the game from the start with a 24-7 first quarter. Solon got as close as 9 I believe, but for the most part it was hovering around a 15-point game most of the way. Steven Key led Mentor with 28 points as he continues his strong play. Key took advantage of the attention given to Chicone. Jonah Waag also had a strong game. Mentor is not very deep, especially with sharpshooter Kyle Culler hurt, but they are pretty comfortable giving Chicone 32 minutes and Key/Waag each get around 27-29 in a tight game.

Marcus Steele was getting similar attention as Chicone got from Solon. Mentor didn't make it easy for him, but Steele had a very nice game. After getting punched in the mouth in the 1st quarter, Solon responded and played pretty even the rest of the way.

A nice win for Mentor as they are now 7-0. Friday's game with Elyra (COVID) is cancelled, and Mentor is now travelling to Hudson instead. I don't know much about them. When you look at Mentor's schedule, they are probably the favorites in every single remaining game. I'm not predicting an undefeated regular season, but it wouldn't surprise me. They have comfortably handled the top three teams in the GCC the first time around. I know anything can happen in the rematch though. The non-conference schedule is not very flashy at all. CCC and VASJ are usually very strong, but not this year. Harvey lost their star player (Coffey) to Spire, that game will be a rout. A recent addition like Columbia, a fast-paced DIII team that loves to run it up and down the floor, is completely overmatched. But it is a fun idea. They have regularly scored 100 points this season. Beachwood is on the schedule for some reason, but in a COVID year with lots of moving parts - you take what you can get.

Mentor closes the year with Brush and ISA. Either of those teams, if healthy, are fully capable of beating Mentor.
So Mentor will have 15 games before the end of the season? That's a solid number given that they were delayed to start the season, and had to pause at least a week due to COVID issues.

Looks like (unless Solon adds some games between now and the 20th), they will sit at 15 games as well. Depending on whether either Medina or Euclid has COVID issues, that game might get cancelled. Mentor's on fire, so the rematch on Tuesday won't be any different IMO. They should beat Harvey, Kent Roosevelt (gonna go to that game on the 12th if it still happens) and Strongsville, and Medina will be a toss-up, since the game will be at home. If Euclid is not on pause, then Solon should beat the Panthers fairly easy. I can see them finishing the season at 10-6. They should get a fairly high seed in the tournament based on their schedule.

For Medina, I can see them finishing up at least 5-2 or 6-1 in the last seven games. The games against Brunswick and Solon could go either way, and I can't see them beating Mentor on the road, unless the Cards have an off night.

The GCC will be decided between these three teams.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
According to Arbiter, Mentor will play 21 games. They close the season playing nine games in 14 days. I don’t see Kent Roosevelt on the schedule though.

Will they play all of those games? Probably not. Krizancic really likes getting all of his games in.

Even though Mentor comfortably beat the other top teams in the GCC the first go around, I take nothing forward granted. Those teams are all talented and very well coached. If Mentor continues to shoot like they have from the outside, they are beatable. Teams are starting to put more pressure and double teams on Chicone, daring guys like Key and Wash to beat them. Lately those two have been up to the task. But that well could run dry one night and the opponent could take advantage.
 
Regarding Strongsville playing Open Door. Teams are picking up any games they can to make up cancellations to get in as many games as possible. (Max of 22 of course). Typically this matchup would not happen. Playing this game is better than no game.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Now Solon is apparently on a COVID vacation. I noticed Mentor's game with them on 2/2 was listed as cancelled, and then on Arbiter it shows that Solon's next few are cancelled. Considering Mentor just played Solon last night, it is possibly this will trickle into another stoppage for Mentor. Or maybe Solon had a kid who was held out sick earlier in the week before results finally confirmed it today. Hopefully that is the case. The fun continues...

Solon was supposed to have games with Euclid and Mentor during this time. Maybe they get made up, maybe not. I don't know how much priority there is on rescheduling league games. Would a GCC school back out of another game in order to get a league game in? I really don't know.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
Now Solon is apparently on a COVID vacation. I noticed Mentor's game with them on 2/2 was listed as cancelled, and then on Arbiter it shows that Solon's next few are cancelled. Considering Mentor just played Solon last night, it is possibly this will trickle into another stoppage for Mentor. Or maybe Solon had a kid who was held out sick earlier in the week before results finally confirmed it today. Hopefully that is the case. The fun continues...

Solon was supposed to have games with Euclid and Mentor during this time. Maybe they get made up, maybe not. I don't know how much priority there is on rescheduling league games. Would a GCC school back out of another game in order to get a league game in? I really don't know.
Who knows. I thought Elyria was likely to pause considering Euclid did a day or two after the two teams played. But Elyria just played (and beat) Strongsville and I'm assuming tomorrow's game between Elyria-Mentor is still on. As far as I know, tomorrow's Medina-Strongsville varsity game is also on (though the JV one was canceled due to COVID). If Solon is shutting back down, they just played Brunswick on Tuesday on top of Mentor on Wednesday, pretty much means every league team could now be dealing with it in some form. I guess we'll see.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Mentor/Elyria was already postponed/cancelled as of a couple days ago. Mentor is going to Hudson tonight instead of hosting Elyria.

Also, apparently Mentor hosts Medina tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 instead of their scheduled game next Friday. Maybe both schools figured let's get it in while we can and try to use next Friday for reschedule purposes?
 
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SVillegrad

Well-known member
Mentor/Elyria was already postponed/cancelled as of a couple days ago. Mentor is going to Hudson tonight instead of hosting Elyria.

Also, apparently Mentor hosts Medina tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 instead of their scheduled game next Friday. Maybe both schools figured let's get it in while we can and try to use next Friday for reschedule purposes?
I think that is exactly why it was moved up as Medina-Strongsville, which was to be tonight, is now also canceled. For Medina, the game at Euclid has been rescheduled, but still no dates for the Euclid game at Medina or tonight's game at Strongsville. I'm guessing one of those two will go in that spot assuming Euclid is back and Strongsville isn't now shut down ... their max prep page has them playing at Mentor tomorrow, which is wrong. I'm guessing what happened was Mentor-Strongsville had agreed to play Saturday until Medina became available with all three of its games being canceled, so with it being the bigger game, they decided to get it in while they can.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Today’s big Mentor/Medina game is postponed. I assume COVID on one of these teams. Mentor played last night, not sure about Medina.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Mentor 97 Brunswick 91

That might be the highest combined score I remember for a Mentor game since the one with St Eds about ten years ago where both teams scored over 100.

Tonight's game with Brunswick was played at a very high pace (naturally) from beginning to end. The referees certainly were not shy with their whistles on either end. Not enough help defense on either end, but both teams looked content with the style of the game. Brunswick mixed in a little zone here and there, but for the most part stayed in man. Mentor was led in scoring by Key, Chicone, and Waag as usual. Ian Kipp had his best scoring game of his varsity career, or at least the best to my knowledge. He finished with probably 14 points. Mentor's rotation was as tight as I have seen it. And considering the pace and foul trouble, I was surprised they were able to maintain that. The team sorely misses their best shooter, Kyle Culler. Hopefully he gets back for the tournament.

I said it after the first game and I am even more confident of this fact tonight. Tre Massey (appropriately named) is very, very good. The only thing that slowed him down was an apparent ankle injury late in the 3rd. Massey had 34 points on probably 15 shots through three quarters. He came down awkwardly on a drive to the hoop and came up hobbling a bit. He finished the game and never came off the floor, but never scored again. Before the injury, Massey was hitting some ridiculous jumpers. Mentor didn't make it easy for him, but his trigger is as quick and good as any I have seen. That kid can flat out shoot.

Brunswick's Barnett (33 points I believe) had a much, much better showing than the first game. He took over the 4th quarter when Massey was a little down. When Mentor beat Brunswick rather easily in Lake County, Massey was terrific but Barnett had an off night. When they are both on, Brunswick is tough to beat. That duo is pretty special.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
Brunswick is definitely a team that can make a long run if Massey/Barnett are firing on on cylinders. It's easily one of the best 1/2 punches in the state.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
I suggested the possibility, but now I feel extremely confident after the past two wins against Brunswick and Medina. I predict Mentor will finish the regular season undefeated. Whether they get in 13 games or 19 or whatever...nobody on their schedule is going to beat them IMO. That is not because this is the all-time great Cardinals or anything. They are good, maybe very good. But the schedule just leaves a lot to be desired IMO.

The two toughest remaining games are Solon and Brush. Brush's top two players have been out for a couple weeks and I haven't heard when/if they are going to return this season. Even if Brush is healthy, I still favor Mentor. The Comets are well coached and have given Mentor fits over the years. But after watching the two play the first time, I just don't see an upset happening this year. I'm not saying Mentor can't lose...I just don't think they will.

Non-conference games remaining are VASJ, Beachwood, Harvey, Columbia, Lakewood, Brush, and ISA. League games against Euclid/Strongsville. Plus the game with Solon. A possibility of 12 more games, but we know that won't happen.

Personally, I would've liked to see 2-3 games against some of the best in the state. Jackson, McKinley, St Eds, St Ignatius, SVSM, Lutheran East, Moeller, etc. Medina, IMO, is the only team on Mentor's schedule with a good chance to win a district. Krizancic has never had an undefeated regular season partly because he knows a tougher schedule is the best ingredient for a postseason run. It was good to see them struggle to gut out some close games this week. That will be good for them come tournament time.
 

bbfan29

Member
I disagree with your assumption that Medina is the only team capable of winning a district. I would add Brunswick & Solon to the list, who are capable of beating anyone on a given night. Also, I think Mentor has most all the tools to make a deep run in the toiurnament. You won’t find a better point guard in the state than Chicone, Keyes does it all & Waag is great all around Player. With Culler back, they are 8-9 deep & are so fundamentally sound. The one thing they lack is size, but that is normal for most of Krizancic’s past teams. Their hustle & basketball IQ normally makes up for their lack of size.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
I didn’t say that Brunswick or Solon can’t/won’t win their district. I just said that Medina was the only opponent IMO with a “good chance” to win their district. Brush (if at full strength) is a tough opponent too. Solon will probably be a 2 seed at a district with McKinley or Jackson as the 1 seed. Brunswick will probably be the 3rd or 4th highest seeded team in their district as the West looks deeper than the East. Their path will be more difficult than Solon.

If healthy, Mentor is a team that will probably go 8 deep in the tournament. The 5 starters (Culler included) with Smith, Collins, and Gray off the bench. As we see Key and Waag figuring out their roles on the team, this trio with Chicone is looking about as formidable as the past two seasons. Different kinds of players, but still effective.
 

bbfan29

Member
I think this years team is much quicker & faster than the last couple years. Defensively, IMO, this makes them more effective, creating more turnovers.
 

hubman

Well-known member
Medina Plays Buchtel today, a D1 number 3 seed against a D2 number 2 seed should be a good match up!
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
This weekend saw some surprising GCC scores. Strongsville had a couple of two-point losses to Medina and Solon. Another was Euclid defeating Brunswick.

Mentor cruised past a couple of Lake County schools (Riverside/Harvey) that are nowhere near their level. The Cards have maybe 2-3 games depending on how things go. Arbiter shows Chaney on Monday and Euclid on Wednesday. I was under the assumption that the Euclid game would be the last one, giving them at least a week or so to "quarantine" from other opponents. But there may be one more.

If that is the case, Mentor has two very winnable games remaining that would push them to the first undefeated regular season under Krizancic. I assume this would probably be the first ever in the history of the program, but that is just a guess. Admittedly, the league is not as strong as it was in the first several seasons. Also, Mentor's non-conference schedule is filled almost exclusively with pushovers. I think the best non-GCC team Mentor has played this season has been Riverside or Benedictine, neither are on any NEO Top 25. Medina, Brunswick, and Solon on the other hand have played St Ignatius, Buchtel, Richmond Heights, Cleveland Heights, Warrensville, Lutheran East, Walsh, and Hoban. To be fair, Mentor did have McKinley and Brush on the schedule at one point or another. Not sure why rescheduling these games didn’t work out. I hope that Mentor’s schedule doesn’t bite them in the butt come tournament time.
 

bbfan29

Member
Mentor did not pull out of any of the games you mentioned. Also, the GCC teams left on their schedule also pulled out, it wasn’t”t Mentor that pulled out. Ask the Mentor AD how many of the stronger teams in the area he tried to get on this years schedule did not accept the invitation, for whatever reason. Mentor has always played a strong non league schedule, along with their regular GCC schedule. If you saw This years Mentor team, I think you would have be impressed with their speed & quickness to challenge any team in the area.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
I have watched a bunch of games. Most of them you can’t learn much from as the opposition was simply overmatched.

I wasn’t suggesting Mentor pulled out of any games. And nobody is dodging anybody in HS basketball, so I don’t think any of the top programs are nervous about playing Mentor. I find it hard to believe that not a single one of the top 25 teams (St Eds, SVSM, Cleveland Heights, Brush, Richmond Heights, Jackson, St Ignatius, Shaker, Garfield, Lutheran East, Hoban, Buchtel, Walsh, etc.) were able to schedule Mentor in this crazy year where teams are finding new openings all of the time. I guess the AD’s couldn’t get the timing right.

I know that more often than not, Mentor has had a tough schedule. Most of that was due to a grinding league schedule either in the GCC, NOC, or LEL. With the league down, that is part of the reason. But in years past, Mentor usually has a couple tough non-conference games along with possibly the Arby’s Classic or similar. That wasn’t the case this year.

Beating South, Riverside, Chaney, Kenston, Lakewood, etc. by whatever score they want just doesn’t do a lot of good for a team that I agree is very fast and very good. This is a team that could make it to the state tournament. In fact, I think they will. The path to the regional final is one where Mentor is a clear favorite in every game.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Some more Mentor updates. With St Xavier beating Moeller over the weekend, Mentor has moved up to the top of the final AP poll. This is their first AP poll championship, for what that is worth. Also, their game with Chaney scheduled for today is being moved to tomorrow due to the weather. I bet that doesn't get played tomorrow either, but we will see. Wednesday is a final GCC game of the season with Euclid. Saturday has a huge matchup with St Ignatius. Looking forward to that one. The game will be at Mentor.
 

GCP441

Well-known member
Good game for the Spartans of Richmond Heights (Saw game on stream) as they went on the road at Medina to beat the Bees 79-76.
 

bluengold

Well-known member
Some more Mentor updates. With St Xavier beating Moeller over the weekend, Mentor has moved up to the top of the final AP poll. This is their first AP poll championship, for what that is worth. Also, their game with Chaney scheduled for today is being moved to tomorrow due to the weather. I bet that doesn't get played tomorrow either, but we will see. Wednesday is a final GCC game of the season with Euclid. Saturday has a huge matchup with St Ignatius. Looking forward to that one. The game will be at Mentor.
Is this the first-ever basketball match-up between Mentor and Ignatius? I cannot remember them ever playing each other and I go back many decades. Ignatius plays @ Massillon Jackson Friday night and so the Cats have a very tough back-to-back.

Cam Joyce and AD Rory Fitzpatrick really organized a very tough schedule this season - 8 of the top 11 teams in the Cleveland.com's rankings + Hilliard Bradley, Massillon Jackson, Rossford and Richmond Heights - all ranked at one time in the top 10 in their division in Ohio. Most of those games have been on the road. Looking forward to this game on Saturday
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Is this the first-ever basketball match-up between Mentor and Ignatius? I cannot remember them ever playing each other and I go back many decades. Ignatius plays @ Massillon Jackson Friday night and so the Cats have a very tough back-to-back.

Cam Joyce and AD Rory Fitzpatrick really organized a very tough schedule this season - 8 of the top 11 teams in the Cleveland.com's rankings + Hilliard Bradley, Massillon Jackson, Rossford and Richmond Heights - all ranked at one time in the top 10 in their division in Ohio. Most of those games have been on the road. Looking forward to this game on Saturday
The two split their series nearly 20 years ago. They played in the 99-00 (won by Mentor) and 00-01 (won by Ignatius). Mentor had a very strong team that second year. They went 17-3 and won a district title. Ignatius was better, they would win it all that season.

I have wondered why the two never crossed paths since. Seems strange. Glad they are finally playing. Ironic that it is in a season where the football teams actually didn’t play.

Game article from 2001: https://www.news-herald.com/news/ignatius-is-better-in-mentor/article_4b3dbcf1-bede-5625-bc09-a94b63f7758c.html
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Watching the Mentor/Euclid game on YouTube yesterday.

The bad: the shooting, Mentor's first quarter, the YouTube feed, and worst of all...a seemingly bad injury to starter Ian Kipp. He took a while to get up and he never returned. Looked like the ankle. This kid can't catch a break, injured during his sophomore and junior season during football. Kipp was probably the most important player on the team besides the top three. His size, athleticism, toughness, and leadership would be missed if he is out for the season. Puts more pressure on Sean Collins and Andrew Smith. Mentor's depth was already pretty thin as it was. Hope the injury wasn't as bad as it looked...but I'm not counting on it.
 
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