Mentor Cardinals 2019-20

cardzfan1234

Well-known member

Mentor won their opening round game at the Arby's Classic yesterday, 83-54 over Greeneville (TN). Mentor forced them into 21 turnovers, which created a lot more shot opportunities for the Cardinals. The big three (Rogers, Chicone, and Floriea) combined for 60 points, but Krizancic got a lot of players in the game. Once again, the local media and fans came away very impressed with Mentor's style of play. They are a fan favorite down there.

Next up is a game tomorrow (5:00) against one of the local teams, Dobyns-Bennett. They pulled off an upset (at least deemed an upset by the Bristol-area media) in their opening round game against a team from Georgia. DB is one of the few local schools that play in the Arby's pretty regularly. Mentor has played (and beaten) them once or twice over the years. They are 7-4 and have a lot more game experience than the Cardinals, who just played their 3rd regular season game yesterday.

Round 2 should be a win for Mentor. After that, things get much tougher with a potential semifinal against North Mecklenburg (NC), a team that won the Arby's Classic two years ago. They are led by Georgia Tech commit Tristan Maxwell (son of Vernon). If Mentor can make it to the final, you can bet there is a good team waiting on the other side of the bracket. The Cardinals have never won the Arby's Classic. I don't know that this is the year or not, but if they play well they can hang with anyone down there.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
I'm definitely rooting for Mentor, it'll be fitting to bring the Arby's title back to NEO (Arby's was founded in Youngstown, right?).

It's a great opportunity to rep the GCC (along with Shaker which got a nice win against Pickerington Central). Wish Medina could've added to it but a tough third quarter in Cincinnati did them in against Moeller, but that wasn't too surprising. Got another SWO team on Monday in Ponitz (which I think is usually solid).

Again, not surprising, but looks like the GCC is going to come down to those three.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
What to expect tomorrow in the state semifinal. North Mecklenburg is undefeated (11-0) and #1 team in the Charlotte area (Charlotte Observer), the #3 team in North Carolina according to Max Preps. They are the #39 team in Max Preps national rankings. They have at least three DI players on their team. Joining Georgia Tech commit Tristan Maxwell (son of former NBA player Vernon Maxwell) in the backcourt is fellow senior guard Trayden Williams. The 6'2 PG had a few DI offers before committing to Robert Morris. Maxwell and Williams each scored 22 points in North Mecklenburg's second round win over Webb School (TN). Chris Ford is a 6'5 junior forward with an offer from Appalachian State. Their starting lineup goes 6'2, 6'2, 6'3, 6'5, and 6'7. Not super huge, but a team that will have the clear size advantage.

From what I can tell, this is going to be a tougher game than a potential final. If Mentor can take care of the basketball, play steady halfcourt defense, and create smart shots - they will be right there. This should be a good game. The winner is probably the favorite in the final.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member

You can listen to the rest of the game here. Mentor got off to a hot start, outscoring Meck 25-21 in the 1st quarter. But Maxwell and the talented roster took over the 2nd quarter as they have a 10 point lead (46-36) at halftime. Sounded like Mentor was just missing too many shots. Mentor is dictating a very fast pace, but they probably need to score 85 or more to win this one. Can't have an off-shooting quarter if you want to put up big points.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Final: North Mecklenberg 84 Mentor 77

A game of runs where Mentor just ran out of time. Krizancic likes to say he has the best backcourt in Ohio. As good as the Luke's are, they aren't the best backcourt at the Arby's Classic. Tristan Maxwell (Georgia Tech) and Trayden Williams (Robert Morris) combined for 50 points. Mentor chipped away at a lead that got as a high as 12, as the Cardinals were down 1 early in the 4th quarter. Mentor had the ball down 4 with about 20 seconds left, but turned it over. The last two minutes of the game forced North Meck to the free throw line. They started the game shooting 4-15 (17-31) from the free throw line, but finished hitting 13 of their final 16. Mentor shot 12-14 from the FT line.

Chicone and Rogers both finished with 22 points to lead Mentor. As a team, Mentor didn't shoot well enough to beat a team as talented as North Mecklenberg. They got off to a hot shooting start with 25 points in the 1st quarter, but then were often too cold after that.

Mentor will play in the 3rd place game tomorrow. North Mecklenberg is the favorite in tomorrow's championship game.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Mentor has already lost twice as many regular season games as they did last season. Why? I have some theories.

One, the schedule is tougher with the tournament games in TN. I do think the team underperformed in the final two games, but those were a couple of really good teams they played. Mentor had a lot of trouble with Medina before the holidays and now this week had a very unexpected loss to Solon. Another reason for the struggles has to do with depth. Even though Mentor returned their top three players (Floriea, Rogers, Chicone) from last season in terms of scoring, they clearly look incomplete out there. I didn't expect them to miss Mason Trubisky and Alex Edwards as much as they have, but they clearly are. Mentor's top three guys are about as good as any in NEO, but that isn't going to be good enough. Depth is key.

Mentor has found a way to achieve success in the past with mostly relying on three high scoring players. The days of Cole Krizancic, Jaron Crowe, Justin Fritts, and Collin Barth were filled with three dynamite guards scoring 80-90% of the points. That isn't an easy thing to maintain. The best team (2013 state champs) that Mentor has had was one that went 7 or 8 deep. Each player knew their role and starred in it. This team has experienced some growing pains.

The biggest way these recent losses hurt Mentor is in the eyes of the coaches at the Euclid district. Short of basically winning out over the next month, it will be very difficult to earn the respect of the coaches to get votes for being the top seed. This year more than any other, getting the top seed at Euclid is imperative. Mentor will have enough trouble beating one of Brush/Cleveland Heights. If they have to beat both, that will be a very tall task.

Big opportunity at home on Friday against Shaker.
 

bbfan29

Member
I agree, depth is major problem this year. Also, Pix has not been Scoring as expected & rebounding has been terrible.. Rogers has to learn to stay out of early foul trouble, which really hurts them offensively & defensively. However, I think they will be ready tournament: time, even though they probably will not get a top seed. Don’t count them out, they will be back.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Time to resurrect this thread after Mentor's wild comeback victory over Medina tonight.

The game stayed close from start to finish. After Medina jumped out to a 7-0 lead, Mentor answered back and neither team had a lead that big until the last minute of the game. Down 72-70 with about two minutes left, Mentor had a chance to tie the game. A Chicone runner missed and then it turned into the free throw game. Another Chicone miss followed by a Rogers miss surrounded by some Medina free throws made it an 80-72 game with about 30-35 seconds left in the game. It was over.

Even after a frustrating couple of late game misses, Chicone shook it off to take over the final seconds of the game. The junior guard scored the last 9 points of the game that featured a three pointer, and-one layup, and the buzzer beating three pointer. In between those shots was a steal by senior Witte and a missed front end of a one and one with 7 seconds left. Chicone hits the game winner and Mentor completed their most unlikely late-game comeback I have seen.
 

HardCorps

Well-known member
I look forward to watching this Mentor team tomorrow night, down in Lakota East territory.

Have a safe trip.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Congratulations to Luke Floriea on scoring his 1,000 point yesterday in the big win. A football guy that has become quite a basketball player. Ever since he came onto the court as a speedy freshman, I saw potential. He stayed in the rotation on a team that won districts. As a sophomore, he was a key starter on a senior-laden squad. He stepped up his game big time as a junior and took on a lot more scoring. On the biggest stage of his career, Floriea had one of the best big-time performances I have seen from a Mentor guard as he helped will Mentor to a district final win over Brush. Floriea scored 30 in a 77-73 win. If Floriea can get to that level in March again, Mentor will be a tough out at Euclid.

In the Krizancic-era, guys that I know hit the 1,000-point mark include Eddie Zienkowski, Adam May, Joey Meyer, Cole Krizancic, and Justin Fritts. There might be another one or two I missed.
 

bbfan29

Member
Congratulations to Luke Floriea on scoring his 1,000 point yesterday in the big win. A football guy that has become quite a basketball player. Ever since he came onto the court as a speedy freshman, I saw potential. He stayed in the rotation on a team that won districts. As a sophomore, he was a key starter on a senior-laden squad. He stepped up his game big time as a junior and took on a lot more scoring. On the biggest stage of his career, Floriea had one of the best big-time performances I have seen from a Mentor guard as he helped will Mentor to a district final win over Brush. Floriea scored 30 in a 77-73 win. If Floriea can get to that level in March again, Mentor will be a tough out at Euclid.

In the Krizancic-era, guys that I know hit the 1,000-point mark include Eddie Zienkowski, Adam May, Joey Meyer, Cole Krizancic, and Justin Fritts. There might be another one or two I missed.
Altong with Chicones shot that won the game, rightfully so, got the headlines, I was really impressed with the effort by Mentor that put them in that position. With 45 seconds left in the game, Mentor was down by 8 points. In those last 45,they made some steals, rebounded & Played great defense. Also, although one of their starters was out with an injury, their bench really rose to the occasion. Great coaching to get their bench players ready for competition.
 

bbfan29

Member
Altong with Chicones shot that won the game, rightfully so, got the headlines, I was really impressed with the effort by Mentor that put them in that position. With 45 seconds left in the game, Mentor was down by 8 points. In those last 45,they made some steals, rebounded & Played great defense. Also, although one of their starters was out with an injury, their bench really rose to the occasion. Great coaching to get their bench players ready for competition.
Tonite will be a very tough game at Lakota East in Cinncinnatti, who lost to St,Ed’s last nite 57-53 & a record of 14-3. This is Mentors 3rd game this week, tough one last nite against Medina, 4 or 5 hour bus trip, tired legs & bodies. However, gotta accept these elements if you want to get better.
 
Tonite will be a very tough game at Lakota East in Cinncinnatti, who lost to St,Ed’s last nite 57-53 & a record of 14-3. This is Mentors 3rd game this week, tough one last nite against Medina, 4 or 5 hour bus trip, tired legs & bodies. However, gotta accept these elements if you want to get better.
It was Lutheran East (not Lakota) that St. Edward beat last night.
 

CometCountry

Well-known member
Lakota East is 15-2 and 11-1 in the Greater Miami Conference with their only league loss to Oak Hills who is currently in 2nd place in the GMC with a 10-2 record. East's only other loss was to a team from Madison, Wisconsin in a Christmas Tourney in Florida. 6'3'' Junior Nate Johnson at 16.1 ppg has the inside track on GMC POY with 4 games left in conference season--Seniors Alex Mangold (6'7") at 9.6 ppg and Kaden Furhman (6'3") at 10.1 ppg also can put up big numbers on a given night. East plays tight MTM and runs a deliberate offense.
Should be a good test for both squads!!
 

bbfan29

Member
Lakota East is 15-2 and 11-1 in the Greater Miami Conference with their only league loss to Oak Hills who is currently in 2nd place in the GMC with a 10-2 record. East's only other loss was to a team from Madison, Wisconsin in a Christmas Tourney in Florida. 6'3'' Junior Nate Johnson at 16.1 ppg has the inside track on GMC POY with 4 games left in conference season--Seniors Alex Mangold (6'7") at 9.6 ppg and Kaden Furhman (6'3") at 10.1 ppg also can put up big numbers on a given night. East plays tight MTM and runs a deliberate offense.
Should be a good test for both squads!!
Thanks for the update? Do you know if game will be on radio?
 

Philly_Cat

Well-known member
The teams were sloppy. The officials were very sloppy.
Interesting to see if East could handle a game like this, where the tempo was pushed and they had to score a lot. I was impressed with what they were able to do being down 2 players and not working with much depth coming into this game.

Question for Mentor fans. Is what I saw tonight their normal type of game? Meaning, a ton of 3's and rushing the ball to the rim?
 

HardCorps

Well-known member
Interesting to see if East could handle a game like this, where the tempo was pushed and they had to score a lot. I was impressed with what they were able to do being down 2 players and not working with much depth coming into this game.

Question for Mentor fans. Is what I saw tonight their normal type of game? Meaning, a ton of 3's and rushing the ball to the rim?
Conditioning seemed fine. It is too bad that they do not play LaSalle before the tourney.

Why? That is just me being selfish.
 

Philly_Cat

Well-known member
Conditioning seemed fine. It is too bad that they do not play LaSalle before the tourney.

Why? That is just me being selfish.
I was speaking more to if they can adjust to a team that takes them out of their normal comfort zone and still be able to find a way to win. I'll hang that on the coaching of Adkins more than the players. I've seen him year after year keep finding ways to make his players/teams better than they should be. I already saw him as one of the best coaches in SWO, but he may very well be one of the best in the state.
 

HardCorps

Well-known member
I was speaking more to if they can adjust to a team that takes them out of their normal comfort zone and still be able to find a way to win. I'll hang that on the coaching of Adkins more than the players. I've seen him year after year keep finding ways to make his players/teams better than they should be. I already saw him as one of the best coaches in SWO, but he may very well be one of the best in the state.
How many GMC titles? As long as Moeller is great it will be difficult to get the ultimate respect that he may rate without going farther in the tourney. Plus, the Dayton area has been/is down. The victory that LE had against Wayne (Wayne was undefeated and ranked #1 in the state) in the tourney several years ago is an example of how he can build that resume so that people that do not notice his year in and year out details, like you do, and give Coach Adkins more respect.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Question for Mentor fans. Is what I saw tonight their normal type of game? Meaning, a ton of 3's and rushing the ball to the rim?
They are a team that likes a very fast pace, pressuring full court, shooting plenty of 3’s, but also a lot of quick attacks. I was t there but my guess is that what you saw is close to their norm.
 

CometCountry

Well-known member
They are a team that likes a very fast pace, pressuring full court, shooting plenty of 3’s, but also a lot of quick attacks. I was t there but my guess is that what you saw is close to their norm.
I noticed Mentor's coach constantly throughout the game holds and sips from a small cup of water--just thirsty or is it for good luck--certainly says very little especially on some questionable no call charges on East--sure lets the kids play without much intervention!!
 

HardCorps

Well-known member
I noticed Mentor's coach constantly throughout the game holds and sips from a small cup of water--just thirsty or is it for good luck--certainly says very little especially on some questionable no call charges on East--sure lets the kids play without much intervention!!
I noticed that the Mentor jv coach did a good of blowing off the refs. As bad as the varsity refs were, I thought the varsity coach was doing the same thing.
 

cardzfan1234

Well-known member
Mentor 83 Shaker 79

Mentor picks up as good of a road win as any they have had lately. Shaker is a talented bunch, the top seed at their district like Mentor. The Raiders were tied at the top of the league with Mentor. The game was in Shaker and the crowd and energy in the gym was bigger than any Mentor/Shaker game I can remember. It is the last time the two will meet as league rivals for a while as Shaker is heading to the LEL next season. If this was the last time they play for a while, what a way to go out.

From start to finish, the game stayed pretty close. Mentor's biggest lead of 9 points lasted probably 30 seconds of actual game clock before Shaker got the game back to a one score game. It stayed within a two score game for 99% of the night. The big names did well on both sides. Floriea had a huge game as he led both teams with 26 points. It was pretty reminiscent of his big time performance in the district final last season against Brush. Not quite that good, but pretty close. That is the kind of play Mentor needs out of him in order for them to win the district and hopefully a game or two at regionals.

Chad Rogers had a quiet 21 points. Not a ton of shots taken tonight, but was effective when he did. He had some really nice inside moves to go along with a smooth outside shot. Luke Chicone didn't force too much and was more of a distributor than a scorer tonight. He only made maybe three or four field goals in the game. Chicone finished with 13, but he was more valuable than that. The big offensive surprise on the night, dare I say offensive hero, was senior Andrew Witte. I believe he hit all four of his three-point FG attempts and finished with 14 points. Witte is a tough nose defender and one of the better rebounders on the team due to his energy and effort.

One of the most pivotal stretches in the second half was late in the 3rd quarter. Mentor is up 3 and holding for the last shot. They drive and kick it out to the corner for a three and make it with about 7 seconds left. Mentor gets a steal on the inbounds and Floriea hits a three at the buzzer. Mentor goes up 65-56 after closing the 3rd on a 14-2 run. Shaker responded right away to start the 4th and completely took away that momentum. Mentor found themselves up 79-73 with the ball and about 1:30 left. Turnovers on three consecutive possessions gave Shaker two unanswered baskets and the ball down 79-77 with 44 seconds left. Shaker turns it over the ensuing inbounds, and Chicone seals the game at the free throw line. A really, really fun game. Shaker is a team Mentor could see a third time at CSU.

Once again, Mentor really missed Caleb Piks in a game like this. Shaker got a lot of second chance opportunities. IMO, Mentor doesn't have enough depth even with a healthy Piks. But without him, they are extremely limited. Piks brings size, rebounding, defense, and shooting. Word is he will be back in the tournament at some point. It would be nice to get him back by the district semifinals, which is a little less than three weeks away.
 

SVillegrad

Well-known member
A Medina-Mentor rubber match in the Regional semifinals is fitting. Lol, maybe looking too much into it, but you failed to mention that Mentor and Shaker were tied for the GCC lead with Medina (which was a last-second put back at Shaker and a miracle comeback on the road against Mentor away from having the league title wrapped up.)

With that, Medina-Mentor are teams that are mirror images in style and talent. Either is going to be a tough out for any other team in Northeast Ohio come tourney time.
 
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