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  #61  
Old 03-08-18, 09:34 PM
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Mentor adds another memorable win over Brush at the Euclid district. Just like the last time they met at Euclid (2012), it ended with a four point Mentor win. Brush led for most of the game. Mentor finally got the lead late in the 3rd quarter and they held on for a 65-61 victory. Big plays down the stretch from Shane Zalba and Tadas Tatarunas helped seal the win. This was as talented of a Brush team as I have seen. But Mentor finds a way. Great win for the Cards!

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Originally Posted by cardzfan1234 View Post
Mentor and Brush will play Thursday at Euclid for the 8th time since 2003. Most games were extremely competitive and close. I happened to have been at all of these games I am detailing. Between my own memory and research, be prepared for way too much information on the recent history between Mentor and Brush:

2003 District Final: Mentor 71 Brush 62

Mentor's 2003 team had a talented senior class that were a part of three straight district titles at Euclid and a regional final appearance in 2002. All-Ohio guard Eddie Zienkowski led the way. Brush had a couple of very talented players, Marcel Frost and Ray Mosby. I believe Mosby in particular had a huge game against Mentor. Frost was a talented post player that went on to OSU as a tight end. The final score was 81-72.

2004 Sectional Final: Brush 60 Mentor 55

Maybe the only real black eye on the fantastic career of Mentor's coach Krizancic occurred during this season. Earlier during the regular season, Mentor violated OHSAA rules about missing school days when the Cards went to Utah for a tournament. The punishment was a suspension of Krizancic during the entirety of the postseason. He could only watch from the stands as Mentor's district title winning streak came to an end. Brush was led by E.B. Davis, a standout sophomore that was the younger brother of Cavalier Ricky Davis. After his brother got traded, Davis left the NEO area and went on to play at Oak Hill and eventually in college at a couple different DI schools. Mentor had a super sophomore of their own in Adam May. In the 2000's, this was one of only two times I can remember (2007 was the other) that Mentor did not make it to the district level of the tournament. This was also the only time Brush has beaten Mentor at the Euclid tournament in the 2000's.

2008 District Semifinal: Mentor 81 Brush 73

Brush was coming off an upset of St Ignatius in the sectional final. I believe that was Becker's last game in that era before Sean O'Toole took over. A young sophomore Nate Tait was a big part of that upset. The 2008 Mentor team was young and very small. Cole Krizancic was starting as a freshman. Sophomore PG Jaron Fritts and senior guard Joey Meyer were also under six foot guards that started. Mentor defeated Brush in the semifinal and then Glenville in the final. WGH absolutely smoked this tiny group of over achievers at CSU.

2009 District Final: Mentor 59 Brush 50

As a junior, Nate Tait erupted across the NEO basketball scene. He was one of the finest guards in Ohio and would be the News-Herald POY. Tait finished the game with 40% of Brush's total points, but it wasn't enough. For the second season in a row, Brush's season ended at the hands of Mentor. Junior guard Jaron Crowe led Mentor with 23 points. It was the first of what would be four straight district final matchups between the two schools. Mentor went on from this game to suffer what I view as the most surprising loss they ever suffered at regionals to North Ridgeville.

2010 District Final: Mentor 88 Brush 73

Maybe the most exciting and talented offensive team Mentor has ever had, led by senior guard Jaron Crowe (would would be Cleveland.com POY this season), all-time leading scorer Cole Krizancic, and future Mr Basketball Justin Fritts. This trio of guards was as good on the high school level as you will ever find. They all had 20+ points in this game and they combined for 73 of the 88 points. I celebrated a Mentor victory, but really felt for Nate Tait. He gave everything he had, but just couldn't overcome Mentor during his career. Tait struggled in this game, only scoring 15 points. Sophomore Pharaoh Brown and freshman Curtis Oakley (nephew of Charles) played well and gave Brush something to look forward to in the post-Tait days. Mentor hit 28 of 30 free throws in the game to help give them separation. Mentor would go on to beat Avon Lake and upset St Edward at the CSU regional to give the program their first ever trip to the state tournament.

2011 District Final: Mentor 76 Brush 67

Mentor replaces the departed Jaron Crowe with transfer Collin Barth to maintain a crazy-good backcourt trio. Barth joined Cole Krizancic and Justin Fritts. Oakley/Brown combined for 41 points for the Arcs. Amazingly, Cole was able to match their scoring all by himself with a career-defining performance of 41 points in a district final. The senior guard hit five three-pointers in the game. Mentor defeated Berea in the regional semifinal before falling to Garfield Heights in the final.

2012 District Final: Mentor 76 Brush 72

This was the only one that really made Mentor fans nervous. Behind the strong physical play of Pharaoh Brown (24 points and 24 rebounds) and Curtis Oakley, Brush found themselves in great position to cut down the nets. With an 11-point lead, Mentor dug deep and outscored the Arcs 24-9 in the 4th quarter. Once again, Brush struggled at the free throw line (10-26), which essentially cost them the game. With a foundation of a state championship team (a year away) playing with Mr Ohio Justin Fritts and steady senior PG Danny Wallack, this was one of the best teams Mentor has put on the floor. Fritts (24 points) and Wallack (17) led the way for Mentor. This was the 4th straight district final win over the Arcs, and 5th straight win overall at Euclid.

The two teams haven't played at the tournament since...see you Thursday!
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  #62  
Old 03-08-18, 09:57 PM
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Fantastic win for Mentor. Brush was definitely more talented. Mentor has the way better coaching though

Solon has better coaching and way more talent than Brush. Will be very tough to win but I'd rather have the opportunity than to be at home already

3rd time in a row in the district final. Underdog Solon in 2016 and mentor last year won the first two. Would be probably an even bigger upset if mentor won this year. But if they play at their high level , they'll have some shot. If they play their bad game , they'll get killed


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  #63  
Old 03-08-18, 10:06 PM
Bball216 Bball216 is offline
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Solid win for Mentor. This is the final many thought we would see when seedings came out. Solon will be a tough one for Mentor but like you said I would rather have a chance then to be home already. Mentor absolutely has a shot.
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  #64  
Old 03-11-18, 06:51 PM
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Mentor finishes up their season as district-runners up at Euclid after their 69-62 loss to Solon last night. It was their 14th district final appearance since 2001. Mentor has an 11-3 record in those games. The Cardinals finish the season at 17-8. Big wins on the season were against district champions Shaker, Jackson, and VASJ. The semifinal win over a very talented Brush squad was big time.

Lots of seniors on this team that have contributed a lot to the program. A few (Shane Zalba, Caden Kryz, and Tadas Tatarunas) have made key contributions since they were sophomores. Matt Koski was the 2nd leading scorer this season after a solid junior year. Reserves Chad Blessing, Ben Gingrich, and Nick Ventura starred in their roles all season. Special shout-out to Gingrich for being a real difference maker yesterday with 8 huge points while taking just three shots. Blessing and Ventura were energy and defensive players off the bench that always brought their best. This isn't the best class of basketball talent that Krizancic has had, but it is a very deep one that was probably one player away (like a Jack Korsok or Jeff Foreman type) from being a state championship caliber team. They lacked a true "ace" - but they all played hard and to the best of their ability all year. This class will leave a big gaping hold due to them being 7 of the top 9 in the rotation.

Zalba was certainly the most talented on the team. He had no choice but to take on a big chunk of the scoring load this year. He stepped up to the challenge. Zalba also was one of the better shot-blocking guards I have seen at Mentor.

Tatarunas is playing college football next year, but he gave his all on the court all season. I was pretty surprised he came out for basketball this season. He would have really been missed if he hadn't. Tadas brought the toughness, rebounding, and inside scoring the team needed. A real asset to the basketball program the last few seasons.

Sophomore Luke Floriea probably improved most from day one of the season. It isn't easy to transition from a state title game run in football, but he got into basketball shape quickly. Once the offense shifted to Floriea as the point guard, the team flourished. He will be counted on to be a scorer the next two seasons.

Besides Floriea, the only non-seniors that played much varsity at all are Mason Trubisky and Luke Chicone. The long and lanky Trubisky showed some positive signs. He will be counted on for a lot more scoring next season. Chicone, son/grandson/nephew of a fantastic coaching family tree, will need to take some big steps forward next year. He is very capable of doing that. It will be good to have him off the ball with Floriea at PG the next two season. Growing a few inches and adding 10-15 pounds will help a lot too.

The JV team had a really good season, but overall it is hard to imagine that Mentor will have the kind of talent and depth that they did this season. The coaches will take what they get and will get the most out of them.
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  #65  
Old 03-12-18, 07:38 AM
satriani satriani is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardzfan1234 View Post
Mentor finishes up their season as district-runners up at Euclid after their 69-62 loss to Solon last night. It was their 14th district final appearance since 2001. Mentor has an 11-3 record in those games. The Cardinals finish the season at 17-8. Big wins on the season were against district champions Shaker, Jackson, and VASJ. The semifinal win over a very talented Brush squad was big time.

Lots of seniors on this team that have contributed a lot to the program. A few (Shane Zalba, Caden Kryz, and Tadas Tatarunas) have made key contributions since they were sophomores. Matt Koski was the 2nd leading scorer this season after a solid junior year. Reserves Chad Blessing, Ben Gingrich, and Nick Ventura starred in their roles all season. Special shout-out to Gingrich for being a real difference maker yesterday with 8 huge points while taking just three shots. Blessing and Ventura were energy and defensive players off the bench that always brought their best. This isn't the best class of basketball talent that Krizancic has had, but it is a very deep one that was probably one player away (like a Jack Korsok or Jeff Foreman type) from being a state championship caliber team. They lacked a true "ace" - but they all played hard and to the best of their ability all year. This class will leave a big gaping hold due to them being 7 of the top 9 in the rotation.

Zalba was certainly the most talented on the team. He had no choice but to take on a big chunk of the scoring load this year. He stepped up to the challenge. Zalba also was one of the better shot-blocking guards I have seen at Mentor.

Tatarunas is playing college football next year, but he gave his all on the court all season. I was pretty surprised he came out for basketball this season. He would have really been missed if he hadn't. Tadas brought the toughness, rebounding, and inside scoring the team needed. A real asset to the basketball program the last few seasons.

Sophomore Luke Floriea probably improved most from day one of the season. It isn't easy to transition from a state title game run in football, but he got into basketball shape quickly. Once the offense shifted to Floriea as the point guard, the team flourished. He will be counted on to be a scorer the next two seasons.

Besides Floriea, the only non-seniors that played much varsity at all are Mason Trubisky and Luke Chicone. The long and lanky Trubisky showed some positive signs. He will be counted on for a lot more scoring next season. Chicone, son/grandson/nephew of a fantastic coaching family tree, will need to take some big steps forward next year. He is very capable of doing that. It will be good to have him off the ball with Floriea at PG the next two season. Growing a few inches and adding 10-15 pounds will help a lot too.

The JV team had a really good season, but overall it is hard to imagine that Mentor will have the kind of talent and depth that they did this season. The coaches will take what they get and will get the most out of them.
Krizancic is a fantastic coach. His teams will always be prepared, give great effort and be mentally tough. They will also play as a unit/team. Whatever the talent level may be, those characteristics will give a team the best chance of winning. Count your blessings.
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  #66  
Old 03-12-18, 11:41 AM
bbfan29 bbfan29 is offline
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Originally Posted by satriani View Post
Krizancic is a fantastic coach. His teams will always be prepared, give great effort and be mentally tough. They will also play as a unit/team. Whatever the talent level may be, those characteristics will give a team the best chance of winning. Count your blessings.
I agree with your comments about Coach K. I just wonder how much longer he will continue to coach. He looks in great shape & still seems to have that fire & desire to win & loves his players. Many, many of his ex-players still come back to the gym & work out with the current players, which I feel is quite respectful of their former coach.
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