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South Range has a date with Py Valley in district semifinal

GARRETTSVILLE — With a comfortable 31-18 lead at halftime, it appeared South Range was going to cruise to an easy sectional bracket final win over Garfield. That lead didn’t last however, as the G-Men continued to eat away at South Range’s advantage, but the Raiders responded just in time to hold onto win 53-46 over Garfield.

“With a team that has that many seniors and kids that play that hard, we were going to get a punch in the mouth at some point, we just didn’t want it to be that long,” South Range coach John Cullen said. “Also we had guys in foul trouble who usually aren’t in foul trouble.

“It’s how you handle adversity in terms of if ‘Can you make it through’, because you’re not going to go out and win every game, you’re gonna have to get a little lucky every once in a while. We got a little lucky tonight because they played really well.”

South Range’s first half success came from stalling the G-Men offense. Garfield scored 13 points in the first quarter, nine of which coming from Trystan Gedeon 3-pointers. In the second quarter, the G-Men were held to five points.

The Raiders on the other hand, ramped the offense up, scoring 17 points in the second quarter, with Brandon Mikos scoring seven. Mikos finished the night with a team-high 11 points. Nine players registered points for the South Range.

In the second half Garfield came out re-energized with a more aggressive defensive scheme and it worked, outscoring the Raiders 17-10 in the third quarter. Kaidan Spade fired off 11 points in the third quarter and Colin Lysiak had six.

“We took (our defense) back to a simple man-to-man defense and we were able to get some stops and then turn it into points,” G-Men coach Andrew Olesky said. “Shot making sure does help, but we took away the zone, stayed just basic man-to-man defense, able to get a couple consecutive stops, get out, get some layups, hit some open shots and that got us right back in the game.”

Gedeon and Spade led Garfield with 13 points each. Spade scored all of his points in the second half. Spade’s scoring touch in the second half was a big part of the G-Men rallying back.

“He’s a shooter,” Olesky said about the junior forward. “He’s a big part of our team not only tonight, but moving forward. You’ve got to give South Range credit because they neutralized him in the first half and we told (Spade), ‘Kaidan, you’re gonna score,’ and he did. You saw the fruits of that when he does score.

“He’s a big part of our team and we need him to score. When he doesn’t, we’re hopeful other guys can step in, but in the meantime, we knew Kaidan wasn’t going to be held down all game.”

Garfield ends its season at 10-10 after spending most of December sidelined.

“The fact that we played 20 games, we’re lucky,” Olesky said. “We should be proud of that fact. … We were off most of December and came back and just played a brutal January schedule with 13 or 14 games in that month and our kids responded and reacted beautifully all season long.”

South Range has moved to 12-10 on the season after five straight losses to open the season and one win in the first eight games of the season. With the South Range football and soccer teams making it to the district finals

“We had no scrimmages and we barely had our team for any practices,” Cullen said. “We really probably have gotten a lot better with not much basketball experience at the varsity level. This team, I’ve had lots of teams more talented than this team, but this team has probably improved more from the beginning till now than any team we’ve had.”

South Range travels to Andover Tuesday to take on the Pymatuning Valley Lakers in a Division III district seminfal. The winner will face the winner of Champion and top-seeded Springfield.

SO. RANGE: 14-17-10-13–53

GARFIELD: 13-5-17-11–46

SO. RANGE SCORING: Mike Patrone 3-0-6, Nate Brown 2-4-8, Brandon Mikos 5-0-11, Eli Taylor 2-0-6, Luke Crumbacher 1-0-2, Dylan Turvey 2-2-6, Corey Penick 1-0-2, Mike Perry 4-0-8, Ayden Leon 2-0-4. TEAM TOTALS: 22, 6-10: 53.

GARFIELD SCORING: Gedeon 4-1-13, Dieddes 1-0-3, Spade 4-2-13, Lysias 5-0-10, Girandizio 0-1-1, Sommers 1-0-3, Swigonsicf 0-3-3. TEAM TOTALS: 15, 7-12: 46.

Three-point goals: South Range 3 (Taylor 2, Mikos), Garfield 9 (Gedeon 4, Gieddes, Spade 3, Sommers).

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