The Garfield Heights Bulldogs hosted conference rival Warrensville Heights Tigers Wednesday night in a Lake Erie League showdown. This game would not be a normal game for the Bulldogs. Coach Sonny Johnson's dad, Mr. Johnson, has never missed a Bulldogs game until of late due to battling a serious health concern. This game was for him and the team showed how much he was missed wear matching t-shirts to commemorate him.
The Bulldogs came out blazing, starting the game on an 8-0 run before Tigers guard Kosar O'Neal put the team on the scoreboard with a free throw shot and a wide open three-point shot. The Bulldogs would go on to finish the quarter with six different players scoring at least two points taking a 23-6 lead.
Freshman phenom guard Marcus Johnson missed the entire first quarter watching the bench aside his dad and assistant coach Demetrius Johnson. He made his presence felt immediately as he entered the game scoring five quick points and keeping the intensity high on both ends of the floor. He finished the half with five points to extend the Garfield lead to 46-13 which forced a lot of Warrensville fans to exit the game early. Bulldog guard Stephen Cromwell led the team at halftime with three three-point shots and 13 total points matching the Warrensville total score.
The second half was a running clock due to OSHAA rules of a team being up by 30 or more points. That did not stop the Bulldogs from carrying over the dominance from the first half to the second. Johnson came out the second half with back-to-back three-pointers including one on a filthy step back on Tiger guard DeAngelo Highsmith making him fall to the floor. Big man DeAndre Jones brought the crowd to their feet right after with a thunderous two-hand block followed by a windmill dunk. Johnson and Jones would go on to outscore the Tigers in the quarter 10-5 by themselves extending the lead 60-18 after three.
In the final quarter, the Tigers showed a little heart. Highsmith and Johnson started to battle each other a bit which ultimately ended up with Highsmith catching a technical foul. Tiger guard Tylin Bryant knocked down a deep three-point shot showing Warrensville wasn't throwing in the towel despite being down more than 40 points. The Bulldog trio of Johnson, Jyles Brandon and Cromwell would put the finishing touches to put the Tigers away winning 74-26.
Cromwell and Johnson led the Bulldogs with 16 points each. The Bulldogs stay perfect with a record of 4-0 while the Tigers fall to 2-3.
I spoke with Bulldogs coach Sonny Johnson after the win.
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