Garfield Heights, OH- Thursday night, the Garfield Heights Bulldogs (1-0) hosted the Cleveland Heights Tigers (1-0) in the early season Lake Erie League showdown. A highly anticipated matchup between two of the top 10 high school programs in the area attracted a large crowd at Garfield Height High School. Familiar faces from Cleveland as Cavaliers Isaac Okoro, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland & Shariffe Cooper of the Cleveland Charge were also in attendance.
The game started physically both ways as both teams looked to find their groove. Neither teams could find their sweet spot in the first combining for a measly 4-12 from the three point line. The Bulldogs led 14-11 to end the first.
In the second quarter, the game's momentum was moving in favor of the Bulldogs as they started to attack the paint and forced multiple Tigers players into foul trouble. The Bulldogs would eventually extend their lead to 26-16 behind the versatile scoring from Jyles Brandon, DeAndre Jones and Marcus Johnson. Brandon and Jones were tied with 5 points to lead the Bulldogs at halftime.
The second half spoke a different tune. The Tigers came out with a different intensity both offensively and defensively. They started the third quarter on a 7-2 run to trim their deficit to 4 points and forced the Bulldogs into consecutive bad shots and turnovers.
The Tigers took their momentum into the 4th quarter coming within as much as 2 points as Jaedon Lawson knocked down a late game three-pointer with 44.9 seconds left in the ball game to make things interesting. Garfield kept their composure as things started to get hostile during the late game foul situation to knock down free throw shots and grab back-to-back offensive rebound to secure the win 49-42 over the Tigers.
Tommie Benn of Garfield and Shemarion Hardy of Cleveland Heights both led their perspective teams with 14 points each.
I spoke with Garfield Heights coach Sonny Johnson following his teams big win.
This game recap is brought to you by Brunswick Auto Mart