Cleveland Heights, OH- The Garfield Heights Bulldogs (12-3) went on the road Tuesday night looking to do something they haven't done in over three years, sweep their cross town Lake Erie League rival.
After two last second losses over the weekend at Maple Heights and against St. Edward in the Chet Mason Inivational, the Bulldogs desperately were looking to get back to their winning ways and hang a Lake Erie League banner, which they also haven't done in some time.
Cleveland Heights (11-6) stood in their way entering the contest looking to not only defend home court, but control its own destiny to win its second LEL title in four years.
The Bulldogs were aggressive in the paint immediately after the tip-off. Senior wing and Wilburforce commit Germainn Marshall knocked down a three after junior big man DeAndre Jones used his 6'8 frame to hit a shot over Tigers defender JayQuan Stubbs. The sophomore forward gave Jones a taste of his own medicine taking advantage of his skinnier frame into the post picking up four points early for the Tigers, the only points he would score for the game.
Senior guard Rayvelle Duncan gave the Tigers the instant offensive spark they needed, scoring 12 of his team leading 14 points in the first half.
Garfield went into halftime with a 35-25 lead having those in attendance with an uncertain feeling similar to the first game in early December. Neither team allowed each other to sustain a large lead while trading runs.
Senior guard Jaden Lawson was scoreless in the first half. His presence was immediately felt 30 seconds in the second half, knocking a a much needed three for Heights. Fellow senior guard Rondelle Pollars knocked down a three of his own, giving the Tigers a early 6-0 lead electrifying the crowd. Marshall was fouled for a three point play and Johnson knocked down another three to push their lead back to 10. They would finish the third up 50-40.
Pollard and guard Shemarion Hardy started the fourth with back to back threes for Cleveland Heights narrowing their deficit to four.
Pollard also lead the team with 14 points. Hardy finished with 12.
Garfield ultimately in the end took advantage of the free throw line knocking down 10 fourth quarter free throws to win the game.
"We took it personal (losing to both Maple and Ed's" said Jones postgame. "We want that top seed and a conference championship"
"It felt good to get the win" said Johnson. "Me and my team were hungry and wanted to come out and get the win."
Marshall led all scorers with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Johnson finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Jones finished with 5 blocks to go alone with his 6 points and 7 rebounds.
The Bulldogs who shook off their two straight losses, now have full control of winning the LEL and will be host to Shaker Heights (7-8) Friday at 7:30. The Tigers who now have themselves on a streak of two losses, will host the hot Maple Heights Mustangs at 7:30, who will be looking for their 12th straight win.
This recap is brought to you by Brunswick Auto Mart