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Golden Eagles Prove Too Much for Leopards; Take District Crown with 61-58 Victory

Alliance, OH- There are certain scenarios and atmospheres that young children dream about when playing ball in the front yard or local park. While Saturday afternoon didn't have a state title or any national championship tied to it, the raucous crowd that filled Harry Fails Gymnasium at Alliance High School would lead you to believe otherwise. A capacity crowd, with many looking to purchase tickets at the school turned away up to 45 minutes before tipoff, was boisterous from warm-ups until the final buzzer sounded.

Two teams, whose high schools are separated by a mere 9 miles, converged on Alliance with one goal in mind, to hoist the District Championship trophy for Division 1 Region 2. Both teams won hard fought battles in their semifinals matchup to reach this game, with Louisville outlasting Medina and GlenOak avenging two regular season losses to McKinley.

The first quarter featured an abundance of offense, as Louisville ended the frame up 3, 22-19. Leading the way for the Leopards was Brayden Gross, who missed the semifinal game, with 9. GlenOak was paced by Ja'Corey Lipkins who deposited 9 as well.

Scoring was more at a premium in the 2nd quarter, as GlenOak outscored the Leopards 12-10, thanks to a late 3 by Lipkins to cut the Leopard lead to 1 at the midway point, 32-31.

Leading scorers at the half for both squads were Lipkins with 14 for the Golden Eagles while the Leopards had a two headed scoring monster of Beau Siegfried and Brayden Gross, accounting for 10 apiece.

The Golden Eagles wasted no time out of the break, going on a quick 7-0 run in the first 1:57 of play to open the half, leading to a Leopard timeout to stop the bleeding. The time out worked, as over the final 6 minutes of play in the quarter, the Leopards answered with a 13-5 run, including a buzzer beating lay in by lone Senior Hayden Nigro, giving the Leopards a two point advantage heading to the final quarter.

It was the Golden Eagles again opening the quarter with a 6-1 run in the first 3:30 of action to build a 3 point lead. GlenOak would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way as they meticulously ran their offense and took time off the clock while getting up good shots to build the lead. In the final minutes, they used opportunistic defense to create some open shots to keep the Leopards from retaking the lead or sending the game to overtime. The Golden Eagles advance to the Regional round next week as they head to Kent State University to take on the winner of Massillon Jackson and Mentor. Tipoff for the Regional Semifinal is Tuesday at 7:00 pm.


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