Golden Eagles avenge earlier loss, get ready for postseason with 62-46 win.
HERMITAGE -- Friday night's boys basketball game between Greenville and Kennedy Catholic high schools turned out to be a game for nothing more than bragging rights.
A win would give Greenville a sweep of the season series against the Golden Eagles as well as the top spot in the regional standings.
On the other side of the coin, a win by Kennedy would give the Eagles some satisfaction for a 61-59 loss suffered in the first meeting, the best record in the region and keep their momentum going as they head into the postseason.
When the issue was finally decided, the Golden Eagles were all over the Trojans in the rematch as they defeated their guests 62-46.
"We were just looking to this game as a means of preparing us for the playoffs," Kennedy coach Tim Loomis said. "In the first game, their kids played great basketball and it might have been the best game they played all year. They deserved to win the first game, and when I looked at the film, I couldn't believe how soft we played, and that we didn't get the ball to where it needed to be. It was our first loss in the district in the past four years, but they deserved to beat us."
Solid on defense
Good defense many times generates offense on the other end of the floor and that is exactly what happened in the first half as Kennedy (18-5, 15-1) led 14-7 after one period before extending its advantage to 36-23 at halftime.
"I wasn't too concerned about our offense," Loomis said. "I just told the guys to keep our momentum going defensively, and I think we were able to do that. I just wanted to see high intensity on the defensive end of the floor, and for the most part, I think we had that tonight."
Early in the contest, the Eagles' offense was largely generated by Jason Lane, David Jackson and Blair Rozenblad. In leading the Eagles to a 13-point lead (49-36) after three periods, Lane scored all of his 13 points, Jackson had all eight of his and Rozenblad tallied 14 of his team-high 15 points.
Seniors take over
But as time wore on and the Trojans (19-4, 14-2) decided to pack it in on the block defensively, Kennedy seniors Brandon Mirizio and Shamus Reimold took over down the stretch.
Reimold finished with 14 points, including four 3s, while Mirizio wound up with 12 points, including a pair of 3s.
"That is the whole key to success," Loomis said. "I have always said that guards get you to the championships and the big guys have to win them. Whether it is in high school or college, that is just the way it is.
"We were in foul trouble the whole game and they [Mirizio and Reimold] played very hard in the second half. I thought our subs came off the bench and did a good job by giving us some quality minutes that really helped us."
Good guard play
The Kennedy guards are stepping up on offense, and Loomis likes what he sees from them.
"Mirizio sat most of the first half, but right now our guard play is getting to where it is playoff-caliber," Loomis said. "When he [Mirizio] gets on the floor and starts pushing it up [the floor], it opens Reimold up because they now have to play him.
"The difference in our team right now is that the guards are starting to play well. They hit a few jump shots outside, and when that happens, you have to guard them outside. All four guards are really playing well, and when we play Blair [Rozenblad] out there, that really helps and [Jason] Lane is doing a much better job."
Matt Fell scored 16 points to lead Greenville.