Warren Harding turned back Ursuline 49-36 at Gund Arena.
CLEVELAND -- In a battle for the top spot in the Steel Valley Conference on Wednesday afternoon at Gund Arena, Warren Harding High used excellent defensive play to defeat Ursuline, 49-36.
Perhaps it was the teams' unfamiliarity with the court, as neither shot well. The Irish were 14-for-48, and Warren Harding was 19-for-46.
In fact, the first scoring didn't occur for nearly three minutes, when the Raiders' Bruce Allen made a pair of free throws. The first field goal, by Warren Harding senior Pat White, came at the 3:50 mark of the first quarter.
When the period ended the Raiders had a 7-0 lead, as Ursuline was 0-for-12 from the floor.
Mario Manningham's basket and free throw open the second quarter to give Warren Harding a 10-0 lead.
Ursuline ends drought
The Irish, who defeated Warren Harding 60-52 on Jan. 14, didn't get on the scoreboard until the 7:25 mark of the second quarter, when 6-foot-3 sophomore D'Aundray Brown scored. He added another field goal, Carey Palermo drilled a 3-pointer, and with a pair of free throws by Terry Vidale the Raiders' lead was only 12-9 with 4:13 remaining in the first half.
Even with 12 turnovers at the time, the Irish appeared to be making a game of it. Then the Raiders' 6-2 senior, Steve Williams, scored six unanswered points and Warren Harding led 20-11 at halftime.
The Raiders scored the first eight points of the second half, punctuated by Brian Wright's 3-pointer that made it 28-11 with 2:25 remaining. Ursuline finished the quarter with only three points and trailed, 30-14.
In the fourth quarter, the Irish outscored Warren Harding 22-19 behind Brown, who scored a game-high 22 points and made nine of his team's 14 field goals.
Only four Ursuline players scored. Jerome Jones, who was averaging 17 points per game, was held scoreless and fouled out with 2:50 remaining in the contest. Jones also had just four rebounds.
"In our practices for this game we emphasized defense," said Warren Harding coach Steve Arnold. "We came to contest every shot. What we wanted from our guys was defense, rebounding and to push the basketball when we were on offense, and though we could have shot better, all of those things were accomplished.
"We played with a lot more energy than we did in [the first game against Ursuline] and showed a better determination on defense."
Manningham, who finished with 11 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds, added, "We couldn't let Jones have his way on the glass."
Williams led the Raiders (13-1, 3-1 SVC) with 13 points.
"We knew if we were going to have any offense we had to push the ball all the time," he said.
Junior Roddy Fuller added 10 points for Harding, and White had five blocked shots.
Ursuline (10-3, 3-1) coach Keith Gunther said, "Harding played hard and played well, and we seemed to be intimidated from the beginning of the game."
The Irish had 23 turnovers to 19 for Harding.