Tier Two takes two (contests): Lude, Davis key all-star wins
By Eric Hamilton
LISBON — For Western Reserve senior Justin Lude, the postseason basketball schedule is proving to be even more hectic than the regular season.
During the season, it’s common to play two games a week, with two days of rest between the games. But after competing in the second of three straight all-star contests on Thursday night, Lude’s feeling slightly winded.
“I was dying on Wednesday night at the game in Boardman,” said Lude, who will finish off the all-star circuit tonight at the Bubba Classic in Warren. “But I think that got me in shape for tonight and I feel a little better.”
Lude got stronger as the game went on Thursday, scoring 11 of his game-high 16 points in the second half to lead the Inter Tri-County League Tier Two squad to a 65-57 win over the Tier One all-stars.
The Tier One all-stars led most of the contest, which featured two 20-minute halves with a running clock. But the Tier Two team overcame a seven-point deficit in the second half, taking a 52-51 advantage on a basketball by Leetonia’s Andrew Trummer.
The lead was never relinquished, as Southern’s Andrew Diaz hit a 3-pointer and another hoop with 1:37 left to give his squad a 61-55 lead.
“It was fun to play with guys that you hate on during the season,” said Lude, who plans to walk on for basketball and football at YSU next year. “It was good to get one more run at the upper tier and get to know some of the guys on my team better.”
In addition to Lude’s numbers, Trummer added 10 points for the Tier Two squad. Everyone on the roster scored for the orange team.
Columbiana’s Kevin Blinsky stole the spotlight for Tier One, scoring 15 points. Mineral Ridge’s Cody Graham added 13 points and every player cracked the score sheet as well.
In the boys’ 3-point contest at halftime, East Palestine’s Brandenn Keylor connected for 16 3s in the finals to defeat Sebring’s Devin Weekly 16-10. Keylor beat Columbiana’s Travis Denmeade 11-10 in the first round, while Weekly knocked off Southern’s Ethan Blatch 12-10.
After giving up a 10-point halftime lead, the Tier Two all-stars hit four free throws in the final minute of the opening contest to secure a 49-48 win over the Tier One squad.
The Tier One team tied the game at 43-all on a basket by Crestview’s Marissa Newbauer with 1:07 remaining.
Jackson-Milton’s Alyssa Chine converted two free throws with 7 seconds left to give the lower tier a 49-45 advantage.
After a timeout, United’s Maggie Sell drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but her team still came up one point short.
Individually, the night belonged to a pair of Leetonia seniors. Lynsie Davis was a force inside, rolling up a game-high 16 points to lead the Tier Two stars.
Her teammate, Gina Jones, hit eight treys in the 3-point contest to top East Palestine’s Bree Hull 8-4 in the finals.
“It was nice to play with Gina one more time,” said Davis. “We work pretty well together and this made it nice. It was good to play with girls from other teams and everyone was so friendly and worked great together.
“I was out of the game and I thought we had it won, but they came back and went back in. But we pulled it out in the end. It was nice to finish it all like this.”
Chine finished with seven points for the Tier Two squad and Wellsville’s P.J. Williams and McDonald’s Lindsay Repp chipped in with six each.
The Tier One squad was paced by Sell’s 13 points, all in the second half. Her United teammate Maggie Miller added 11 points and Columbiana’s Kaylee Couchenour chipped in with five.