Next: Sebring at W. Reserve, Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Next: McDonald at Leetonia, Friday at 7:30 p.m.
By Jim Flick
An early lead against Sebring helped the McDonald High boys basketball remain undefeated.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said coach Jeff Rasile after his team’s 59-41 victory.
Many of the “good things” came from McDonald senior Matthias Tayala, the game’s leading scorer with 20 points.
Early in the game, the “good things” were three 3-point shots by senior Louie Ronghi.
Ronghi sank a 3-pointer to score the game’s first points. After he sank his third 3-pointer, the Blue Devils led 11-5 in the first quarter.
By game’s end, Rongi had scored 15 points.
“The kid’s a shooter,” Rasile said.
Senior Nick Rota tallied 12 points for McDonald (11-0, 7-0 Inter Tri-County League Tier Two), and senior Justin Rota added five points.
Aaron VanKirk led Sebring (7-3, 3-3 ITCL2) with 16 points while Seamus Johnson and Dakota Wagner each tossed in eight points.
After Ronghi’s long-range sharpshooting, Tony Ingalls sank a field goal to boost McDonald’s lead to 13-5.
But Sebring didn’t quit. The Trojans shaved the margin to six points, 15-9, at the end of the first quarter.
The Blue Devils dominated the early minutes of the second quarter, building the lead to 24-11 after Austin Bucan shot a 3-pointer.
Sebring came back again, reducing McDonald’s lead to just five points, 24-19, at halftime, after VanKirk scored layups in consecutive possessions.
The Blue Devils then scored seven unanswered points to start the second half, a scoring run that ended with Nick Rota’s three-point play. By the end of the third quarter, McDonald led 40-32.
McDonald dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring Sebring 19-9.
While Ronghi’s 3-point shooting gave the Blue Devils an early spark, Tayala’s tough inside play in the second half put the game out of reach for Sebring. Tayala connected for only a single free throw goal in the first half, but scored 19 points in the second half.
“Our game is playing hard and going to the rim,” Rasile said. “Sebring never quit.”
Nick Rota said, “Every game, we want to outwork the other team and wear them down.”
Sebring coach Steve Beshara said his team “committed too many turnovers.
“This is a difficult place to play,” Beshara said. “McDonald is the class of our league.
“Every time we got to within eight points or less, they did their thing,” which was tough defensive pressure that often forced Sebring to commit turnovers.
“I know McDonald is a handful in terms of defensive pressure and intensity,” Beshara said.