By Greg GUlas
The Canton GlenOak Golden Eagles played like anything but a winless team Friday against Cardinal Mooney High.
Cardinal Mooney on the other hand, can only look back and wish that it had played the first three quarters of their game with the Golden Eagles like the previously undefeated Cardinals squad that ended the game.
Mike Hronec scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the second half as GlenOak defeated the Cardinals, 57-44 at the Cardinal Mooney gymnasium.
“It really feels good to finally get that first win of the season, especially against an excellent team like Cardinal Mooney. The difference between our win tonight and a couple of those early losses is that we hit our free throws when we needed to,” Hronec said. “We took care of the ball, finished around the bucket and capitalized on our half-court offense; one of our problems to start the season. As a point guard it is my job to take care of the ball, facilitate the offense and keep us composed. Being able to finish inside also helped us tonight.”
Hronec scored five of his teams’ 10 first-quarter points as the Golden Eagles (1-5) raced to an early 10-8 lead.
Five points by Jeronte Robinson and a stingy GlenOak defense that held Cardinal Mooney (3-1) to just five points in the second frame enabled the Golden Eagles to build a 23-13 halftime margin.
“This was a long time in coming because in three of our five losses, we were right there at the end but could not convert our free throws to get us over the hump. The story line tonight was us hitting our free throws, most especially in the fourth quarter when we needed them the most,” GlenOak coach Jack Reynolds said.
Five points by Hronec and four more from Jaevon Johnson after the intermission keyed a 17-8 run by the Golden Eagles as they opened a 40-21 lead over the Cardinals with eight minutes remaining.
Cardinal Mooney’s Joey Kleeh then scored 10 of his 11 points in the final stanza as the Cardinals outscored the Golden Eagles, 23-17 in the period but it proved to be too little, too late as the Cardinals fell for the first time this season and the first time in three home frays.
“We didn’t play up to our potential and having Doug [Caputo] in foul trouble didn’t help us. We were a bit hesitant and just never seemed to get it going until the end,” Cardinals coach Brian Danilov said.
“We still have growing pains but on the flip side, I was really proud of our overall effort. We’ll use every minute of practice now to improve and get better,” he added.
The Golden Eagles held a 27-24 rebound edge with Jake Merrell and Johnson hauling in a game-best six rebounds.