Speedy Harding zips past Garfield Heights

McGhee leads Raiders with 32 points




Warren Harding boys basketball coach Gabe Bubon has an understanding with the Raiders. If they give him what he’s looking for on the defensive end, he won’t wave the red flag on the offensive end.

Senior guard Dom McGhee reaped the benefits of a green flag waving freely as he guided Harding to Thursday’s 83-66 victory over Garfield Heights.

The rematch of last season’s Division I district championship game was played in front of a raucous crowd.

“[Winning in front of this crowd] was everything,” McGhee said. “The city of Warren came out to support us. It meant everything. We just wanted to get the win.”

The Raiders (2-1) were 12 of 31 (38.7 percent) from beyond the arc in outracing the Bulldogs (2-2).

“You know what, the offense is what it is,” Bubon said. “I love our defense right now. In the brush game, we had the wrong expectations. We just weren’t ready for that moment.

“We really improved our defense. The guys don’t get the green light if they don’t play defense. If they play defense, I let them fire.”

McGhee knocked down six triples, D’Muntize Owens had three, DeAveion Burgess hit two and Aston Bates added another.

“Coach Bubon gave us the freedom to play our game,” McGhee said. “We were trying to be loose.

“They beat us in the district final. We just wanted to get the win. We’ve just been working in practice every day. We continue to play our style and Coach trusts us to get to our spots.”

Garfield Heights struggled from the field and it wasn’t helped by the Harding defense.

“They were in the right spots on defense,” Garfield Heights coach Sonny Johnson said. “They played well and they played for each other.”

The Bulldogs were just 22 of 67 (32.8 percent) from the field, 9 of 34 (26.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

“I just love the defense,” Bubon said. “They’re buying in on the defensive end. That’s the only way I’ll let them shoot the ball. They don’t have many options. They’re buying in and that’s all a coach wants. Getting a signature win that early.

“That’s just awesome.”

McGhee finished with 32 points, two rebounds and three assists.

“It was just letting the game come to me,” McGhee said. “I didn’t try to force anything. My teammates were telling me to take over.”

Those teammates took their opportunities, as well. Owens scored 18 points, had 10 rebounds and three assists, Burgess had 14 points and nine boards and Bates had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

“That’s a great Garfield Heights team,” McGhee said. “It took everybody who got on the floor, everybody on the bench and all of the JV players in practice to do this. It was big for us.”

Meechie Johnson led the Bulldogs with 35 points and Sonny Johnson added 18 more.

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