By BOB ETTINGER
Samari Dean and Frankie Manios couldn’t be more different in the way they approach their roles in the Howland boys basketball team’s offense.
Dean is most likely to attack the rim on a drive, but he did his best impression of Manios in Friday’s 63-42 victory over Austintown Fitch on Friday night.
“[Dean] is one of those kids I know will never be afraid to shoot,” Howland coach Dan Bubon said. “When his arc is good, I know he’s going to be on. When he isn’t shooting well, his shot is flat.
“Even though he missed that first one, it had good arc. He’s smart. He doesn’t overdo it [and take too many shots]. He’s a smart kid.”
It was Dean who opened the door for the Howland offense with a 3-pointer in the first minute. He knocked down two more in the first half and finished with 10 points.
“It started with Connor [Tamarkin],” Dean said. “My teammates got me the ball. I can shoot. I’m a streaky shooter, not a good shooter.”
Manios took over in the second period and netted 11 points as the Tigers (13-5, 8-3 All-American Conference Red) went from down one to leading by 19 at the intermission.
“If we had a shooting contest, I’d bet that either Manios or Frank Rappach would win,” Bubon said. “Manios will just keep shooting.
“After shooting 29 percent the other night [in a loss to Warren Harding]. I’m happy they were confident and kept taking shots. All teams have a bad shooting night, but they come back the next night and take those shots again. And they bury them.”
Off the bench, Emanuel Dawkins sparked the Falcons (8-9, 5-6) to start the second quarter with six points sandwiched around Manios’ first triple as Fitch took a 17-16 advantage.
Over the next 5:24, the pesky Howland defenders — outsized at every position — forced a number one-and-dones and knocked down their own shots on the other end to take a 36-19 lead with a minute to play in the period.
“We didn’t get off to a good start and we missed some shots,” Fitch coach Brian Beany said. “They came out and shot very well.
“They outworked us in the first half,” Beany said. “They got to a lot of loose balls. They had a lot of open looks. Everything about us just seemed flat. I don’t have an answer. I have no idea [what happened].”
Manios’ jumper with 34 seconds left and the 3-pointer he banked in from the wing just ahead of the buzzer had the Tigers up 19, 41-22, at the break. He finished with 11 points.
“I got some great looks and my teammates got me the ball,” Manios said. “They were finding me in the corner and at the top of the key. That last one was because I had a little luck on the bank.”
The Falcons couldn’t muster a run in the in the second half and trailed by 20 or more the rest of the way.
Jonah Weisman led the Tigers with 13 points and Nathan Barrett chipped in with nine more.
Randy Smith paced the Falcons with 11 points while Dawkins scored nine.