Hvisdak, Mamula-Zarlengo lead Rockets over Trojans
lead Rockets over Trojans
By John Bassetti
Tied with Sebring at 47 after three quarters, Lowellville went on a 14-2 run in the fourth quarter to win 63-53 for its sixth straight victory Friday night.
Point guard Matt Hvisdak had 16 points, Alex Mamula-Zarlingo 15 and Jake Rotz and Nate Solak 12 apiece for Lowellville (12-2, 8-1 Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference).
Gabe Lanzer had a game-high 20 points and Jake Hunter added 19 for Sebring (6-9, 2-8), which was beaten earlier by the Rockets, 55-44. Lanzer and Hunter also had five of their team’s 22 rebounds apiece.
Before Rotz, a junior, incurred his fourth foul with 5:06 left in the third, the 6-4 center had two first-quarter baskets to his credit.
After he sat on the bench the remainder of the third, then returned to start the fourth, Rotz scored four more baskets in the final eight minutes.
“I was not being too smart, but I managed to come back and stay in the game without another foul,” Rotz said. “Somehow, things changed and it all clicked and I took it to the hoop more.”
While sitting out, Rotz said he had time to think about how he was playing and do something about it.
“The coach told me to stay under control and, with team support, I didn’t pick up my fifth,” he said.
Mamula-Zarlingo, a 6-3 forward, grabbed nine of the Rockets’ 30 rebounds.
Lowellville was fortunate to have help when Rotz got in foul trouble, coach Matt Olson said.
“It’s a good thing we have two guys over 6-3,” he said. “We know Sebring is a little small and young, so thankfully, we still had some big guys in. But that played to our advantage because we wanted to run some clock and get our guards in there.”
Sebring coach Brian Clark was content with his team’s play, except the outcome.
“We played them nip-and-tuck the whole game” Clark said of Sebring holding many slim leads, including its last of 51-47 with 6:00 to play.
“Honestly, we may have led more than they did, but their experience and veteran play [a lot of the height and scoring back from last year] took over.”
Lowellville called timeout with a few minutes left and then executed at both ends of the floor.
“For my young guys, that becomes a lesson that you can’t play 30 minutes of basketball, you’ve got to play the last two minutes and execute even better,” Clark said. “My kids battled to the very end against one of the best teams in the area.”
Clark said the last minutes of quarters have been a problem for his Trojans.
“It seems like the kids look at the clock, then, as it drifts into the final minute, we don’t have good possessions on offense, then maybe make a silly foul or give up the ball when we should get an offensive rebound. It allows other teams to close the gap after we’ve played well for a good stretch.”
Clark said that he thought Sebring’s defense on Solak was very good.
“He worked for every point he got,” Clark said, then added “and Hvisdak, was a nightmare to guard all night long.”