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by Jim Manion | Correspondent
Mogadore -- Wildcats head coach Russ Swartz said his team had to shoot the ball well if Mogadore expected to keep up with the division leading Streetsboro boys basketball team.
He couldn't ask for any better shooting as his Wildcats canned a season-high 15 3-pointers and kept their chances alive in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.
The Rockets came into Mogadore needing a victory to sew up the division title. But they went home with a demoralizing 82-55 setback Feb. 6 and will have to wait for another day to clinch the championship.
Streetsboro fell to 11-6 overall and 9-1 in the County Division and the Wildcats improved to 8-2 in the division.
"What was really nice about the 15 3s is I felt like we really shared the ball," Swartz said. "When you can do that, you're hard to guard as individuals and as a team and we took advantage of that. I thought we did a great job on the boards and also our defense was strong."
Casey Ruppel led the three parade with seven treys while Zeddie Pollock tossed in four and Dominik Pizzino drilled three.
Pollock finished the night with 23 points, while Ruppel hit for 21 and Pizzino cashed in with 18. Pollock also had seven rebounds while Eddie Pearce led the effort on the boards with eight.
The Wildcats (11-5) were on fire in the first quarter hitting six 3-pointers to take a commanding 22-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Ruppel got things rolling when he drilled a 3 from the corner, which was followed by Pizzino's first trey. Pizzino hit two more before the first quarter ended.
Streetsboro did not have a rebound in the first quarter and trailed the Wildcats off the glass 13-4 at intermission. Mogadore did not commit a personal foul in the first half. Mogadore outrebounded the Rockets 31-13.
Paul Jenkins and Devin Rencher worked the Rockets back in the game in the second quarter. Rencher finished the first half with 10 points, while Jenkins and Danny Sapp both put up seven points.
A pair of buckets by Rencher for Streetsboro cut the Wildcat lead to 24-17 at the five-minute mark of the second quarter.
Jonathan Miller entered the game off the Mogadore bench and the 6-foot-4 senior proceeded to score nine straight points in the paint. The run enabled the Wildcats to push out to a 37-26 halftime lead.
The Rockets opened the second half with Reggie Dublin hitting Sapp with a backdoor slam dunk.
He was fouled on the play and completed the 3-point play to cut the Mogadore lead inside 10 points.
With 3 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the quarter, Streetsboro cut the Mogadore lead to only three (46-43).
Sapp scored the first eight points of the second half to lead the assault. Jenkins hit a pair of buckets to bring the Rockets to within three.
Pizzino hit another 3 and then scored a 3-point play when he was fouled going to the hoop. Pearce scored on a putback and also was fouled and converted to give Mogadore a 55-46 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
"We knew that Sapp would score on us and we knew they would make a run, but we withstood it and still outscored them by a point in the third quarter," Swartz said.
Six more 3s would rain down on the Rockets in the fourth quarter as Pollock and Ruppel took turns firing up the bombs and with three minutes left in the game, the the Wildcats had a 24-point lead.
"Wow," Streetsboro coach Nick Marcini said. "We knew coming down here they were going to make some shots but not like that. I don't think we were really doing the best job defensively, but we did have a hand in their face. You have to give them credit. They outworked us."
Sapp finished the game with a team high 20 points, while Rencher scored 12 and Jenkins finished with 10.
The Rockets earned a 58-45 win in the junior varsity contest. Jared Tucker led the Streetsboro with 19 points.