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by Sarah Welch
Streetsboro -- The Streetsboro boys basketball team made a statement in its return to the Portage Trail Conference County Division.
After back-to-back seasons ending as runners-up in the Metro Division, the Rockets cut down the nets in their gymnasium, following a 72-43 victory over the Garfield G-Men to clinch at least a share of the County Division title Feb. 14.
"We had a job to do and we put ourselves in the position to where we control our own destiny," Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini said.
"We wanted to seal the deal on our home court. We would still like to get it outright, but it's a championship, so we'll take it."
The Rockets can claim the outright title with a win over Waterloo in their regular-season finale Feb. 21 in Atwater. Varsity game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Streetsboro (13-6, 10-1) had a 25-17 lead at halftime and then pulled away in the third quarter. The Rockets outscored the G-Men 29-14 in the third period.
Paul Jenkins' appearance in the game at the end of the first quarter and throughout the second quarter seemed to rattle Garfield beyond repair.
Jenkins led Streetsboro after the first half with nine points and finished the night as the high scorer with 19 points.
He also was the leading rebounder, nearly clearing a double-double with nine.
"Paul had a great start of the year and he battled through an injury," Marcini said. "He's just coming back, but what he did is something Paul could do on any given night.
"He's a great player and it was good to see him come down here and play like he did, so hats off to him."
Other offensive leaders for the Rockets included Daniel Sapp with 15 points and Reggie Dublin with 11 points.
Garfield was led by Nick Jurcevic with 14 points and Anthony Workman with 10 points.
Fred Maxey collected the most rebounds for the G-Men with a total of eight, seven of which were in the first half before Maxey exited the game due to an injury during the latter half.
Streetsboro only gave up six rebounds after halftime, while grabbing 17.
Following a year of experience in the County Division and three years of experience in the Metro Division, Marcini has obtained two championships and two runner-up seasons.
However, he believes the competition is fierce across divisions.
"It's good basketball all around Portage County," Marcini said. "Obviously, you run into some bigger schools in the Metro League, but down here in the County League, you've still got good basketball and kids that play hard.
"Everyone is out for the same goal. There's good competition and you're going to play a good game every night."
The Rockets also posted a 52-35 win in the junior varsity contest.
Streetsboro was scheduled to host Nordonia Feb. 18. Results were not available at press time.
The Rockets are set to conclude the regular season against County Division rival Waterloo Feb. 21 in Atwater.
Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Streetsboro received the sixth seed at the Stow-Munroe Falls Division II sectional-district tournament.
The Rockets are scheduled to play the winner of Tallmadge-Revere March 1 at 7 p.m.
If Tallmadge wins, the game is set to take place at Tallmadge High School's James O. Maddox Court.
If Revere wins, the game is scheduled to take place at Streetsboro.