EASTLAKE—Brandon Barron scored a game-high 32 points and Jake Tanski added 17 to lead North to a 71-53 non-conference win over visiting Geneva in the season opener for both teams on Friday.
The Rangers led by as many as 12 in the first half but the Eagles chipped away to pull to within 37-30 at the break.
“It was good to come out the way we did, getting a lead early on,” said North coach Rob Koelling. “Geneva doesn’t give up and they didn’t quit, but our guys sustained what they were doing. We kept answering when they made runs and we were able to respond and we were able to expand that lead too. It was a great way to start off the year.”
Barron and Tanski combined to score 13 of North’s 21 first quarter points. Barron finished with 20 in the half and Tanski finished with four 3-pointers in the game.
“Brandon knows he has to take over at times and he’s not afraid to do that,” Koelling said. “I thought Jake had a great night. It’s his birthday and he went out and knocked down a handful of 3s for us.”
Barron got hot in the second quarter when the Eagles made a run to cut North’s 12-point deficit to just four.
He had back-to-back blocks on the defensive end and followed up the second with a 3-pointer.
“I wanted it so bad,” Barron said. “It’s my last first game I’m going to play as a senior. I love the guys I’m playing with and our chemistry is great. I knew from the start we were going to (go) off.”
Mikey Duleba pitched in with eight points for the Rangers and Jimmy Arnold finished with six. Riley Cunningham contributed with four and both Cory Cantrell and Nate Scott scored two.
“Cantrell came off the bench and played some big minutes for us,” Koelling said. “He guarded their best player defensively and shut him down pretty good and made some good choices offensively too as far as ball movement and helping the offense flow.”
Brandon Smith led Geneva with 20 points and Nick Stoltz finished with 13.
The Rangers travel to Mayfield on Friday.
North 71, Geneva 53
Geneva: Smith 21, Stoltz 18, O. Varckette 5, Harvey 5, Peet 4, V. Varckette 4, Schafer 3, Goodrick 2
North: Barron 33, Tanski 17, Duleba 8, Arnold 6, Cunningham 4, Scott 2, Cantrell 2
Geneva 14 16 6 17 — 53 North 21 16 17 17 — 71
Free throws: Geneva 23 of 30, North 14 of 16; 3-pointers: Geneva 2 (O. Varckette, Schafer), North 8 (Barron, Arnold, Tanski) ; Rebounds: Geneva 31 (Stoltz 11), North (Tanski 6); Assists: Geneva 3 (Peet, Stoltz, Goodrick), North (Arnold 6)