Aaron Broja drained a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation but North couldn’t complete the comeback as the Wildcats went on to win the Western Reserve Conference showdown on Tuesday, 70-64.
“We played too spotty,” North coach Rob Koelling said. “We’ve got to get more consistent with when we go on momentum spurts. We have a tendency to play half of a quarter good or play one solid quarter and then we let up. We’ve got to get more consistent in that sense to be able to have success throughout the course of the game.”
Mayfield led 17-12 after the first quarter and the Wildcats extended their lead at halftime to 30-23.
The Rangers made their move after the break by outscoring their hosts in the third quarter, 20-11, to take a 43-41 lead into the final eight minutes of play.
“We had a lot of energy on defense and a lot of run and jump,” Koelling said of North’s third-quarter surge. “We got to create some steals and got some quick buckets. We were able to get some shots up and pushed the ball up in transition to get the looks we wanted to.”
Trailing 56-53 with mere seconds left, North set up a play to force the extra period.
Brian Skolny found Evan Liddington in the corner but Liddington didn’t have a good look so he passed the ball off to Aaron Broja, who drained the game-tying 3.
“We sent two of our posts over to that side to get the rebound and sent Evan to the corner so we had a quick kick out,” Koelling said. “Evan got it and didn’t have a shot so he passed it back to Aaron on the wing and he knocked it down. That was a big momentum shift but then we’ve got to step up our game for the next four minutes and unfortunately that didn’t happen.”
Mayfield outscored the Rangers in overtime, 14-8.
“Ultimately, it comes down to we’ve got to make free throws,” Koelling said. “We shot 58-percent from the free throw line and that’s not going to get it done. When you get there, you’ve got to capitalize.”
Liddington led the Rangers with 15 points while Skolny, Broja and Mikey Duleba also scored in double figures with 13, 11 and 10, respectively.
Michael Favazzo led the Wildcats with a game-high 19 points.
Mayfield 70, North 64 (OT)
Mayfield (5-11): Favazzo 19, Huss 8, Seawood 0, Martinich 8, Brown 16, Vann 13 Nahra 7
North (4-12): Duleba 10, Qorri 6, Morgan 4, Liddington 15, Broja 11, Skolny 13 Randle 3, Scott 2
North 12 11 20 13 8 — 64
Mayfield 17 13 11 15 14 — 70
Free throws: Mayfield 20 of 28, North 10 of 17; 3-pointers: Mayfield 6, North 8; Rebounds: North 21, Mayfield 17; Assists: North 15, Mayfield 10