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The Suburbanite
  • LCCS falls to nearly flawless Southeast

  • In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu wrote that a clever warrior “wins his battles by making no mistakes.”

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  • In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu wrote that a clever warrior “wins his battles by making no mistakes.”
    The philosophy apparently works for pirates as well, because while they weren’t perfect, the Southeast Pirates (5-3) executed almost flawlessly in a 57-43 nonleague win over Lake Center Christian. Their textbook offensive performance in the first quarter made the difference in the game.
    In victory, the hosts committed just nine turnovers, and their offense functioned with precision in the first period when the outcome was, for all intents and purposes, decided.
    In posting 22 points in the opening frame, Southeast took advantage of nearly every LCCS miscue and rode the scoring of junior guard Jordan Krych to a 22-6 lead.
    “I thought we came out a little bit flat defensively, and they made us pay,” LCCS coach Eric Schlabach said. “That’s about as well as I’ve seen a team play offensively in the first quarter, and we certainly weren’t happy with our defensive effort.”
    From there, the Tigers (3-4) outscored Southeast 37-35, but it simply was not enough to rally. Every time it seemed LCCS was poised to make a run and get back into the game, a key basket from Krych or a defensive stop would stall the mounting comeback.
    “I thought we played much better after (the first quarter), but that kind of overshadowed the last three. You still have to make the shots and they did. Give them credit because they’re a good team,” Schlabach said. “We played better, but we could never really chip away."
    Erratic shooting, along with 19 turnovers, was a major issue for the Tigers. Shooting just 38.2 percent (13-of-34) and an anemic 18.8 percent from the 3-point line (3-of-16), they simply could not find their range on the road. Those shooting struggles also carried over to the free-throw line, where a team that entered the week shooting 65 percent as a unit could muster only 52.2 percent  (12-of-23), leaving key points on the table when they were needed most.
    Only one LCCS player, senior forward Trevor Rainieri (6-of-8), made more than half of his charity tosses for the game.
    LCCS had eight more possessions than Southeast, but the Pirates simply made more of their chances, especially in the early going. Working with a double-digit margin for most of the night, they left the Tigers with little room for error in the final three quarters and used their defensive pressure to continue creating turnovers that led to points on the offensive end.
    While the final margin was 14 points, it could have been much worse had the Tigers not turned in their usual dominant effort on the glass. Once again facing a Portage Trail Conference opponent from a higher division, LCCS managed a 28-22 rebounding edge, including 10 offensive caroms to provide second-chance scores that kept hope alive.
    Page 2 of 2 - Rainieri led the way for the Tigers with a double-double, notching 16 points and 11 rebounds to go with two steals. Senior guard Alex Armstrong was the only other LCCS player in double figures with 11, but was plagued with foul trouble all night and eventually fouled out in the fourth quarter.
    Krych, also a standout quarterback for the Southeast football team, led the Pirates in scoring with 17 points, and Kenny Dillon chipped in with 16.
    The continued struggles of senior forward Mark Slayman with a lingering ankle injury also hurt LCCS, as Slayman was not his usual active self around the basket and was not a significant factor in the contest with four points and five rebounds. The defeat was the second in a row for the Tigers, both coming against PTC opponents after a 38-34 home loss to Springfield.
    With three more PTC opponents on their schedule (Rootstown, Coventry and Mogadore), the Tigers hope to break their tough luck against the conference after a similarly tough run last season. In the pursuit, they just might want to take a page from Southeast’s first-quarter playbook.

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