Josh Norton delivered a backdoor bounce pass to fellow junior Xavier Perez for an uncontested lay-in, which Chagrin Falls had been doing all game, and the Tiger cagers were on their merry way to marking a dub.

That basket gave the Chagrin boys their largest lead, 52-34, with 6:10 to play during a home clash against Chagrin Valley Conference foe Orange on Tuesday night at Quesinberry Gymnasium.

On a mission to remain unbeaten in league play, all the Tigers (8-2, 5-0) needed to do was hit their free throws and not turn over the ball down the stretch.

Fast-forward four minutes – after a pair of 3-pointers by Orange senior Harrison Pyner as well as some transition buckets by seniors Nick Walters, Scott Minor and Jared Leikin – the Lions were smoking hot at both ends of the floor during a 15-3 run to cut their deficit, 55-49, with 2:14 to play.

Chagrin Falls appeared to have caught a cold to cough up 10 turnovers and shoot just nine-of-19 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers still found a remedy to hold off Orange (3-5, 3-2) for a 63-57 home victory.

“We’ve been able to finish games this year, so that hasn’t been an issue,” Chagrin Falls 15th-year head coach Dave Bargar said. “But the last two games we’ve had some issues with turnovers and our lack of free throws, which hurt tonight for sure.”

Overall, the Tigers were 18-of-35 from the stripe and had 21 turnovers against Orange.

“The shame of it was that we played great basketball for three-plus quarters,” Bargar said. “We just got sloppy down at the end of the game, and we were fortunate it didn’t cost us.”

Despite their 51.4-percent struggles at the foul line, the Chagrin boys shot the ball well in the rhythm of their offense, finishing 20-of-33 from the field, including five-of-six from downtown.

After a 13-12 lead at the quarter mark, with six different Tigers making buckets in the opening frame, Chagrin’s Perez got busy on his game-high 18 points, with 10 coming in the second quarter to motor a 32-21 lead at halftime. Perez would also finish the night with three assists, three steals and a block.

Behind a balanced offense, no Tiger has scored more than 18 points in a game through 10 contests this season.

“It was mainly just my teammates getting me open and finding ways to get me shots,” Perez said about having the hot hand in the second quarter, including a pair of treys. “We’re always looking for the open shot, and I was able to knock them down tonight.”

Meanwhile, Orange shot 22-of-50 from the field against a Tiger defense that was backboned by 6-foot-3 junior Jack McMullen, whose presence down low against Lion 6-foot-5 senior Donald Hughes, 11 points, and 6-foot-2 senior post Myles King, three points off the bench, allowed his Chagrin teammates to keep a lockdown on perimeter shooters.

McMullen finished the night with 12 points and nine boards for Chagrin.

“We take a lot of pride in our defense, playing together as a team at that end of the court,” McMullen said. “So, I think when we see matchups like that, it’s a lot about the team effort. I know my team has got my back in all those matchups.”

The Tigers stretched their lead, 48-32, in the third quarter through the handyman work of 6-foot-2 junior Josh Norton, who didn’t score any points in the frame, but he came up with a steal and assist to Perez in transition, then an assist to McMullen down low and another assist to 6-foot junior Tate Yonker for a 3-pointer.

Norton finished the night with eight points, seven boards, five assists and two steals, while Yonker had nine points with two steals.

And once Norton found Perez on a backdoor bounce feed for that previously mentioned uncontested lay-in to open the Tigers’ largest lead of the game, 52-34, with 6:10 remaining, Chagrin got a little too comfortable in crunch time, McMullen said.

“We know we’ve got some stuff to clean up down the stretch,” McMullen said. “It’s showed up our last two games. We’re not happy about that. But, like we talked about in the locker room, we made just enough plays to win. That’s all that matters, is leaving here with a W. So, obviously we’ve got some stuff to work on in practice, but we’re happy with the W.”

During Orange’s comeback, Hughes came up with a steal and an outlet to Minor, who assisted Walters in transition, and then Minor went coast-to-coast on his own steal to cap off that 15-3 run that got the Lions back in the game, 55-49, with 2:14 to play.

After a timeout, Chagrin Falls answered with Perez dishing out an and-one bucket to McMullen, who flexed his guns with good reason. Then Perez came up with a steal and a breakaway bucket to re-open the double-digit lead, 60-49, with 1:50 to play.

“I kept seeing them pass it up top immediately,” Perez said. “So, I just predetermined what I was going to do and just got the steal, got the layup, and it was a really big play for us. Those two possessions gave us the momentum we needed to finish out the game.”

Orange’s Pyner did hit two more treys in the final minute to keep it close. He finished five-of-seven from downtown for a team-high 17 points. Also stuffing the stat sheet for the Lions, Hughes had 11 points, eight boards, two assists and two blocks; Walters had nine points, three boards and three steals; and Leikin had five points, three assists and four steals.

Joining Perez, McMullen, Norton and Yonker to lead the Tigers, seniors Evan Bargar and Cam Owen finished with seven points apiece.

“At the end of the year, when they look back, we don’t get any more wins for style points,” coach Bargar said. “That’s a really good basketball team over there, and we came away with a hard-fought win. In the CVC, that’s not easy to do every night.”

Up next, Chagrin Falls will travel to take on Geneva (5-6) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Ashtabula County, where the Tigers will have the opportunity to deliver Bargar his 200th win during his time at the helm.

By TONY LANGE

    Josh Norton delivered a backdoor bounce pass to fellow junior Xavier Perez for an uncontested lay-in, which Chagrin Falls had been doing all game, and the Tiger cagers were on their merry way to marking a dub.

    That basket gave the Chagrin boys their largest lead, 52-34, with 6:10 to play during a home clash against Chagrin Valley Conference foe Orange on Tuesday night at Quesinberry Gymnasium.

    On a mission to remain unbeaten in league play, all the Tigers (8-2, 5-0) needed to do was hit their free throws and not turn over the ball down the stretch.

    Fast-forward four minutes – after a pair of 3-pointers by Orange senior Harrison Pyner as well as some transition buckets by seniors Nick Walters, Scott Minor and Jared Leikin – the Lions were smoking hot at both ends of the floor during a 15-3 run to cut their deficit, 55-49, with 2:14 to play.

    Chagrin Falls appeared to have caught a cold to cough up 10 turnovers and shoot just nine-of-19 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers still found a remedy to hold off Orange (3-5, 3-2) for a 63-57 home victory.

    “We’ve been able to finish games this year, so that hasn’t been an issue,” Chagrin Falls 15th-year head coach Dave Bargar said. “But the last two games we’ve had some issues with turnovers and our lack of free throws, which hurt tonight for sure.”

    Overall, the Tigers were 18-of-35 from the stripe and had 21 turnovers against Orange.

    “The shame of it was that we played great basketball for three-plus quarters,” Bargar said. “We just got sloppy down at the end of the game, and we were fortunate it didn’t cost us.”

    Despite their 51.4-percent struggles at the foul line, the Chagrin boys shot the ball well in the rhythm of their offense, finishing 20-of-33 from the field, including five-of-six from downtown.

    After a 13-12 lead at the quarter mark, with six different Tigers making buckets in the opening frame, Chagrin’s Perez got busy on his game-high 18 points, with 10 coming in the second quarter to motor a 32-21 lead at halftime. Perez would also finish the night with three assists, three steals and a block.

    Behind a balanced offense, no Tiger has scored more than 18 points in a game through 10 contests this season.  

    “It was mainly just my teammates getting me open and finding ways to get me shots,” Perez said about having the hot hand in the second quarter, including a pair of treys. “We’re always looking for the open shot, and I was able to knock them down tonight.”

    Meanwhile, Orange shot 22-of-50 from the field against a Tiger defense that was backboned by 6-foot-3 junior Jack McMullen, whose presence down low against Lion 6-foot-5 senior Donald Hughes, 11 points, and 6-foot-2 senior post Myles King, three points off the bench, allowed his Chagrin teammates to keep a lockdown on perimeter shooters.

    McMullen finished the night with 12 points and nine boards for Chagrin.

    “We take a lot of pride in our defense, playing together as a team at that end of the court,” McMullen said. “So, I think when we see matchups like that, it’s a lot about the team effort. I know my team has got my back in all those matchups.”

    The Tigers stretched their lead, 48-32, in the third quarter through the handyman work of 6-foot-2 junior Josh Norton, who didn’t score any points in the frame, but he came up with a steal and assist to Perez in transition, then an assist to McMullen down low and another assist to 6-foot junior Tate Yonker for a 3-pointer.

    Norton finished the night with eight points, seven boards, five assists and two steals, while Yonker had nine points with two steals.

    And once Norton found Perez on a backdoor bounce feed for that previously mentioned uncontested lay-in to open the Tigers’ largest lead of the game, 52-34, with 6:10 remaining, Chagrin got a little too comfortable in crunch time, McMullen said.

    “We know we’ve got some stuff to clean up down the stretch,” McMullen said. “It’s showed up our last two games. We’re not happy about that. But, like we talked about in the locker room, we made just enough plays to win. That’s all that matters, is leaving here with a W. So, obviously we’ve got some stuff to work on in practice, but we’re happy with the W.”

    During Orange’s comeback, Hughes came up with a steal and an outlet to Minor, who assisted Walters in transition, and then Minor went coast-to-coast on his own steal to cap off that 15-3 run that got the Lions back in the game, 55-49, with 2:14 to play.

    After a timeout, Chagrin Falls answered with Perez dishing out an and-one bucket to McMullen, who flexed his guns with good reason. Then Perez came up with a steal and a breakaway bucket to re-open the double-digit lead, 60-49, with 1:50 to play.

    “I kept seeing them pass it up top immediately,” Perez said. “So, I just predetermined what I was going to do and just got the steal, got the layup, and it was a really big play for us. Those two possessions gave us the momentum we needed to finish out the game.”

    Orange’s Pyner did hit two more treys in the final minute to keep it close. He finished five-of-seven from downtown for a team-high 17 points. Also stuffing the stat sheet for the Lions, Hughes had 11 points, eight boards, two assists and two blocks; Walters had nine points, three boards and three steals; and Leikin had five points, three assists and four steals.

    Joining Perez, McMullen, Norton and Yonker to lead the Tigers, seniors Evan Bargar and Cam Owen finished with seven points apiece.

    “At the end of the year, when they look back, we don’t get any more wins for style points,” coach Bargar said. “That’s a really good basketball team over there, and we came away with a hard-fought win. In the CVC, that’s not easy to do every night.”

    Up next, Chagrin Falls will travel to take on Geneva (5-6) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Ashtabula County, where the Tigers will have the opportunity to deliver Bargar his 200th win during his time at the helm.

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