LaBrae gains revenge in rout of G-Men

Garfield eliminated Vikings last two seasons

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Tyler Stephens of LaBrae dunks during the Vikings’ 76-24 rout of Garfield on Monday night in Warren.

WARREN — After losing two straight years to Garfield in tournament play, LaBrae wasn’t going there again. The Vikings defeated Garfield, 76-24, in a Division III Warren District semifinal Tuesday night at Warren G. Harding High School.

From the tip, LaBrae (23-1) got out to an 8-2 lead, including an Aaron Iler alley-oop from Benton Tennant. LaBrae continued its hot shooting, as it led 20-7 after one quarter. Tyler Stephens had seven points and seven rebounds in the quarter.

“Anger. We wanted to come out with anger and aggression. We have been waiting for this ever since the bracket came out,” Stephens said. “Once we saw that matchup, it was over from there. We just came out and did what we had to do.”

The G-Men defeated the top-seeded Vikings last year, 58-56, in the district final, handing LaBrae its only loss of the season. In 2016, Garfield won 75-70 in a district semifinal, knocking off second-seeded LaBrae.

But things were different this season. The game continued to get worse for the G-Men as the Vikings caused a Garfield timeout with 5:05 left in the second quarter with the score 24-11. LaBrae continued its onslaught the rest of the first half and led, 38-19, at halftime.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Logan Kiser of LaBrae (10) scores as Garfield’s Zack Smith defends Monday in Warren.

Stephens had 15 first-half points for the Vikings while Trystan Gedeon had seven for the G-Men.

“We were hungry. We didn’t have to tell the kids. They’ve had our number lately. Two year ago, they knock out of the football playoffs and basketball playoffs, LaBrae coach Chad Kiser said. “Last year, they did it in basketball after we were undefeated. I was happy with our defensive pressure without fouling.”

In the second half, LaBrae continued to pour it on, outscoring Garfield 24-4 in the third quarter. The game was under a running clock from the 1:09 mark in the third quarter to the end of the game. LaBrae outscored Garfield, 38-5, in the second half to run away with the lead and the game.

“There were some things that we had been working on all season that caught up to us tonight. LaBrae got some rebounds on us and turned us over too much,” Garfield coach Andrew Olseky said. “It’s not a good way to go out but there was no doubt who the better team was tonight.”

LaBrae out-rebounded Garfield, 34-13, as Tyler Stephens equaled the G-Men’s total by himself.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Elijah Whiteside (15) and Walt Allie (40) of LaBrae play defense Monday night against Garfield's Zack Smith and Nathan Pitsinger.

Now, LaBrae looks ahead to two more familiar teams the Vikings could play, Champion or Newton Falls.

The Vikings will play either of those two teams in the district final on Friday at 7 p.m.