Rasile makes history, Devils clobber Tigers

MCDONALD — The McDonald Blue Devils showed why they are the No. 1 seed in the Division IV Struthers District tournament with an easy 91-65 victory over Wellsville Friday evening.

Sophomore Zach Rasile had his usual brilliant performance, scoring 27 points and adding five more 3-pointers to his season total. Rasile is now the second player in Ohio high school basketball history to have two seasons with at least 100 made 3-pointers. Rasile also added to his impressive resume by breaking McDonald’s single season scoring record with 636. Matt Seitz held the record at 623.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half. We had some moments when we didn’t score a lot of points, but we were able to come up with the win which was good,” Rasile said.

McDonald raced out to a 25-14 lead after one quarter, led by senior Braedon Poole’s 11 points. Poole scored 16 of his 20 total points in the 1st half.

Rasile hit three 3’s in the second quarter. The quarter also featured nice defensive plays by Rasile and Mathew Beedle. One of the area’s leader in steals, Rasile, had a couple more swipes. Beedle made a highlight reel block. Riko Rodriguez’s lay-up just before the buzzer gave McDonald a commanding 48-24 halftime lead.

Poole’s minutes were limited because of three first-half fouls. With Poole on the bench, the Blue Devils needed another scoring threat. Junior Josh Celli stepped up big-time, scoring a career-high 18 points. Celli was huge in the third quarter, scoring eight of the team’s 20 points. The score was 68-44 heading to the fourth.

“We came out and played very well. We played as a team even with foul trouble for Braedon. We just had a good game all around. Zach shot the ball well,” Celli said.

“Josh gets out on those breaks, and gets those fast break lay ups. That’s what we need from him. He finished strong at the hoop. He had a great game,” McDonald coach Jeff Rasile said.

Coach Rasile emptied the bench with two minutes left and McDonald comfortably ahead. However, always wanting perfection, coach still thought his team should perform better.

“We need Braedon on the court. He was upset with the third one, but he needs to clean up the silly fouls. We need his rebounding, it’s critical, and obviously, his scoring. The first half was good. The second half was just sloppy basketball on our part,” coach Rasile said.

Garrett Scott led Wellsville with 27 points.

McDonald now advances to the district semifinals, at Struthers Fieldhouse. They will take on Western Reserve Monday night.

“We’ve beat Reserve twice this year, and we’re going to beat them a third time,” Rodriguez said.

“It’s a little bit of a rivalry between us and Reserve, so we have to be prepared,” Zach Rasile said.

In the locker room, after the game, coach Rasile told his team to be at practice tomorrow at 11 am.

“We have to practice. We have to prepare for Western Reserve. They’re a good basketball team. They’re going to be a huge challenge for us,” he said.