Second-half shutdown

Raiders to district after win on road

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Warren G. Harding’s D’Muntize Owens (10) goes to the basket over Twinsburg’s Kenneth McElrath Saturday night in the Raiders’ 47-42 victory.

TWINSBURG — Warren G. Harding’s defense again came to the rescue, especially in the second half, as the Raiders defeated Twinsburg, 47-42, Saturday night to advance to the Division I district semifinals.

Harding (18-6) will face top-seeded Garfield Heights Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Solon High School.

Twinsburg (19-5) controlled the ball early as it looked to keep the pace slow. The Tigers opened a 10-5 lead early, forcing a Raiders timeout. Harding found a way to tie the game at the end of the first quarter at 10.

Twinsburg began the second quarter on a 4-0 run to get itself going. Twinsburg needed a timeout just a few minutes into the quarter up three, 17-14. Harding couldn’t find its way offensively as it trailed the Tigers at halftime, 25-19. Twinsburg had seven assists to Harding’s three at halftime.

“I know that early in the year we had experience issues but the tournament is a whole different intensity. I thought the moment kind of shell-shocked us a bit,” Harding coach Andy Vlajkovich said about the slow first half.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Delmar Moore (5) of Warren G. Harding shoots over Twinsburg defender Kenneth McElrath.

“Twinsburg, I give them a ton of credit, beat us to every loose ball, beat us up on the glass and out-executed us in the first half. We kind of hung tough and hung in there.”

Hung in there it did as the second half was a flip of the script for the Raiders.

Harding started the second half on a 7-0 run causing a Twinsburg timeout with 5:27 left in the third quarter.

The teams went back and forth for the rest of the quarter as the Tigers took a two-point lead, 34-32, at the end of three quarters. Delmar Moore began his big scoring second half, as he scored eight points in the quarter.

“Once we found out how to get in between their defense, we found a way to make passes. I found a way to get some offensive rebounds and buckets,” Moore said. “At halftime, we went in and talked. We came out fired up and ready to go.”

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Warren G. Harding's Trivell Trimble (11) defends against Leroy Fitzgerald of Twinsburg.

That halftime talk must have worked on him because he had 16 second-half points to pace the Raiders.

“The key was between the 6-minute mark in the fourth quarter and the 2-minute in the fourth quarter. We got stop after stop after stop after stop and got out on the run,” Vlajkovich said.

For every great team, they have a player that will irritate everyone. Harding’s guy is Trivell Trimble and he makes the Raiders tick.

“He’s like the energizer bunny. We love Vell, man, because he’s the most energetic dude on the team. Without him, I don’t know what we would do,” Moore said.