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WR surges past Lordstown

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Western Reserve’s Noah Klasic, left, crashes the net to lay the ball up in its win over Lordstown. Aiden Force of Lordstown leaps into the air to try to defend it.

BERLIN CENTER — While the score doesn’t show it, Saturday’s game between Lordstown and Western Reserve was a battle to the end.

The Blue Devils had a spark of offense in the fourth quarter, enough to make their comfortable lead an insurmountable one, winning the game, 64-37.

“I thought the kids played well,” Western Reserve coach Patsy Daltorio said. “We came out, got up on them early and maintained that. They played a nice third quarter, scrapped around, got some loose balls and hung with us there. Then, we got a couple out of transition, started with our defense and were able to close the deal.”

Western Reserve’s Ryan Gordon, who scored eight points in the final quarter, all on fast-break lay-ups, led the Blue Devil offensive charge.

“He’s a guy that needs to be accounted for,” Daltorio said. “When he’s able to get out in transition, we’ll find him. He does a really good job for us. Our guys know he can shoot the ball, so we do a good job of finding him.”

Despite seeing limited action in the final quarter, Reserve guard Todd Henning put on a show — finishing the game with 17 points. Henning is the energy guy for the Blue Devils.

“Todd is our heartbeat,” Daltorio said. “He’s the Energizer Bunny. He never stops. He’s all over the place on the floor. Up down and all around, he is without a doubt our heartbeat; and he’s done an excellent job.”

Neither of those players led the team however, Noah Klasic put up a 22-point performance to lead the Blue Devils and was another spark plug in the fourth quarter, scoring six points in the final period.

Lordstown was able to temporarily shut down the Western Reserve offense, holding them to 10 points in the third quarter. The Red Devils switched to a scrappy style of defense that was able to force multiple loose balls that sent fast breaks the other way. Those fast breaks were able to help Lordstown outscore the Blue Devils 12-10 in the third quarter.

“We brought the pressure back to them a little bit,” Lordstown coach Brian Force said. “We just played more aggressively. Our kids were a little tentative in the first half, kind of waiting and seeing instead of having the gas pedal down and attacking.”

Force thinks if his team had that mentality the entire game, it may have been a different story.

“We waited until the second half to play,” Force said. “Western Reserve came out early and set the tempo and we didn’t match that intensity early on. I think if we had four quarters of what we saw in the third we’d be very proud.”

Sam Evans led the Red Devils with 16 points.

Lordstown (0-3) has a tough three-game stretch in the coming week with Maplewood, Jackson-Milton and Pymatuning Valley. They’re hoping to pull out their first win of the season against the Rockets and get on the right track going forward.

“It’s a league game, we’re going to see them twice and we hope to get our first win of the season on the road Tuesday night,” Force said.

Looking ahead for Western Reserve (2-1), the Blue Devils take a trip to Heartland Christian before returning home to take on rival Jackson-Milton to open the league schedule.

“Everyone in our league is going to be tough this year,” Daltorio said. “They’ve continued to grow a lot of the same kids who have been there a long time. It’s our first league game, so it’ll be an exciting atmosphere as we hit the league moving forward.”

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