Rasile, and Devils, hold off late Springfield charge

Springfield vs McDonald High School Boys Basketball

MCDONALD, Ohio (WYTV) – The McDonald Blue Devils may have won the game, but according to Devils coach Jeff Rasile, he was very disappointed in his team. The Devils turned away the Springfield Tigers on their home court Friday night 77-71, but it wasn’t until after holding off a fierce charge by the Tigers in the fourth quarter.

With the Devils up by 24 points at the 7:07 mark of the final frame, the Tigers started to chip away at the Devils advantage. They would go on an 8-1 run to cut it down to a 17-point difference with 5:16 remaining, and then when Clay Medvec converted two free throws at the 2:38 mark, they had narrowed the deficit down to 9 at 74-65.

When the Tigers Drew Clark hit a jumper with only 49 ticks remaining the Tigers got within striking distance at 76-71. But the Devils would bleed the clock the final half-minute with Zach Rasile hitting a free throw with only 23-seconds left to seal the game.

“I think we just panicked a little bit. We’re not used to that happening yet. It’s early in the season, and I think we just needed to relax a little bit more and we would have been alright,” Devils standout shooter Zach Rasile explained.

“We didn’t make the plays. Disappointing, disappointing,” an irritated Devils coach Jeff Rasile remarked. “We have won a lot of basketball games. Anytime we can get a victory, we will definitely take a victory. Springfield is a good team and they didn’t quit. I knew they weren’t going to quit.”

“It just happens sometimes, but hopefully we learn from it and it doesn’t cost us a loss,” Rasile added. “We want to win district championships. You’re always building. This year, sometimes its going to be a grind.”

“We weren’t ready for their press. We repped it, but it’s different in person,” Tigers coach Steve French admitted about his team’s trouble early in the game adjusted to McDonald style of play. “I think we got a feel for it now and we will see them again.”

“The kids never quit. We were down by 11 to Western Reserve a couple games ago and came back late, so they don’t quit,” French added. “We just have to figure some things out.”

The Devils never trailed in the contest after an early free throw by Shane Enyon gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The Devils would build a 14-point advantage at the end of the first quarter at 27-13, and increase that margin to 16 just under 5-minutes remaining in the first half at 35-19. However, the Tigers would close that deficit down to just 8-points at 35-27 when Tigers senior John Ritter hit a basket with 2:58 remaining in the period.

But the Devils would answer with consecutive three-point shots from Zach Rasile, and then Riko Rodriguez with 1:57 remaining in the second stanza. The Devils would carry a 14-point, 43-29 lead into the locker rooms at the intermission.

The Devils came out in the second half going on an 8-2 run to push their lead to 20-points at 51-31 just over two minutes into the third. They would close out the frame leading by 22 when Rasile hit a three at the buzzer giving them a 64-42 advantage.

It looked like the Devils were going to run away with the game when they opened the fourth quarter with a 24-point advantage by the 7:07 mark of the quarter leading by 68-44. But that is when the Tigers seemed to wake up and made a push to pull off a late second win.

Zach Rasile would score a game-high 32 points for the Devils, while Braedon Poole had 18, and Josh Celli had 15. Poole would also rake in 8 rebounds on the night to pace the Devils on the boards.

“I thought I shot the ball pretty well,” Zach commented. “I could have been a little bit better going to the hole and stuff, but overall I thought I played pretty well. My teammates do a good job helping me out.”

The Tigers were led by John Ritter with 22 points and 9 rebounds, and Shane Enyon with 21 points and 8 caroms. Evan Ohlin also hit double digits with 10 points on the night.

The Devils, who improve to 4-0 on the season and 2-0 in the MVAC, will travel to Lake Center Christian tomorrow night in a key non-league game.

The Tigers drop to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the league. Next on the schedule for the Tigers is a trip to Sebring to take on the Trojans in another important league contest.