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Monday, December 21st, 2015

Cavaliers roll past Roughriders

By Gary R. Rasberry
ST. MARYS - Coldwater pulled away from St. Marys in the second half to complete its first weekend of boys basketball unbeaten with a 77-58 win over the Roughriders on Saturday at Murotech Court.
After two weeks of practice with the full sqaud after the football team's state championship run, Mike Bruns' Cavaliers averaged 67.5 points in wins over St. John's and St. Marys.
"What was good about (the start) was it was a double weekend," Bruns said. "We worried about the conditioning factor on the way back for the second night. These kids really have heart. That's what I like about this group. They get themselves ready to play."
The first half was competitive and featured four ties and five lead changes in the first 12 minutes of play. The Cavaliers mixed it up with timely outside shooting from Dylan Thobe and Marcus Bruns, which allowed 6-9 Andy Brunet to get open in the middle for some easy baskets. St. Marys countered with Derek Jay. The junior scored 13 points in the first half.
Derek Roop's bucket with 4:04 left in the half proved to be the last tie as back-to-back Cavalier buckets quickly put the Coldwater lead up to four. St. Marys cut it to one several times, but Aaron Harlamert's three-pointer with 25 seconds left in the half gave the Cavaliers a 38-34 halftime lead.
"Coldwater's a pretty good team," St. Marys coach Craig Szymczak said. "The last couple years they played young guys and now they're all seniors. We hung with them in the first half."
Coldwater quickly expanded the lead in the first two minutes of the third quarter, going on a 9-3 run to make it 47-37. An old-school hoop-and-harm three-point play from Jay made it 47-40, but Harlamert and Brunet quickly pushed the lead to 55-40 before Colin Grothause snapped the Cavalier run. By the time the clock ran out in the third period, Coldwater had pushed its lead to 59-45.
"The adjustment we made at halftime worked well in slowing them down offensively," Bruns said. "(In) the second half, the kids responded very well."
"They came out and face-guarded Derek," Szymczak said. "With that protection inside, it was hard to get some of those easy shots we were getting in the first half."
The Cavaliers needed just the opening 2 1/4 minutes of the final quarter to push the lead to 20 as Neal Muhlenkamp completed the hoop-and-harm three-pointer. Both coaches cleared their benches to get the subs some fourth-quarter playing time.
After shooting 53 percent (16-of-30) from the field in the first half, Coldwater was a blistering 17-of-26 (65.4 percent) from the floor in the second half.
Brunet was 9-of-11 from the field to finish with an 18-point, 10-rebound night. Harlamert added 15 points and Muhlenkamp finished with 14.
"Dylan had the hot hand last night (scoring 20 against St. John's). Who knows who's going to step up each night offensively?" Bruns said. "You have someone open, they're all very potent players."
Jay led St. Marys with 25 points.
Coldwater is off until Dec. 28 when the Cavaliers host the Assets Allocation Associates Holiday Tournament at the Palace. Coldwater plays the opening game against Celina at 6 p.m. St. Marys returns to action Tuesday by hosting the Leipsic Vikings.
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