Coach Huber | March 8, 2014
The Green Wave came up short against Vermilion Saturday night, losing 58-47 in the District Championship game at Westlake. The Namers got off to a slow start but battled back to tie the score at 43 before Vermilon went on a decision run to close the game. Will Davis led the team with 14 points, and Brad Karn and Lawrynce Johnson had 13 apiece. The team ended up 18-6 on the season.
NCL League Awards
Brad Karn – 1st Team NCL / Lawrynce Johnson – 2nd Team NCL
By Dan Gilles, Special to Northeast Ohio Media Group | March 08, 2014 9:52 p.m.
WESTLAKE, Ohio – Holy Name, the No. 2 seed in the Division II boys basketball district at Westlake, has usually been the team to set the tone in the early going throughout its season.
However, on Saturday night in the district championship game, Vermilion had other plans.
The Sailors jumped out to an eight-point first quarter lead and expanded that lead to 13 midway through the third quarter before the Green Wave fought back to tie the game with 4:33 remaining. However, Holy Name didn’t have enough gas in the tank down the stretch, and the fifth-seeded Sailors pulled away for a 58-47 upset.
Vermilion (19-7) advances to the regional semifinal Thursday at Bowling Green’s Stroh Center, where it will meet Norwalk at 6:15. Holy Name’s season ends at 18-6.
“I thought in the first half (Vermilion) was the more aggressive team,” Holy Name coach Jeff Huber said. “They hurt us all night rebounding the ball. We did not do a good job rebounding and we gave up a lot of offensive boards. Also, offensively, they kind of got us on our heels. We made some careless turnovers in the first half.
“We kind of readied ourselves for that second-half run, but I don’t know if we used up all our energy to get the game back to even or what. (The Sailors) steadied themselves and made the plays they needed to win the game, so the credit really goes to them.”
Vermilion standout senior Cameron Kuhn, who has had numerous huge performances during his team’s postseason run, had another one Saturday night. Kuhn led all scorers with 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting, and his layup with 4:12 left broke the 43-all tie and kicked off his team’s game-winning 15-4 run.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I saw Vermilion come here and win (the district title) in 2009,” Kuhn said. “I wanted to experience this for myself and my friends, and to finally accomplish this and get back to the regionals as seniors is an amazing feeling.”
Holy Name spotted the Sailors a 16-8 first quarter lead and cut it slightly to 25-19 at the half. The Green Wave was forced into 13 first-half turnovers –eight in the first quarter – and shot just 9 of 17 from the floor.
“It wasn’t really anything that we didn’t expect, we just didn’t react to their pressure very well,” Huber said. “We knew where to expect the traps, but I don’t know if we were a little nervous or a little over anxious to get out here, but we were a little careless with the ball at the start and put ourselves in a deficit.”
After Vermilion opened up the second half with an 11-4 run to take a 36-23 lead, Holy Name seemed to snap itself out of its game-long doldrums.
Taking advantage of nine third quarter Sailor fouls, the Green Wave slowly but surely began to claw its way back into this game. Going 12 for 12 from the line – 11 for 11 in the second half – the Namers outscored Vermilion, 14-6, to end the third quarter, which cut the deficit to 42-37, and 6-1 to start the fourth quarter to tie the score at 43.
Brad Karn, a 6-foot-4 senior, scored seven of his 13 points during that run, and his layup with 4:53 left tied the score at 43 for the first time since it was 4-4 in the early going.
But from that point on, the Sailors held Holy Name to just one field goal and two free throws with 53.1 seconds remaining to pull away.
“We got ourselves in that early hole, which is something we haven’t been used to,” Huber said. “We spent most of the game digging ourselves out of it, and we just couldn’t quite finish the job.”
Will Davis led Holy Name with 14 points, while Karn added 10 rebounds to his 13 points. Lawrynce Johnson also added 13 on a 7 for 7 performance from the line.
“It was a great season,” Huber said. “I told those guys that there was nothing I could say to make them feel any better, but they really did accomplish a lot. It’s been a long time since a Holy Name team has won 18 games and did some of the things that they did. It’s hard to appreciate that right now because all of our kids really believing they had a chance to win the game. It’s so devastating, especially to our seniors, to have it end the way that it did.”
Dan Gilles is a free-lancer in Elyria.