TALLMADGE -- It could be a preview for things to come.
If that's the case, the Tallmadge boys basketball hopes the sequel is better than the first one.
The host Blue Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end after losing to Akron Buchtel 71-65 Feb. 21 at James O. Maddox Court.
With the loss, Tallmadge dropped to 12-8 on the season. The Griffins improved to 15-5.
The two teams could meet again in the Canton Division II sectional-district tournament.
Second-seeded Buchtel is scheduled to entertain Canal Fulton Northwest in a sectional semifinal contest Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
If the Griffins win that contest, they are set to host sixth-seeded Tallmadge in a sectional title game March 3 at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils have an opening-round bye.
"We very well could meet again," Blue Devils head coach Mike Bluey said. "I thought we started a bit tentative. We shot some uncharacteristic air balls early. We just had to adjust to their speed and quickness. We don't see that on a game-in and game-out basis and it took us too long to adjust to their quickness.
Buchtel led most of the way and had a 29-22 advantage on the glass, including a 15-7 edge in the second half. The Griffins got a majority of their points in the paint as Buchtel made it a point to go inside time and time again.
"They (the Griffins) controlled the boards the whole game," Bluey said. "They had far too many offensive rebounds. I think they converted at least 12 or 13 chances. If you don't' rebound, you're going to struggle."
Tallmadge trailed by as many as 14 (63-49) early in the fourth quarter, but the Blue Devils rallied. They just simply didn't have enough time or energy to keep up with the faster, more athletic Griffins, who led 29-26 at halftime and had 11 offensive rebounds.
Nine players scored for Buchtel, which made 11-of-23 shots from the foul line. Four Griffins reached double digits in scoring.
Amir Solomon led Buchtel with a team-high 17 points and Brandon McGinnis finished with 16 points.
Isiah Rogers and John King contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Griffins.
Tallmadge junior forward Matthew Francesconi led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Junior guard/forward Zach Boyd added 14 points and sophomore guard Sam Seeker finished with 11 points.
The rest of the Blue Devils, who made 12-of-17 from the free throw line, finished with just 14 points.
Tallmadge also had two key players go down with injuries. Junior guard Seth Gergely hurt his ankle in the final seconds of the first half and did not return.
Senior guard Josh Taylor landed awkwardly on his hand in the second half.
Seth and Josh are day to day," Bluey said. "We're not sure if Seth is going to need an X-Ray."
Buchtel posted a 46-39 win in the junior varsity contest.
The Blue Devils improved to 8-3 in the Suburban League American Conference after posting a 68-53 victory over Revere Feb. 17 in Bath Township.
Tallmadge buried eight 3-pointers on the evening and wrapped up second place in the American Conference.
Copley, which was undefeated as of press time, won the American Conference title for the second consecutive season.
Francesconi scored a game-high 29 points. He made 7-of-11 shots from the foul line and also drained two 3-pointers.
Gergely finished with 11 points and Taylor and Boyd added 9 and 8 points, respectively, for Tallmadge.
The Blue Devils were scheduled to visit Suburban League American Conference rival Aurora Feb. 24. Results were not available at press time.
Despite the recent setback, Bluey was pleased with the direction his team is heading.
"We have been playing well," Bluey said. "We've made good progress in the last two weeks. Ultimately, we want to get ready for tournament play."