GREEN – Add another chapter to the hard-fought series between Stow-Munroe Falls and Green boys basketball, as the Battle of the Bulldogs produced another solid game Friday night. 

Experience at the guard position will make any coach smile, and Friday it put a grin on the face of Green boys basketball coach Mark Kinsley.

With senior Kaleb Martin and junior Garrison Keeslar in the lineup, host Green earned a 54-49 win over Stow in the season-opener for both teams.

"We think our guards are our strength," Kinsley said. "We have a four-year varsity player in Kaleb and a three-year varsity player in Garrison. Ryan Smith is also in his third year."

Martin, a 5-foot-9 senior, made 8-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter and led Green with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists. Keeslar, a 6-4 junior, finished with 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

"We were down by three at halftime and we had not been playing our best basketball yet," said Martin, who scored 20 points in the second half. "Once Kinsley and the other coaches figured out how to break their zone and get the ball moving around, we were able to get past them and score."

Senior Evan Bainbridge, a 6-foot-10 Kent State University recruit, paced Stow with 17 points, seven rebounds and six blocks in a meeting of teams that each made a Division I district semifinal appearance last season.

Stow led 11-9 after one quarter, 23-20 at halftime and 39-35 through three quarters.

Green, a Federal League tri-champion last season with Lake and Jackson, outscored Stow 12-5 during the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

"Zones are hard to shoot against, especially when they have a big kid in the paint like Evan, so you can’t get the layups like you normally can against other teams," said Keeslar, who scored 12 points in the first half. "If you aren’t making shots, it is hard to play against a zone, but we got it going and we were able to get the win."

Green junior Donovan O’Neil had six points and six rebounds. Bulldogs juniors Smith and Alex Casper and sophomore Nathan Smith combined for eight points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.

"We always know when we play Stow it is going to be a close, hard-fought game down to the end," Kinsley said. "With them having Bainbridge, we knew that was going to be a tough matchup, and I am real proud of our kids and how they hung in there. ... I thought defensively we got some big stops and that got us back in the game."

Senior Bryce Harvey contributed 16 points, four rebounds and four assists for Stow, the Suburban League National Conference champion last season. Bulldogs senior Jackson Carlson had 11 points and four rebounds.

"We competed and battled, and certainly Green did, too," Stow coach Dave Close said. "I thought we worked hard to try to disrupt their rhythm and get to their shooters. When they were open, they made shots. They didn’t miss many open jump shots."

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or