It didn’t seem to matter what Phil Schmook and his coaching staff did in the sectional championship against Barberton – Twinsburg just simply couldn’t produce an answer on its home basketball court.
Red-hot Barberton disposed of the fourth-seed Tigers 73-57 Saturday in a sectional final game of the Copley Division I sectional-district tournament.
Fifth-seeded Barberton, which needed overtime to escape defeat over 12th-seeded Cuyahoga Falls (3-20) to reach the sectional final, used great guard play and ball movement to advance in tourney action.
Twinsburg’s season ended at 16-8. It was the Magics’ first sectional crown since 2013.
"I don’t think we played very well and we were without a key player, but Barberton just played better than we did," said Schmook, who was without sophomore wing Anthony McCarthy.
Frankly, it may not have mattered if Twinsburg was totally healthy against the Magics (17-7).
"I told our kids I appreciated the season and the seniors," said Schmook.
An early Tiger lead was dissolved as guard-heavy Barberton hung around as Magic wing Bennett Miller came off the bench and drilled a deep 3-pointer in the left corner at the buzzer to make it 29-29 at the half.
It was a first half that had eight ties as Miller canned three triples.
After trading hoops to start the second half, Barberton went on a 9-0 spurt as leading scorer Anthony Cook started to heat up after being held to two buckets in the first half.
A six-point lead at the end of three quarters swelled as Barberton continually answered Twinsburg’s trapping defenses with passes to cutters.
In all, Barberton amassed 24 assists and hurt the Tigers in transition and with backdoor cuts.
An 11-1 run ballooned into a 21-8 spurt when Miller converted a layup in transition from a feed and steal by Brad Eagle. It was 57-41 and an Eagle layup with 3:13 left pushed the lead to 63-46.
Schmook threw the book at Barberton with varying defenses using a man set, a 3-2 half court zone, a full court press, full-court traps, and a half-court trap.
It didn’t matter as the Magics spread the floor and remained patient.
Guard Jamair Blackmon specifically, would anticipate the traps and find open player beyond the 3-point arc (seven treys) or an athlete cutting to the rim.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Blackmon was sensational with a triple-double as he posted 10 points, 12 rebounds, dished out 10 assists, and had two steals.
"They (Barberton) moved the ball and just played better and we did not shoot well," noted Schmook, whose club gave up 44 second half points.
Defended well by junior Dante’ Yarbrough, senior Ken McElrath, and junior Kaden Kimmel, Cook finished with 21 points, seven assists and five boards.
It was Miller (17 points off the bench) and Eagle (14 points and two triples), and a couple of role players, who hurt the Tigers.
Senior guard Joey Platner popped in 13 in the second half and ended with 16 points and four threes to pace Twinsburg.
Another senior, Ethan Golnick, had 14 points, 10 boards, and two blocked shots.
Golnick nearly had a double-double in the first half (12 points and nine caroms) after dominating the smaller Magics, who double-teamed the 6-5 post in the second half.
McElrath added seven points and three feeds.
Sparking the Tigers off the bench was junior wing P.J. Suggs, who hit a three and had seven points.
Sophomore point guard Reggie Bussey had seven points and two thefts and Yarbrough had four points and seven boards.
Senior guard Josh Wanton (two assists) played superb on-ball defense off of the bench.
Twinsburg breezed to a 71-33 first round sectional win Wednesday over 13th-seed Kenmore-Garfield (4-18), which had only 13 buckets.
Chase Matlock ended his senior campaign with a career high 14 points.
McElrath put in 11 points as did Yarbrough.
Suggs scored nine, Platner five, while senior Kyle Apple, Wanton, Golnick, junior Roman Sims, and Bussey all had four points.
Also making the post season roster for the Tigers was juniors Trevell Williams and Connor Harris, plus freshmen David Coniglio, Adam Williams, Jacob Bond, and Brennan Hopp.