Twinsburg boys basketball struggling to find rhythm

Steve Batkon

Chemistry and rhythm huge roles in how team basketball is successful on the hardwoods.

Twinsburg has played a lot of basketball after the  pause due to the COVID-19 spread. At one stretch, played six games in eight days.

Twinsburg forward Dante' Yarborough drives to the basket during a game against Nordonia earlier this month.

The boys team’s flow and last-minute additions on the schedule have led to the club having to be adept and react to being able to play mentally and physically.

It hasn’t always been easy, but Twinsburg is working hard under head coach Phil Schmook.

Struggling to make shots on offense may be a direct result of the type of season it has been for Twinsburg, which is 2-7 overall and 1-4 in the Suburban League National Conference.

As a team, the Tigers are shooting at an abysmal 23-percent clip on two-point shot attempts.

“There’s no doubt that having to play a season like this has been tough – with a group that is coming into new roles and that needed a full off-season together, it has been difficult to get team chemistry going,” explained Schmook.

“You know,” Schmook added, “chemistry and roles are things that are so important, and increased roles are tough because people need to play into their roles and work into them. Our guys are just now doing that.”

The Tigers had its Senior Night in a home clash against longtime neighboring rival Solon (5-3).

As Comet guard Marcus Steele exploded for 18 of his game-high 28 points in the pivotal 22-13 third quarter, Solon captured a 59-41 win Saturday.

However, the Tigers played much closer than the score would indicate and only came two points shy in each of the first two quarter breaks. It was 20-16 at the half until Steele started to heat up with his penetration and drives to the rim.

Comprising the senior class are starters Dante Yarbrough, Trevell Williams, Roman Sims, and P.J. Suggs.

“We are improving and Solon is a good ball club and really, we played with them for almost three quarters,” uttered Schmook. “We also did a better job against Brecksville.”

Solon only committed seven turnovers as Yarbrough had a solid outing with a good mid-range game of 12 points and pulling down eight rebounds and blocked two shots.

“Dante gives a tremendous effort each game and only Reggie Bussey played as much as he did last year,” said the coach. “Our young kids have shown flashes too.”

Sims also stood out with 10 points and four caroms against Solon while sophomore guards David Coniglio (popped in a pair of 3-pointers for six points) and Brennan Hopp (four points) contributed along with Bussey, who dished out four assists and had a bucket.

First-year sophomore guard, Mylen McGhaw, came off the bench and worked hard on defense against Steele.

A dry spell that started in the third period and spilled into the fourth quarter stung the Tigers in a 56-42 league loss to a hot Brecksville squad (6-2, 5-0).

Chase Garito, a 6-foot-7 forward, drilled deep 3-pointers against the Tigers to finish both of the first two quarters as the buzzer sounded.

Trailing 22-18 to the Bees at the half, Twinsburg would have led had Garito (20 points, six boards) not make those buckets.

When Suggs fed Yarbrough for an inside hoop at the 4:23 mark, Twinsburg capped an 8-2 spurt and sliced the Bee lead to 29-26.

Twinsburg never scored again in the quarter.

An off-balance runner by Matt Rose with 6:46 left in the contest pushed the Bee lead to 38-26.

The 9-0 run was finally broken when McGhaw buried a triple to make it 38-29 with 6:03 left.

“We are struggling to score points,” said Schmook.

Another Tiger sophomore guard, Adam Williams, canned a trey on a feed by Bussey to make it 38-32 with 5:27 remaining.

Off a cut to the rim, Yarbrough scored to make it 40-34 with 3:54 left, but that’s as close as Twinsburg would get. Yarbrough had 13 points, five boards, two assists and two thefts.

Yet another sophomore guard, Jake Bond, hit two threes for six points while Trevell Williams had two triples, six points and five boards.

Bussey registered six assists and had three steals while Coniglio (five points) and junior John Morris each made a three-pointer.

Twinsburg was only 2-of-8 at the free throw line as Brecksville hit 13-of-17 at the charity stripe. On the year, the Tigers are only shooting 38-percent at the line and 23-percent beyond the 3-point arc.

“We need to do better at the line than that,” barked Schmook.

A 52-34 league win at Cuyahoga Falls saw some big games from Coniglio (13 points and three triples), Suggs (nine points, five boards and three feeds), and Adam Williams, who hit a 3-pointer, dished out three assists and played good defense off the bench.

Fueled by a 21-2 second quarter, Twinsburg defeated Painesville Harvey 70-39 Jan. 9 as a slew of Tigers posted their career highs in points.

Coniglio had 16 points, plus junior Ravon Willis (10), and freshman Josh Lee (eight) scored their career highs while the unselfish Suggs also sparked the Tigers with 11 points.

In upcoming action, Twinsburg has a non-league game at Fairview Park (7-4) Thursday, has a league contest at Stow-Munroe Falls Friday and hosts Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin Saturday.