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Chagrin Falls vs. Kenston boys basketball: Young Tigers continue to develop in 59-37 win over Bombers

Jan. 16—Chagrin Falls has found its stride and brought that into the crosstown rivalry against Kenston on Jan. 16. The Tigers came out fast and had a 21-point halftime lead.

The Bombers battled back to trim the lead to 12 late in the third. However, Chagrin Falls was able to push the lead back up for a 59-37 win.

Chagrin Falls moved to 4-8 on the year and has won four of its last five. Kenston fell to 1-12.

The Tigers started their season on a seven-game losing streak, but Coach Dave Bargar has seen his team improving. Against West Geauga, the Tigers held a lead late against the Wolverines and again against Streetsboro to lose at the buzzer.

He knew once they were able to close out and finish a close game with a win, the Tigers would get back on track. They have done just that since the buzzer beater loss after the Christmas break.

"I think the biggest thing is that the kids are learning how to compete extremely hard in every game," Bargar said. "That's something we've always been able to do that we weren't doing in earlier games this season. We're inexperienced, and until they got a taste of how that is done, we weren't able to finish games. We're playing with a lot more consistency now."

A piece for the Tigers that has played a major role in its bounce back has been Jacob Kay. After a slow start after coming into the season from football, he has been a key piece for the Tigers since.

Kay started strong against the Bombers with 15 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 19. Once he got his bearings on the court, Kay has been able to help guide the Tigers to the win column.

"It started off with me being rusty after football," Kay said. "I started off playing JV to try and knock the rust off and found a rhythm. I was able to get comfortable on the court. We came out with energy, and we need that to help get out to hot starts."

Kenston started the second half strong with an 11-0 run that cut the lead to 11 points. Bargar called two timeouts in the third quarter.

Kay knew they needed to do better than just a three-point third quarter despite having the lead. He saw everyone refocus and attack the fourth quarter like they did the first half.

"We know that three points in a quarter is never good enough," Kay said. "The coaches told us that and said it through timeouts that we can't just think we have a game when we have a lead. We picked the energy back up and were able to work from there."

While Kay was the only player who finished in double figures, Chagrin Falls had several other players impact the game.

Spencer Kaas finished with six points, nine rebounds and four assists. Ozzy DiFranco turned on the scoring in the second half with eight points, and Brad Russell had nine points as well.

Bargar knew it was going to be important for a young Tigers bunch to find some consistency. He knows if they can do that, the second part of the year will be interesting.

"Jacob has always been a talented player and just needed to wait for it to be his turn," Bargar said. "He played really well against Streetsboro and decided to make a switch there with him. He had 26 against Chardon in his first start, and it hasn't slowed down since. Ozzy had some injuries early in the season — he's starting to get back to what he can do. Spencer is a solid player and can beat you in so many ways. We still have only played our starters all together once due to injuries and illnesses."

Kenston was led by Spencer Brownfield and Sam Rogers with eight points each.

Chagrin Falls looks to improve on its winning ways with a trip to Hawken on Jan. 19 to start four straight on the road. Kenston returns to WRC play with a trip to South on the same day.

THE SCORE

Chagrin Falls 59, Kenston 37