Feb. 5—By Michael Greco
MADISON — The sprint to the Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division boys basketball championship continues.
Geneva, Madison, Edgewood and Jefferson are in the thick of the race.
The Eagles currently lead the way at 9-2. Perry and the Blue Streaks are each 7-3, while the Warriors check in at 8-4.
The Falcons sit at at 5-5, followed by Harvey at 5-7, Lakeside 2-8 and Conneaut 0-11.
The Eagles, at 14-3 overall, have already successfully defeated Edgewood twice so far this season in close games.
Geneva won 70-68 in triple overtime on Dec. 16, and 65-59 on Jan. 24.
The Eagles also defeated Perry 53-50 on Jan. 12, and lost to Madison 82-76 in overtime on Dec. 13.
In conference play, Geneva is scheduled to play at Perry on Tuesday, host Jefferson on Friday and be at Madison on Feb. 20.
The Red Raiders defeated Geneva 59-51 on Jan. 26.
"The conference schedule has been grueling and we are happy to be sitting at the top at the moment," Eagles coach Eric Bowser said. "I think it's a real testament to the work the group has been putting in."
Bowser, though, is well aware there are more games to be played.
"With only three conference games left, things are wide open," he said. "We're preparing for every game like it were our first one. There won't be much room to breath from now until the tournament is concluded."
The Blue Streaks, who are 11-5 overall, have games key game at home vs. Edgewood on Tuesday and at Harvey on Saturday afternoon.
After two non-conference games, Madison, which is in its first year of CVC play, concludes the regular season with a pair of home games against Geneva on Feb. 20, and Lakeside on Feb. 24.
The Blue Streaks also earned a 69-67 overtime win over Edgewood on Jan. 12.
"To be in February and have a chance to compete for the CVC Lake Division title is a great opportunity for our players," Madison coach Nick Gustin said. "Whoever ends up winning this division will definitely have earned it."
On Friday, in a 92-47 win over the Spartans, Blue Streaks senior J.P. Dragas tied his single-game scoring mark with 52 points.
Dragas, who is a West Liberty University signee, converted a school-record eight 3-pointers.
"It was a real fun game and I owe a lot of it to my teammates," he said. "It's always fun to try and compete with myself each night to do better than I've done in the past, so just being able to go out there and compete for a win and also push myself is always fun and such a honor."
Dragas, who is less than 100 points from 2,000 in his career, also likes going against local competition.
"There are some great teams in this conference and we are happy to be in the conversations, but as a team we know we aren't done yet and are looking forward to the end of the year," he said.
The Pirates have earned key wins over Jefferson 60-55 in overtime on Jan. 23, and Madison 63-42 Jan. 26.
In addition to playing Geneva, Perry is at Lakeside on Friday, at Conneaut on Feb. 20 and at Jefferson on Feb. 23.
The Warriors, who are 13-4 overall, close the conference regular season against Madison on Tuesday and home to Conneaut on Friday.
Edgewood is on a three-game winning streak.
"It's real interesting ... the CVC Lake Division is a lot of local county teams for us," Warriors coach John Bowler said. "It's so much more fun to play the rivalry games with the local schools, and be in contention to win is even more fun.
"It seems like every game we play is important not just for the league, but also the rivalry."
The Falcons play at Harvey on Tuesday and at Geneva Friday, then close the Lake Division slate at home against Lakeside on Feb. 17 and Perry Feb. 23.
Jefferson, which is 7-8 overall, recorded a 56-36 win over Madison on Jan. 30. The Falcons have won two out of their last three games.
"It has been a very a balanced and competitive league," Falcons coach Rob Pisano said. "We plan to try and get as many wins as possible heading into the playoffs, and anyone can beat anyone else at this point."