Defense and clutch shooting helped No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary’s (18-0) end No. 3 Shaker Heights’ (13-4) 10-game winning streak at home Feb. 10, 65-57.
The Irish of St. Vincent-St. Mary’s held the Shaker Raiders to 30 points for three quarters of play by forcing the Raiders to cough up the ball a dozen times, leading to easy baskets on the offensive end. The Irish also shot lights out from behind the arc as every shot they threw up seemed to fall in.
Senior Esa Ahmad led the way for the Raiders with a double double, scoring 34 points and 20 rebounds. The star senior scored more than half of the Raiders 57 points.
The first quarter was a back and forth brawl, with St. Vincent-St. Mary’s jumping to a 6-2 lead midway and ending the quarter up 11-7 despite turning the ball over several times.
Shaker picked up the intensity on the defensive end in the second quarter. but St. Vincent-St. Mary’s did a much better job making their three balls. The half ended with Saint Vincent Saint Mary’s up 28-19.
Coming out of halftime, Shaker looked dead on defense. Coach Danny Young called a timeout after Shaker found themselves down by 13. Afterwards, St. Vincent-St. Mary’s took matters into their own hands by going on a 10-2 run. The quarter ended with Shaker trailing 48-30.
The struggles continued throughout fourth quarter as Shaker found themselves down by their biggest deficit of the game, 20 points. Shaker forced St. Vincent-St. Mary’s to turn the ball over as they applied full court pressure, but they could not come back for a victory.
“I just thought we came out real flat tonight,” Head Coach Danny Young said on the loss. “We just didn’t come out with passion, enthusiasm or energy on the defensive side.”
Senior David Wright had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Junior Justin Johnson had 7 points, 10 rebounds and 1 assist each for the Raiders.
No. 3 Shaker Heights returns to action on Friday, Feb. 13, hosting rival No. 6 Garfield Heights and looking to start fresh with a win heading into tournament play.