GREEN In pregame introductions, Green junior forward Miles Demuesy sank a simulated putt before running between two lines of teammates for high-fives.
It was only fitting that he scored a hole-in-one that helped the Bulldogs stun the previously unbeaten Copley Indians, snapping the visitors’ 46-game regular-season winning streak. Demuesy collected the rebound off a miss by teammate Devin Limerick, who grabbed the rebound and put up a short jumped off a miss by Green's Bobby Staudt, and banked home a follow-up as time expired to give Green a 59-57 win.
Demuesy, one of the leading scorers for the Green golf team, came up with his pregame ritual with a teammate and likes to make a tip of the cap to his other favorite sport before games. Maybe some of those big-shot experiences on the golf course came into practice against Copley with the game on the line.
“It was amazing. I thought we were out of time when I went to lay it in, but I looked up and saw that there were actually 0.2 seconds left on the clock,” Demuesy said.
On the decisive play, Demuesy and his fellow post players were to crash the basket and try to get into position to score. Senior guard Bobby Staudt couldn’t find a passing lane, so he put up his own shot and after the miss and ensuing scramble, Demuesy wound up with the ball in his hands near the basket.
He elevated and shot, with the ball dropping through the hoop just in time. His heroics came at the end of a massive, dramatic second half in which he scored 18 of his 20 points - and more than half of Green’s 29 after intermission - by consistently diving to the basket once Green broke Copley’s vaunted full-court press and the Bulldogs’ guards were able to slice the Indians up with pinpoint passes.
“Once we broke their press, it was just one pass and a lay-in, so we didn’t have to do much but attack the basket,” Demuesy said.
The last-second win was set up by sophomore guard Kaleb Martin, who leads Green in scoring on the season and had 18 points against Copley. Ironically, his biggest contribution came on defense as he stole a pass with 11 seconds left, leading to a timeout to set up the final play.
According to Martin, the team tuned out those who said they had no chance to topple the undefeated Indians and listened to what their coaching staff told them entering the contest.
“Everyone expected Copley to win, but (coach Mark) Kinsley told us we had to play the way we had been practicing all week and we could win,” Martin said.
The confidence showed from the outset as Green surged ahead early and fended off several Copley runs to lead by four, 30-26, at halftime. Even after the Indians tied the game with four straight points to open the third quarter, the Bulldogs roared back and led by as many as 10 late in the period.
Showing the poise and composure of a league champion and 21-win team, Copley refused to go away even though junior guard Anthony Dente, son of head coach Mark Dente, was out for the game with the flu. Junior guard Brian Roberts (20 points) led the charge and senior guard Austin Brenner (11 points) hit several big shots before fouling out in the final period.
In the end, Green led for all but two minutes of the game and pulled ahead for good when it mattered most.
“That was by far the best game I’ve ever put together. It was really a great experience for my team and myself,” Demuesy said.
Perhaps just as importantly for Green, the big-game success continued just 24 hours later with a win over Stow. Copley won the Suburban League’s American Division, while Stow went 17-5 and won the National Division. Although Stow wasn’t a member of the league when Green left two years ago, defeating both of its former league’s division champions gave Kinsley’s squad a shot of confidence entering the sectional tournament.
Not only did the wins elevate Green to .500 on the season (11-11), but it gave them wins over teams seeded fourth in their respective postseason districts to end the regular season.
“We just picked the right time to go on a winning streak,” Martin said. “Knowing that they’re both winners of their sections of the Suburban League, they’re big wins.”
Although Green and Copley are in the same district, the odds of a second meeting are low. They’re in opposite sides of the bracket, meaning both would have to win three games and reach the district final to play again. That might suit the Indians just fine, as their 46-game streak began two years ago following a loss at Green. The Bulldogs have their own tough road to walk as the seventh seed in the loaded Canton Division I bracket, with a home game against Dover at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the first round. Should they win, the Bulldogs will have third matchup this season at 4 p.m. Sunday in a sectional final against a Hoover team that spent most of the season ranked in the top 10 in the Associated Press state poll.
When traveling that sort of tough road, two impressive wins to provide momentum could be just the setup Green needs to finish its season well.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
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