hot shooting inspires
Eagles to win conference opener
By Zachary Dzurick
Published Dec. 14, 2005
Olmsted senior Sean Troha made five three-pointers in the first
quarter against Westlake. (Photo by Larry Bennet)
Olmsted senior Sean Troha was first team all conference last season.
But in the Eagles first two games, like the rest of his teammates,
he struggled shooting the ball.
That changed in North Olmsted's home opener against SWC rival Westlake.
Halfway through the first quarter, North Olmsted led 7-4 when Troha
caught fire. He made five three-pointers in a row to close out the
quarter. The first four all came on assists from senior guard Brian
Graul, whose buzzer beater pushed the opening frame lead to 26-15.
all intents and purposes, the sizzling shooting performance ended
the game right there. The Demons scored the first basket of the
second quarter to cut the lead to nine but never got any closer.
The Eagles pushed the lead to as high as 21 midway through the third
quarter. At that point North Olmsted had only committed five turnovers
against a Demon defense looking to cause turnovers.
Eagles, however committed 13 turnovers over the game's last 11 minutes
to make the final score 73-58.
what seems to be a North Olmsted tradition, the Eagles only made
seven of their first 12 free throws, but when it counted they made
them. The Eagles made all eight free throws in the game's final
minutes to secure the victory.
Troha paced the first quarter, his teammates did the dirty work
in the second quarter as he scored only two points. Troha did well
not to force shots and the offense was able to get the ball inside.
In the second half, the game came back to Troha and he finished
with a career high 33 points. The strong effort was a welcome relief.
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hadn't been hitting any shots this year and the basket got real
big tonight," Troha said. "I was real happy about that. I don't
think I have ever made five in one quarter at any level."
All of the looks in the streak of five were wide open. As teams
often make a concentrated effort on limiting Troha, was he surprised
at just how open his teammates were able to find him?
"I was a little surprised, but they run a lot of trap defense so
everyone was open for shots," Troha said. "We go hard all of the
time and we have some guys who rebound and defend hard, that is
what gets me going."
North Olmsted coach Tim Schmotzer thought Troha's hot hand was the
spark his offense needed as a whole.
"We have been struggling as a team from the perimeter," Schmotzer
said. "Coming into the game, we were shooting 11 percent for threes
in the first two games. I know Sean really lit it up early. He got
the kids more aggressive and gave them energy."
Schmotzer's teams always hang their hats on their defense. While
the game wasn't the prettiest, he liked the effort.
"Maybe we didn't play as well defensively tonight, but that is more
of the flow of the game," Schmotzer said. "We have been pretty decent
defensively all season. The kids attacked and I am very happy for
them. It was a good win to get under our belt as it was our first
home game and a win we really needed."
The Eagles lack size, as the leaders on defense have been 6'1 senior
forward Joe Weir and 6'2 senior center Jordan Leheney.
"Joe Weir, in our opener had 14 points and 14 rebounds," Schmotzer
said. "He is consistently undersized, but he really plays a smart
game. He makes a great effort at all times. Jordan Leheney may be
somewhat limited on the offensive end, but as far as getting his
nose in there and boxing out. I am sure he was double digits in
The final stats say North Olmsted committed 17 turnovers, for the
majority of the game though the Eagles did take care of the ball.
Schmotzer believes that was key.
"We felt if we could kept it under a dozen turnovers, they would
struggle to beat us," Schmotzer said. "I think we set the tone early
by taking care of the ball, but then they really extended in the
second half. That was out first game experience with people extending
on us. We will get better. Our guard play will develop and I think
will be a strength on our team."
North Olmsted teams always play tough defense. Schmotzer believes
that his team's offensive identity will develop.
"We have to develop on the offensive end," Schmotzer said. "We will
need guys to step up. We will be ok. It is a matter to get some
confidence. I have not used my bench as much as I want but we have
some guys who came contribute and do some things there. Eventually
we will become a solid team."