The Westlake boys basketball team’s game at North Olmsted Friday night did not start how coach Eric Huber had hoped.

Less than three minutes into the game, the Demons trailed 9-3 and couldn’t find a flow offensively. Huber brought in five bench players to replace his starters. Over the next two minutes, those subs went on a 10-0 run to put Westlake up 13-9.

Though the Eagles tied the game at 13, they did not lead the rest of the game and Westlake finished off the 82-58 victory.

“It is reassuring (to have depth on the bench),” Huber said. “It’s nice to know that we’ve got other guys that are capable to put in there. Obviously, you want everybody to be ready to go but if we’re not then yeah, we’ll go to our second unit.”

Much of Westlake’s offense came on possessions created by its defense. The Demons had 20 steals, led by Will Ostrowski’s seven. Three Demons scored in double-digits with junior forward Justin Garcia leading the way with 18 points, three assists and eight rebounds.

Fellow big men Austin Norris (seven points) and Dylan Bednar (12) were forces on the glass, combining for 19 rebounds (10 offensive). Guard Nate Klima added 10 points, two assists, two rebounds and four steals. All but two Westlake players scored.

“Everyone can score and shoot the ball which makes us a really good threat this year,” Garcia said. “It’s not only our big guys but everyone is crashing the boards. We’re making that a huge goal on the team right now.”

After being held scoreless in the first quarter, North Olmsted senior guard Jared Strong came to life in second quarter and ended with a team-leading 31 points. The next best for the Eagles (0-3, 0-1 SWC) was freshman Jared Kelley with nine points and eight rebounds.

North Olmsted coach Jason Frolo knows his team, while admittedly laden with first-time varsity players, will have to get scoring from more players to find success this season.

“There’s going to be a transition period, a learning curve,” Frolo said. “But we’re trying to get across to them that this is varsity basketball and that transition and that learning curve has to happen a lot quicker than this. It’s going to take some other guys to step up on the offensive end.”

Both teams continue their conference stretches with 7:00 Friday night road games. North Olmsted travels to Amherst while Westlake heads to Avon Lake.

Contact this reporter at jkopanski@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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