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Posted On: 03/9/18 12:45 PM
It’s all set up now.
Shaker Heights breezed to a 76-56 win over Cleveland Central Catholic in Division I district semifinal over at Solon. The win set up a rematch with No.1-seeded Garfield Heights (19-5) at 7 p.m. at Solon High.
Garfield Heights won the first meeting on Dec.20, 85-82 in a game so highly-anticipated that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and JR Smith carved out time in their schedules to attend.
Dale Bonner (2018) scored 24 and Dakota Cochran (2020), a 6’3” sharpshooter added another 24 to lead Shaker to the win over Cleveland Central Catholic, a gritty group that finished the year with 19 wins and beat Garfield Heights in the regular season.
Delshawn Jackson (2018) scored 21 to lead CCC. He’s definitely D-III or Juco level talent. Jerry Coleman scored 21 and also showed off some next-level athleticism
1. Dakota Cochran should surge up the player rankings
I had no idea who Cochran was when the season started. He burst onto the scene when he scored 30 in a Jan. 7 loss to St. Edward at the Play-By-Play Classic and has continued to impress.
His contributions in the win over CCC were key as he provided a second-scoring option during the first half when Shaker’s stud wing prospect 6’5” Christian Guess (2018) had to sit after picking up two early fouls.
“I call him a super sophomore,” Shaker coach Danny Young said of Cochran. “He can really shoot that ball. Colleges need to come on over and call me about that young man. Not only is he great athlete, he’s a wonderful person and phenomenal student. He’s a silent assassin. He’s doesn’t say much, but he can really shoot that basketball. That’s big time doing that on that stage.”
Cochran drained four 3-pointers in the win over CCC
2. Bonner leads the way for Shaker
All Bonner has done this season is absolutely kill every opponent he’s gone against.
The 6’3” Fairmount State recruit was continually able to find creases in CCC’s defense and get to the rack. His floating runner in the lane has become nearly unstoppable and he’s constantly keying the transition with his ability to push the basketball off the defensive glass.
3. Guess which guy shows up
It’s been a volatile season for the 6’5” super-talented wing and his performance against Cleveland Central served as a microcosm of that year.
He picked up two quick fouls and sat for much of the first half. But when he got on the floor late in the second quarter he was able to convert two free throws and then came away with a steal and big dunk, which helped light a fire in Shaker heading into the half. He finished with 13 points.
I’ve seen Guess on to big stages and both times he got into early foul trouble. In Shaker’s Jan. 28 loss to Pickerington North at the Dunk-4-Diabetes he was saddled with early foul trouble and had to sit for a long stretch in a game that was packed with college coaches like Bob Huggins (West Virginia), Chris Holtmann (Ohio State) and staff members from Wisconsin. Then last night, with a Big Ten school coach in the building…same thing. Early foul trouble.
“The thing I liked about him this summer was his energy,” said the coach. “He had foul trouble tonight, so it was a little hard to evaluate him.”
In Guess’s defense, he never fails to make a high light play that makes you say “damn.”
4. Garfield’s keys to beating Shaker
“It’s going down. How well we take care of the ball,” will be a key, said Garfield coach Sonny Johnson, who watched Shaker’s win over CCC.
“They play hard and have a lot of scorers. We’ll have to play hard and tough.”
5. Shaker’s keys to beating Garfield
“We’ve just got to defend and talk on defense like we did today and have everybody step up. We’ve been waiting for this moment and we got it,” said Dale Bonner.
“The toughest team will win and the most disciplined team will win,” said Young. “We’ve got to make sure we guard at a high level, value the basketball and we compete. The team that wants it the most and plays the hardest will win.”