Anybody who knows Mentor coach Bob Krizancic knows moral victories aren’t in the veteran’s vocabulary.
It’s win or lose, no gray area in between, and Krizancic has won too many games in his career to allow injuries to be an excuse.
With all that said, an 80-78 season-opening loss at home to Brunswick in double overtime had enough positives even with the heartbreaking final result that Krizancic left the gym with more positivity than usual after a loss.
“It comes down to one or two big possessions, and we have to be able to finish, we have to pull those kind of games out and win. But, I also think you saw a lot of the future of this team and we have a chance to be really good,” Krizancic said.
Playing without two of their starting guards – Andrew Valeri (foot injury) and Kyle McIntosh (MCL sprain) – Mentor rallied from a six-point halftime deficit and pushed GCC favorite Brunswick to the limit behind a career night from Andrew Robinson (7 3-pointers, 23 points) and solid contributions from a host of others.
The Cardinals (0-1) missed a pair of free throws late in regulation and went to overtime tied at 61. The teams were still tied at 66 heading to the second extra frame.
Michael Quiring was outstanding for Brunswick (2-0) scoring 30 points.
“Without Andrew and Kyle in there I really didn’t know what to expect tonight, but we did a lot of good things and some typical young things,” Krizancic said.
“We couldn’t stop (Quiring). He attacked the bucket and got to the foul line and was the one player that took over the game for them.”
A 3-pointer at the buzzer came up short for the Cardinals as the Blue Devils survived and remained unbeaten.
Robinson, who led Mentor with 23 points, said the loss is not acceptable no matter who is on the floor and who is injured, but there are things to take away from the season opener.
“For me individually I can take some confidence from the way I shot and move forward the rest of the season, and for the team, we just need everyone to step up while Andrew and Kyle are out and we know when those guys come back we have a chance to be a special group if we play hard and play together,” Robinson said.
Sophomore Tadas Tatarunas scored 15 points for Mentor and Allen Sims (a Euclid transfer) had 14 points in his Cardinals debut.
Brunswick 80, Mentor 78 (2 OT)
Brunswick (2-0): Goessler 5, Quiring 30, Simmons 12, Cebula 12, Badowski 16, Zograsus 5
Mentor (0-1): Sims 14, Korsock 10, Robinson 23, Zalba 10, Tatarunas 15, Craven 3, Kryz 3
Brunswick 17 16 9 19 5 14 — 80
Mentor 12 15 15 19 5 12 — 78
Free throws: Brunswick 25 of 33, Mentor 11 of 17; 3-pointers: Brunswick 9 (Quiring 2, Simmons 2, Badowski 2, Goessler, Cebula), Mentor 11 (Robinson 7, Korsok 2, Craven, Kryz); JV: Mentor def. Brunswick