South holds off Kenston

South 71, Kenston 67

BAINBRIDGE—Kenston used a 10-point third quarter run to take a lead into the fourth quarter but the Bombers couldn’t hold in a 71-67 loss to visiting Willoughby South on Tuesday.

Trailing 48-43 midway through the third quarter, Kenston rallied to take a one-point lead into the fourth.

“That was a tough loss,” said Kenston coach Matt Vespa. “It was a weird game, kind of what we thought. It was two pretty even teams but they made a couple more plays down at the end and got to all the 50-50 balls to give themselves some extra chances. We had a couple of chances to tie it but the shots just didn’t go in.”

The Rebels responded to Kenston’s run with an 8-0 run of their own early in the fourth quarter then held off the Bombers the rest of the way.

Damien Williams led South with a game-high 25 points while Xavier Hopps finished with 13 and Norm Hughes and Rico Small both scored 11.

Ryan Kooser led the Bombers with 21 and Michael Swartz added 14, despite working hard on the defensive end to keep Hughes in check.

“Michael Swartz, give him credit,” Vespa said. “He had to guard Norm Hughes, who is a really, really good player, and he held him to 11 points. He played his butt off.”

South improved to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the Western Reserve Conference. Kenston dropped to 4-3, 2-2.

The Bombers play at University School on Friday.

“The nice thing about basketball is you get to get right back to it,” Vespa said. “I’m sure University won’t feel bad for us. They’re going to practice hard all week for us and we’ve got to the same thing.”

South 71, Kenston 67

South: Johnson 6, Williams 25, Hopps 13, Small 11, Hughes 11, Schoeppler 3, Ruple 2

Kenston: Kooser 21, Ransom 2, Swartz 14, Merrill 6, Dejarnette 8, Smith 4, Gorski 4, Batista 7

South 18 15 19 19 — 71
Kenston 15 15 23 14 — 67

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The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.