Published in The Geauga County Maple Leaf
February 4, 2016
Kenston’s Michael Swartz made his first varsity start Friday against Eastlake North and he, along with Bombers fans, will never forget it.The sophomore scored 18…
Kenston’s Michael Swartz made his first varsity start Friday against Eastlake North and he, along with Bombers fans, will never forget it.
The sophomore scored 18 points in the first half as he made 6-of-7 3-point attempts in the Bombers’ easy 60-37 victory over the Rangers at Kenston High School.
Kenston coach Matt Vespa talked about Swartz’s impressive game.
“He does that stuff in practice all the time,” Vespa said. “He’s been waiting to bust out, and he did tonight. That’s not a fluke.”
Next, Kenston took down another Western Reserve Conference foe in Chardon on Saturday also at Kenston High School. The Bombers defeated the Hilltoppers 76-51, as Kenston improved to 9-7 and 5-3 in the WRC.
It was part of a big night at Kenston as not only did the Bombers fans enjoy the victory and Swartz’s magnificent performance, but seniors C.J. Maynard and Parker Gdula announced verbal commitments for college.
Maynard gave his commitment to Ashland while Gdula committed to Findlay to play football.
With Maynard and Gdula out of the starting lineup against North (4-9) since they missed practice time due to college visits, Swartz and fellow sophomore Ryan Kooser stepped up in their absence.
Both Maynard and Gdula were happy to see the sophomores light up the scoreboard.
“It was a great game,” Maynard said. “He came out of his shell.”
Gdula agreed with Maynard.
“Obviously, we didn’t miss a beat,” Gdula said. “It shows our depth.”
Swartz knocked down 3-pointers like they were layups and finished with 20 points. His hot shooting helped the Bombers, who never trailed, build a 24-10 halftime lead.
“It was awesome to get the opportunity to play,” Swartz said. “It was exciting helping the team get a good win.”
Asked if he was nervous, Swartz said: “At the beginning, but then I started hitting shots and getting hot. It just came to me.”
Then it was Kooser’s turn as he was the Bombers’ second leading scorer with 12 points and six rebounds. The sophomore scored eight of those 12 points in the third quarter when Kenston pushed its lead out to 42-20 by the end of the quarter.
The Bombers’ defense was just as impressive as the shooting of Swartz and Kooser.
“We take pride in working hard all week (at defense),” Vespa said. “We have skilled players, but also tough players.”
Maynard and Gdula played, but not until the second quarter. Maynard said he chose Ashland over John Carroll, Mount Union and Walsh.
“I went on a visit and they have a nice team and the coach, it was a big deal,” Maynard said.
He added that Ashland has good psychology and marketing programs. Maynard said he plans on choosing one of those as his major.
Gdula, who was Kenston’s starting quarterback, said he chose Findlay over Valparaiso, St. Francis University in Pennsylvania and Lehigh.
“They were actually the last team to contact me,” Gdula said. “I went down and loved it.
“One of the great things is when they recruited me they said they run almost the exact same offense (as Kenston). It’s a dream. I’m very excited. It’s been a very long process.”
Gdula said Findlay has a good starting quarterback returning next year, but the coaches told him he can compete for the spot.
“They said the best guys get to play,” Gdula said.
Josh Kain of Kenston added eight points with four rebounds and four assists while teammate Drew Sova was next with seven points, seven rebounds and a powerful dunk in the fourth quarter.
Brandon Dailey paced the Rangers with 12 points and three rebounds. No other Ranger scored more then six points.