Brayden Costea scored a career-high 32 points during Minerva’s 60-52 win over Ravenna Southeast.
“We played our best game of the year - no doubt about it,” stated Head Coach Shawn Green. “We shot the heck out of it with 11 made three-pointers, but we guarded a very talented and athletic Southeast team, especially in the second half.
“They kept coming at us, but we led from wire to wire. Our ability to handle the ball, coupled with our ability to make threes, makes us dangerous.”
The Lions led 20-18 after the opening quarter, 33-30 at halftime, and 46-40 heading into the final stanza.
Costea also had five rebounds and four steals. Brandon Davis connected on four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points, and Connor Shingleton had seven points, 10 assists and five boards.
“Brayden, Connor, Dylan (Phillips) and Erik (Murray) give us everything they have every night and its nice to see them get to win a few in a row,” noted Coach Green. “Dylan and Erik each had big put-back buckets. Connor and Brayden play every second of every game and should get credit for how hard our team plays, as they are our leaders.
“Brayden is an unbelievable basketball talent. His footwork, quick release and mind for the game are as good as I have ever been around. He constantly makes plays that make our coaching staff shake our heads and smile.
“I just stopped calling plays tonight and relied on Brayden to lead us on the floor. Most of the passes and baskets we scored were not off of plays, but off of philosophies that we want in our program. That's totally a credit to our guys. They play the right way, so no matter the situation we are ready.”
Alliance - 61
Minerva - 57
The Lions fell behind early and spent the rest of the night playing catchup during a league matchup with the Aviators.
Alliance started the game with purpose, taking a 25-12 advantage after the first eight minutes of play. Costea kept Minerva in it with nine points on three 3-pointers.
Minerva would go on to outscore the hosts 45-36 over the final three quarters, but the early deficit proved too much to overcome.
Costea led all scorers with 29 points, six steals and five rebounds; Shingleton finished with 10 points and six boards; Jayden Yerger had eight, five rebounds and three assists; and Peyton Rich had six points.
The Aviators led by as many as 14 points in the second stanza, but the Lions closed the half with a 13-4 run to trail by five at the half, 34-29. The final points were scored on Costea’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Alliance took back control of the Eastern Buckeye Conference contest with a 13-7 third quarter, stretching its advantage to 47-36.
Minerva did not go away over the final eight minutes, ramping up its full-court pressure, resulting in several turnovers which led to easy points in the paint.
The Aviators withstood the pressure, and did just enough down the stretch to preserve the win.
“They jumped us in the first quarter and scored at will in the paint, but we stayed steady, took the punches and rallied back,” commented Coach Green. “Brayden was again remarkable. He was face guarded all night with multiple athletes, but dominated the game on both ends.
“We were down some players this game due to COVID, and not having starter Dylan Phillips hurt us defensively. But in typical Minerva mentality we had other guys step in and make plays. Jayden made his first career start and once he got settled in, played great. He is a gamer and had one of his best games of the season.
“I’m so proud of our two bench guys. Peyton Rich and Braxton Davis both played their best game of their careers. Peyton hit two big threes and Braxton gave their 6'8" center problems by being physical with him. These guys are great kids and both are getting better and better as the season progresses.
“Connor gets some props too. This was the fourth straight game we have had less than 10 turnovers and Connor runs our point for all 32 minutes. We have played 448 minutes this season and he has played 435. He has incredible stamina, toughness and composure. He is our best athlete and we are blessed to have him running our team the past three seasons.”
This article originally appeared on The Alliance Review: Costea nets 32 to lead Minerva past Southeast