Saturday, March 24, 2001

Alter wins Ohio Division II title




By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer

        COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sophomore Doug Penno scored eight of his 12 points in a 19-4 second-half rally as Kettering Alter beat Warrensville Heights 62-48 Saturday, dashing the Tigers' bid for a second consecutive Division II state championship.

        The title was the third for the Knights (25-2) under Hall of Fame coach Joe Petrocelli, the previous championships coming in 1978 and 1999. Petrocelli is 660-196 in 37 years at Alter — and he wore the widest grin of anyone as the final seconds ticked away.

        Alter, ranked fourth in the final regular-season Associated Press poll, combined withering defense on the Tigers' perimeter stars with an ability to run a patterned offense and get out on the break for easy points.

        Just as they had in a 53-35 rout of Columbus East in the semifinals, the Knights put four in double figures. Florida State-bound Adam Waleskowski scored 18 points, Dave Kohls had 11 and Trey Jones 10 in addition to Penno's 12 off the bench.

        Alter hit 51 percent of its shots from the field — 61 percent in the second half while overcoming a deficit — and held Warrensville Heights to 30-percent shooting.

        Demetrius Johnson scored 21 points and Brian Swift had 16 for Warrensville Heights (26-2).

        J.K. Brooks and Swift had each scored 19 points in the semifinals for the Tigers, combining to hit 13-of-25 shots from the field including 6-of-12 3-pointers. But together they mustered just 7-of-33 shooting and 5-of-21 behind the arc against Alter.

        Brooks managed just five points on 2-of-16 shooting and 1-of-12 on 3-pointers.

        Warrensville Heights, ranked sixth in the final poll, was trying to become only the 17th school to win back-to-back titles — but second of the day. Earlier, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary topped Casstown Miami East 63-53 to successfully defend its crown in Division III.

        It looked for a long time as if the Tigers would also win their second in a row.

        There were four lead changes and five ties in the opening half, with the Tigers clinging to a 25-23 lead at the finish.

        They led 30-25 after Johnson hit a pair of foul shots with 4:38 left in the third quarter. But then Alter took over.

        Penno, who had just four points in the semi, scored inside and then added a layup to pull the Knights within a point and touch off the streak. Jones added the go-ahead points on a long 3-pointer from the left wing and Kohls hit a 10-footer in traffic to make it 34-30.

        At the same time, Heights had turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions, twice on steals by Kohls.

        After Swift scored on a layup to break the spell, Waleskowski rolled down the lane for a bucket and Penno drove for another bucket to make it 38-32.

        Leading 38-34 at the third-quarter break, the Knights then scored the first six points of the fourth quarter. Again Penno got it started, this time on a shot in the lane. Jones spun in a reverse layup off a long pass and Kohls then picked up a loose ball and popped in a short shot to make it 44-34.

        The lead never dropped below seven points again.

        The loss also ended Swift's shot at a rare double. He was a key player on Bedford Chanel's Division III state championship team two years ago before transferring to Warrensville Heights.

        Alter became the 18th Ohio high school with at least three state titles. Middletown, with seven, and Columbus East, with five, lead the way.

        WARRENSVILLE HTS. (25-2) — L.Johnson 0-0 0-2 0, Brooks 2-16 0-0 5, D.Johnson 6-11 7-8 21, Yancy 0-2 1-2 1, Swift 5-17 2-4 16, Emerson 0-0 0-0 0, James 1-1 0-0 2, Wilson 0-0 1-4 1, Worrell 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 15-50 11-20 48.

        KETTERING ALTER (25-2) — Jones 4-9 0-0 10, Kohls 5-10 1-1 11, J.Penno 2-7 2-2 7, Waleskowski 9-15 0-0 18, Laumann 1-4 0-1 2, Swanson 0-0 0-0 0, Rubio 0-0 0-1 0, Knellinger 0-0 0-0 0, D.Penno 6-9 0-1 12, Brinkman 1-1 0-0 2, Freshwater 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-55 3-6 62.

        Warrensville Hts. 9 16 9 14—48

        Kettering Alter 10 13 15 24—62

        3-point goals—Warrensville Hts. 7-24 (Swift 4-9, D.Johnson 2-2, Brooks 1-12, Worrell 0-1), Kettering Alter 3-13 (Jones 2-5, J.Penno 1-3, Laumann 0-2, Waleskowski). Fouled out—Brooks, Kohls. Rebounds—Warrensville Hts. 37 (D. Johnson 11), Kettering Alter 29 (Kohls 9). Assists—Warrensville Hts. 6 (Swift 4), Kettering Alter 17 (Waleskowski 5). Total fouls—Warrensville Hts. 14, Kettering Alter 15. A—15,783.

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