August 2, 2021
By David Lee Morgan Jr
Special to Dawg Days Basketball
Young Bucks Division Championship Game
Next Level 26
Ice running through his veins? You could say.
Parker Metsker found himself at the free throw line of the Young Bucks boys division championship game after being fouled driving to the basket. His team was leading a talented Next Level team 28-26. His one free throw could win the game.
It was no problem for Metsker. He came through like he had all day. His scrappy, gutsy style of play mirrored the way the rest of his teammates played, and that’s why Metsker, Landon Frank, Dylan Smith, and Braden West all came away with the championship.
“I was exhausted but I just wanted to win,” Metsker said after sinking the free throw and giving the Ticats a 30-26 victory. “I was so tired, I was terrified that it would just hit the front of the rim.”
The TiCats and Next Level battled start to finish. For most of the game, the biggest lead for either team was three points. Next Level led 13-10 on a 3-pointer by Brayden Braswell, then the TiCats went on a 6-0 run to lead 16-13.
Matthew Fahey nailed a 3-pointer to give Next Level a 22-20 lead, but Metsker put the TiCats ahead 25-22 with a 3-pointer and a free throw. The biggest lead for either team was four, when the TiCats went up 28-24 on Metsker’s layup.
Luther Darisaw cut the TiCats lead to 28-26 with a layup but Metsker’s free throw after being fouled proved to be the game winner.
Smith said: “I thought we had a chance to win it all.”
West said: “It was good competition. It was good playing against kids from Akron. It just makes you better.”
(Parker Metsker, Dylan Smith, Landon Frank, Braden West, Young Bucks Boys Division Champs.)
David Lee Morgan Jr was a longtime Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal. His 2003 book, The Rise of a Star: LeBron James, won him critical acclaim (American Library Association, Cleveland Magazine, School Library Journal) as an author.
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