Tigers Defense Shuts Down Hawks
January 13, 2022 by Mason Cole

Coming off a quiet holiday break, the Chagrin Falls Tigers boys basketball team looked refreshed and energized Jan. 5 as it handily defeated its Chagrin Valley Conference rival Hawken Hawks, 51-35.

Game photos click here.

Coming off a quiet holiday break, the Chagrin Falls Tigers boys basketball team looked refreshed and energized Jan. 5 as it handily defeated its Chagrin Valley Conference rival Hawken Hawks, 51-35.

The Tigers defense stymied the Hawks offense early in the game, allowing them to score only nine points in the first half.

Because of Chagrin Falls’ unbreakable defense, Hawken was never able to find their footing and quickly fell behind. Tigers Head Coach Dave Bargar said his team’s success against its opponent could be traced back to an adjustment made in December.

We’ve been locked in defensively with some adjustments we made about three weeks ago,” Bargar said. “We played the majority of this game ahead by a good margin, so we felt pretty good defensively on what we were able to do tonight.”

One player who made an impact defensively for Chagrin Falls was junior James Kosmides. Kosmides was a nuisance against the Hawks, finishing the game with nine points, four blocks and three steals. Kosmides may have also recorded the highlight of the game when he rose up and blocked an opponent’s layup off the backboard in the first quarter.

Kosmides had highlight plays on defense, but believed his team was able to stop Hawken because of its activity level.

We were really active on defense,” Kosmides said. “Holding them to nine points in the first half is impressive no matter what team you’re playing.”

Kosmides, who stands at six-foot-five-inches tall, spent much of the game standing near the basket preventing Hawken players from shooting any easy layups. Bargar believes the role he plays for the Tigers is huge.

He’s always been big for us,” Bargar said of Kosmides. “He anchors our defense in the middle. He blocks shots, he covers guys, he can guard a bunch of different positions on the floor. Defensively we’re able to do things because of him.”

Kosmides is not simply a defensive specialist, either. Bargar said Kosmides is also often strong on offense.

Offensively he’s a tough matchup,” Bargar said. “He can go inside and score, and he can take guys off the dribble from the perimeter. (Hawken) played a little bit more zone tonight than we’ve seen, which took him away from some of the things — but again, he was pretty solid all the way up and down the floor.”

When the Tigers were not getting Kosmides the ball in the paint, they were often allowing junior guards Max Crandall and Nicholas Vinci to make plays on the perimeter.

Crandall, who finished the game with 13 points, was able to penetrate the Hawks defense and find easy layup opportunities, including a fadeaway shot in the second quarter. Vinci, who finished the game with 12 points and a pair of three-pointers, was able to create spacing for the Tigers offense with his outside shooting.

The skills of Crandall and Vinci helped Chagrin Falls keep its offense balanced.

Kosmides said he appreciates how the two guards impact the Tigers offense.

It’s really nice knowing that if I can’t score inside, there’s always somebody outside to kick it out to,” Kosmides said. “To be able to rely on those guys to hit those shots every time is huge.”

For Hawken, senior Quinn Petersen and sophomore David Dettelbach each scored 10 points against Chagrin Falls.

With the victory, Chagrin Falls improved to a 5-2 overall record, 4-0 in conference play — and received a boost to its growing confidence.

There’s very (few) teams we think we could lose to,” Kosmides said. “As a team, we’re really confident in our play.”

These shot blocking photos can be cropped tight and then put next to each other form one image with the below caption.