Leopards Defeat Howland, Win 1st District Title Since 1993 – Boys Basketball

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#2 Louisville 63, #12 Howland 56

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Lingenhoel Group - Arden and Lisa Lingenhoel - Cutler Real Estate AdThe #2 seed Louisville Leopards Boys Basketball Team defeated the #12 seed Warren Howland Tigers 63-56 Friday Night in the DII Ashtabula District Finals held at Lakeside High School. With the victory, Louisville improves to 19-6 and earns its first District Championship since 1993. The Leopards advance to the DII Canton Regional Semifinals where they will take on the Canton District winner #4 Cleveland Glenville or #5 CVCA (they play Saturday) on Thursday, March 10 at 8:00 PM. 

Senior guard Tyler Boldon made 4 three-pointers in the first half and finished with a team high 17 points to lead Louisville. Junior guard Will Aljancic and sophomore guard Hayden Nigro also tallied 15 points to help lead the Leopards.

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Boldon Hammers Home 4 1st Half Threes

Jenny Can Cleaning AdEach team made a basket to break the ice and then Louisville began launching from downtown. Boldon answered Howland’s opening bucket with a three-pointer from the far right corner to put the Leopards ahead 5-2 and, spoiler alert, they would never trail again. The Tigers missed on the other end, and junior guard Charlie Roberts set and fired a three from the same right corner to put Louisville ahead 8-2. 

Howland senior guard Anthony Massucci made a shot in the lane and then drove to the bucket on the next possession to get the Tigers within 8-6. But the Leopard offense worked the ball around to a wide open Boldon who hit from the same far right corner spot to put LHS back up by five. 

On the other end, freshman post Brayden Gross turned away a shot attempt in the lane to give the ball back to Louisville. Boldon pulled down a hard fought offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Nigro who charged to the hole to make it 13-6. Boldon just wanted it more.

In fact, the Leopards just wanted it more. They would close the quarter grabbing 8 consecutive rebounds without the Tigers recording a single board in the same span. So even as some shots missed their mark and Louisville turned the ball over twice, it didn’t matter.

Plus Boldon remained red hot even away from his sweet spot. He hit his third three-ball of the quarter on the Leopards closing possession of the first period which saw LHS take a 17-8 lead. Senior forward Bobby Sullivan scored underneath for Howland to open the second quarter. Yet somehow again the Tigers left Boldon wide open again in the far right corner on the other end. He cashed in on his fourth three-pointer to put Louisville ahead 20-10 before the game was even nine minutes old.

Louisville Has the Better Answer

Sophomore guard Alex Henry pushed the ball the other way and scored on a layup for Howland. But for every Tigers score, the Leopards seemed to have a better answer. A tipped pass was secured by Aljancic in the lane between three frozen defenders and he quickly went back up with the ball and scored, while also drawing a foul. Aljancic hit from the line to complete an old-fashioned three-point play and the Leopards had a commanding 23-12 lead.

Each team matched buckets, Sullivan for Howland and Roberts for Louisville. Then Aljancic pulled down offensive rebounds off his own miss twice before flushing home a layup to put LHS ahead 27-14. The play drew a Tiger timeout and Head Coach Tom Siegfried was emphatic in praising Aljancic’s effort as the Leopards went to the bench. The stars were aligning for Louisville.

Leopard Freshman Lead 11-0 Run Before Half

My Fit Life Personal Trainer Side AdMassucci hit home a three from the right wing to get Howland within 10. But freshman guard Beau Siegfried answered with a three-pointer from Boldon’s favorite far right corner spot to put the Leopards back up by 13.

This jump started an 11-0 run that saw Louisville capture its largest lead of the game at 38-17. Gross hit a jumper from the right of the hoop and Nigro went hard to the basket. Then Siegfried threw across the lane to Gross who laid it home to complete the freshman connection. 

Meanwhile the Leopards just continued to dominate on the glass. Louisville closed the half recording 7 consecutive boards without Howland obtaining a single carom. 

Tigers Answer With 9-0 Run

The first half ended awkwardly as the substitution horn sounded and play continued. The Tigers took advantage as junior guard Ben Bronson made a three from the far left corner to cut the deficit to 38-20 at the break.

Massucci recorded back-to-back steals and scored off each. He then sunk a pair from the charity stride to complete a 9-0 run for Howland to cut their deficit to 38-26.

Louisville Takes Commanding Lead Into 4th

Roberts scored on a short jumper to end the Tiger run. Then on their next possession, Gross hustled to save a missed shot from going out of bounds while firing an overhand pass to Nigro at the top of the key. The sophomore hit his mark and just like that the Leopards were up by 17.

Scoring came at a premium for the remainder of the quarter as Louisville rode a 46-30 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Massucci Scores Game High 32 for Howland

Howland slowly chipped away at the Louisville lead, but was unable to penetrate the double digit margin until the final minute of the game. Massucci buried an NBA range three-pointer from the right wing to get the Tigers to within 59-52 with 51 seconds remaining.

Massucci would finish with 15 of his game high 32 points in the fourth quarter to lead Howland. Bronson, who also hit his second three-pointer of the game in the final stanza, finished in double figures with 10. Senior guard Grant Brown, junior guard Connor Durig, and Sullivan also added 4 each for the Tigers.

29 Year Drought Ends

While the Leopards struggles from the free throw line in the fourth quarter made the game a lot closer than it should have been, it ultimately was enough to clinch the game. Louisville converted 11 of 17 attempts from the charity stride in the final period and finished 14 of 23 for the game. Nigro hit his mark on his final five attempts to help seal the deal.

Time ran out on the Tigers and they could not undo the nearly flawless performance the Leopards put on in the first half. The final horn sounded and Louisville celebrated: the players, the coaches, the students, the fans. 

Twenty-Nine years. There is no doubt Leopards Basketball has suffered its share of postseason disappointment since its last District Championship during the Clinton presidency. Eleven one and done exits, twenty years between tournament winning streaks, and two district finals appearances ending in defeat.

All of that was history Friday night on the shores of Lake Erie. Louisville triumphed to their second ever DII District Title.

Leopards Avenge Earlier Loss to Tigers

The Leopards are now 5-1 against the Tigers all-time and 2-0 against them when playing on a neutral court. Louisville also defeated Howland in their first ever meeting 58-50 at Lake High School as part of the Hoops for Healing tournament.

The Tigers defeated the Leopards earlier this season at Howland 71-65 back on January 11. Louisville avenged that loss Friday. 

The Tigers finish the regular season with a mark of 15-10.

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Siegfried Passes Gresko for Most Coach Wins

Leopard Head Coach Tom Siegfried now stands alone atop the Louisville Basketball coaching win leaderboard. One hundred-and-one victories earlier, Siegfried past Bill Eddins (101-74 from 1993-2001) for the most wins in the history of the Louisville Boys Basketball program.

Friday night Siegfried notched his 203rd career coaching victory surpassing John Gresko (202-155 from 1983-1999) for most varsity basketball coaching wins in school history. Gresko led the Lady Leopards to regional finals appearances in 1990 and 1991, a place the boys programs has never ventured to. Siegfried and the Leopards will look to change that status Thursday night at the Canton Civic Center.

UP NEXT: The Leopards will next take on the #4 Glenville Tarblooders/#5 CVCA Royals Canton District Winner in the DII Canton Regional Semifinals on Thursday, March 10 at 8:00 PM at the Canton Civic Center.

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Louisville Leopards Vs. Howland Tigers Game Statistics


Team 1-2-3-4–TOTAL

Howland 8-12-10-26–56

Louisville 17-21-8-17–63

TIGERS: Massucci 11 8-10 32, Bronson 4 0-0 10, Brown 2 0-0 4, Durig 2 0-0 4, Sullivan 2 0-0 4, Henry 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 22 8-10 56.

3-Pointers (4): Bronson, Massucci

Team FT: 8-10 80%

LEOPARDS: Boldon 6 1-3 17, Aljancic 5 5-9 15, Nigro 4 6-9 15, Roberts 3 0-0 7, Gross 2 2-2 6, Siegfried 1 0-0 3. TOTAL 21 14-23 63.

3-Pointers (7): Boldon 4, Nigro, Roberts, Siegfried

Team FT: 14-23 61%


Fouls: 21-14 Howland

Records: Louisville 19-6, Howland 15-10

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