Berkshire freshman delivers game winner in win at Crestwood

MANTUA—Freshman Mason Mendolera didn’t have time to think about the what-ifs of his last-second shot in Berkshire’s sectional semifinal at Crestwood on Tuesday.

With the clock winding down, Berkshire had trouble penetrating the Crestwood defense. That’s when J.T. Bergmeier dished the ball off to Mendolera, who drove halfway through the line and released the floating layup that tickled the twine with just seconds remaining to give the Badgers a 57-56 come-fro-behind victory.

“We didn’t really have a play drawn up,” Mendolera said. “We were just going through our regular offense that we were going through all night, and it was working. They kicked it out to J.T. and he drove and that got cut off by my guy. I got the ball on the wing, kind of an open shot, but I just drove it and went up with it.”

Crestwood got off to a hot start thanks to Kaya Hickin, who scored all seven of his points in the first quarter, while Trent Jackacki and Austin Johnson each scored five in the opening frame

The Red Devils led after eight minutes, 22-16.

Berkshire made its move in the second quarter.

Mendolera hit a pair of 3-pointers while Isaac Potter scored five of his 19 and Bergmeier added four of his five in the quarter.

The Badgers used a 17-12 run to pull to within 34-33 at halftime.

Potter added six more in the third as the Badgers took a 45-41 lead into the final eight minutes.

Johnson, who finished with a game-high 21, drained three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and Jackacki scored six points to set the Red Devils up with the lead prior to Mendolera’s game-deciding shot.

Mendolera and Potter both finished with 19 points to lead Berkshire’s effort and Bergmeier contributed to the win with five points.

After knocking off No. 11 Crestwood, the 16th seeded Badgers advanced to Friday’s sectional championship game at No. 5 Pymatuning Valley. The Badgers lost to the Lakers back on Dec. 15, 55-38.

Chagrin Valley Conference