CUYAHOGA FALLS: The Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy boys basketball team appears to be a very determined group.
That became abundantly clear after a dominating effort over one of its top rivals Friday night, and the possibility of a conference title looms a little larger as a result.
CVCA (17-2, 11-1) took a step closer to that goal, seizing control from the opening tip and rolling over visiting Manchester 73-43.
The Royals remain a game and a half ahead of perennial champion Canton Timken in the PAC-7 with two league games remaining. Manchester (12-7, 8-4) had its title hopes disappear.
“We were just motivated, ready to come out with some fire,” said CVCA’s Bob Peters, who led the way as he usually does with 25 points. “We’re playing for first place right now. We control our own destiny, that’s a big part of it.”
CVCA never trailed, leading 19-10 after one quarter, and 13 points in a row early in the second increased the margin to 32-12. It was 43-22 at the half, and the margin was never less than 19 after that.
It was a far cry from the first game between the two teams earlier in the season at Manchester, when CVCA was pushed to the end before escaping with a 53-49 victory.
Peters, a 6-foot-2 senior and son of CVCA coach Jay Peters, scored 18 points in that one, but was limited somewhat by a box-and-one defense employed by the Panthers. CVCA was ready for that strategy this time.
“Yeah, they were doing the box-and-one on me the whole game,” Peters said. “I was fine with it. My teammates just picked apart their defense, which is what we wanted. That’s what happens when they box-and-one me, my teammates step up and we win big.”
Sophomore Mike Peters, Bob’s brother, scored 12 points for the Royals. And Alex Punka, a 6-3 senior, stepped up with 11 points — all in the first half — and five rebounds.
CVCA’s Caleb Kleibscheidel, a rugged 6-5 senior, had seven points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots.
“We came out here with a goal,” Punka said. “We always have a goal to beat these guys and all of our team, all of our seniors came out with a fire. Our last home game against Manchester. We came out with a fire and passion to beat these guys.”
Jamar Dukes, a 6-4 senior, led Manchester with 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. But he had to sit for a while after picking up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter.
Kanyon Collins, a 6-3 junior, also picked up a fourth foul early in the second half. And the Panthers were missing 6-2 senior Bryan Daily, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.
“They’re a good team and it’s a tough place to play,” Manchester assistant coach A.J. Hite said. “They were hitting shots early and we didn’t want to defend. They were the better team tonight. No doubt about it.”
The Royals travel to Triway on Tuesday before returning home Friday against Tuslaw to complete the PAC-7 schedule.
Jay Peters said his team has learned to adjust when opponents focus their attention on Bob Peters.
“As the year went on, most teams have tried that against us,” he said. “As a result of that, we’ve gotten more comfortable with other guys figuring out where the open spots are. We are not a one-man team by any stretch of the imagination.”
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