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STOW -- Throughout the season, the Stow-Munroe Falls boys basketball team has been able to turn it on and turn it off.
It seemed like the Bulldogs flipped the on/off switch about several times Jan. 20.
Stow remained unbeaten in Suburban League National Conference play after posting a 69-53 victory over North Royalton Jan. 20 at James G. Tyree Gymnasium.
With the win, the Bulldogs, who also defeated Akron Buchtel 52-45 Jan. 21 at home, improved to 9-3 overall and 7-0 in the National Conference.
The Bears dropped to 7-6 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
Stow had four players reach double figures in scoring. That was a good thing.
The Bulldogs also let a 20-point lead vanish to five points in the blink of an eye. That wasn't such a good thing.
"We moved the ball well," Stow head coach Dave Close said. "We made good decisions and took good shots. In the third quarter, we got away from that."
The third quarter actually started pretty well.
After the Bulldogs outscored the Bears (7-6, 4-3) 20-11 in the second period to take a 37-25 lead at halftime, they appeared to be in control early in the third quarter.
In fact, when 6-foot-8 junior forward Mason McMurray converted a 3-point play with five minutes left, Stow had a commanding 49-29 advantage.
And then, in a blink of an eye, the Bulldogs completely lost their composure.
Stow had some ball-handling issues and North Royalton, which was at a decisive disadvantage in terms of height and athleticism, concluded the quarter on a 16-1 run.
When senior guard Brandon Kye scored a layup off a spin move, it was suddenly a five-point game (50-45).
However, it turned out to be just as easy for Stow to flip the switch back on as it was to turn off.
The Bulldogs opened the final period with a 10-0 spurt to put the game away.
Senior forward Justin Harvey concluded the flurry with a layup after a behind-the-head pass by junior guard Coryon Rice.
At that point, the game was out of reach as the Bears' shooting touch vanished. North Royalton had a lot of one-and-done possessions down the stretch, thanks to its inability to convert 3-point shots.
Senior post player Max Glass led the Bears with a game-high 26 points.
Despite its third-quarter woes, Stow moved the ball effectively throughout the game, which led to a number of open shots.
Senior guard Logan Lindsay had 13 points and Harvey finished with 12 points. McMurray contributed 11 points and senior guard Jordan Jolly added 10 points.
Rice and senior guard/forward Nick Kollar finished with 9 and 8 points, respectively, for Stow.
Kye scored 13 points for North Royalton.
"We have a lot of things to work on," Close said. "We can't turn the ball over as much as we did and we can't keep having our lapses like we've had. But we had four players in double figures. We're not as top-heavy as we were in the past. We need to move the ball around and get everyone involved and we did that [Jan. 20]."
Against Buchtel, the Bulldogs had a 28-21 lead at halftime. Stow scored just eight points in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs outscored the Griffins 16-13 in the final eight minutes.
Buchtel's Aamir Solomon led all scorers with 23 points. Rice led Stow with 16 points and McMurray contributed 10 points. Jolly made three 3-pointers on his way to 9 points.
The Bulldogs made 9-of-12 foul shots, while the Griffins made 13-of-19 shots from the charity stripe.
Stow was scheduled to visit National Conference rival Wadsworth Jan. 27. Results were not available at press time.
The Bulldogs are set to visit National Conference foe Nordonia Jan. 31 in Macedonia. Stow is scheduled to entertain National Conference rival Twinsburg Feb. 3. Both varsity games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.