Garito earns title of BBHHS all-time leading rebounder

by Martin McConnell

Brecksville-Broadview Heights center Chase Garito recently claimed a school basketball record from Bees great Scott Roth. The 6’8” senior broke Roth’s 43-year record on Jan. 31, corralling his 629th career rebound against Berea High School.

The same week, Garito followed up his record-breaking performance by becoming the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer with over 1,000 points. Head coach Steve Mehalik sang his team’s praises following the end of his senior season, a 54-52 overtime loss to St. Ignatius High School on March 4.

“We finished 21-4,” he said. “I’m really happy for the boys. I believe we finished fifth in the

state for Division I. Just a great year for the boys.”

In addition to the stellar season record, the Bees were able to take home their third straight championship, Mehalik said. He explained that so much of the team’s success was due to Garito’s hard work as a rebounding menace.

“Today’s a tough day, because we don’t get to coach him anymore,” he said on March 5. “He’s one of the best we have ever had on the court, and probably even better off the court. All-time leading rebounder, fifth all-time leading scorer, he’s just special.”

In addition to the personal accolades, Garito finishes his high school career as the Bees’

winningest player in history. He passed Tyler Ganley, who set the record last year, Mehalik said.

Seeing Garito grow into the player he has become — one who is garnering interest from multiple colleges — has been one of the greatest honors of Mehalik’s career, he said.

“He made himself strong, and he made himself a college basketball player by just his work ethic,” he said. “Rebounding, though, it’s still an art. It’s still more passion than anything.”

Off the court, Mehalik said that he has grown to fully trust Garito to be the face of Bees basketball. Calling Garito a “gentle giant,” he said that the team truly looks up to him as a leader.

“He’s just one tough son of a gun,” Mehalik said of Garito’s mentality. “When you talk about toughness, there’s physical toughness and there’s mental toughness. Chase is probably the most mentally tough kid we’ve ever had come through our program.”

For Garito, the personal recognition is nice, but he credits his parents with his success, explaining that they gave him multiple opportunities in different sports as a child.

Crossing the 1,000-point mark for his career was definitely a goal, Garito said. Once he saw it on the horizon, he knew he had to have it. The rebounding record, however, completely blindsided him.

“This was something I didn’t even know I was close to, until Coach told me I was 20, 30 away. It was special for a lot of older guys that watched Roth play,” he said.

As Garito goes off to college, he said that he is more than happy to leave his mark on the Bees’ star-studded history of athletics.

“It was still special to have a record, you know, being number one in something in school history,” he said. “Leaving that legacy on Brecksville, and having your name up there as

all-time.” ∞

BBHHS senior Chase Garito, pictured with his parents, has become the school’s all-time leading rebounder and its fifth all-time leading scorer during the 2022-2023 season. Photo submitted.