COLUMBIA TWP. – In its effort to win basketball games and impress people, Elyria Catholic got it half right.
Actually, the Panthers achieved the more important part. They beat Columbia 57-42 Tuesday night, gaining more points for the scoreboard than for style.
Give Columbia credit for part of EC`s problems. What the Raiders lack in experience and basketball talent, they make up for with sheer hustle and effort.
“Give credit to coach (Brian) Kelly and those Columbia kids,” said EC coach Alan Januzzi. “They played hard, but they always do. He had them ready to play.”
“I was extremely proud of the effort tonight,” said Kelly, whose team is 0-2. “My basketball team grew up tonight. Saturday night (vs. Avon) we tried to be a basketball team. Tonight we were. We`re disappointed in the outcome, but if we sell out like that every night, we`ll be successful.”
Elyria Catholic (2-0), however, was its own worst enemy – taking ill-advised shots, not running its offense, getting beat on the boards (37-30) and committing 23 turnovers, most of them unforced. Columbia turned it over 28 times, but the Panthers failed to capitalize, scoring just 15 points off miscues, two in the first half.
EC`s shot selection also showed in the scorebook in the first half when the Panthers only went to the foul line one time.
“Our shot selection was not what it should be,” Januzzi said. “We`d break the press, then we`d force a shot.”
The Panthers also shot before 6-foot-3 post Joe Fitch could establish position inside, Januzzi said.
EC did a bit better in the second half, led by Kevin Fentner, who tallied 24 points – 12 in each half – and was eight-for-eight from the line in the fourth quarter when the Panthers cashed in 12 of 16. EC also went into a box-and-one on Columbia`s Richie Bics, the lone returnee for the Raiders. Bics had 13 points, but made only 4 of 22 shots. Columbia sank only 12 of 46 shots for 26 percent.
“We saw it a little bit Saturday night,” said Kelly, who figures to wrestle with the box-and-one problem before next Tuesday`s game against visiting Oberlin. “But we`ve got so much to teach.”
The Raiders started two sophomores and a junior against the Panthers.
Fitch had 11 points and Cody Schuster added 10 for the Panthers.
Fentner`s mid-range jumper gave the Panthers a 12-11 lead with 2:43 left in the first quarter and the visitors kept the upper hand the rest of the way. But Columbia never gave the Panthers a chance to relax, closing to within 22-21 with two minutes left in the half. Even after three quarters the Panthers were up by only nine.
The Raiders got the first basket of the fourth quarter, but Fentner sank two free throws, then two more and cashed in an old-fashioned three-point play after a steal to push the lead to 14. Two Raiders fouled out in the last 3Â½ minutes and the Panthers closed out the game with an 8-2 run in the final two minutes.
Elyria Catholic is at Firelands on Friday.
Elyria Catholic 57, Columbia 42
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (57): Jacob Schuster 1-0-2, Spencer Roule 0-0-0, Joe FitchÂ 5-1-11, Kevin Fentner 7-8-24, Cody Schuster 25-10, Paul Kubuski 2-0-4, Adam Kirsch 0-0-0, Ryan Taylor 2-1-5, Joe Januzzi 0-0-0, Josh Russ 0-1-1. Totals 19-16-57.
COLUMBIA (42): Richie Bics 4-4-13. Brett Doutt 1-1-3, Kevin Augaitis 3-1-7, C.J. Shope 0-0-0, James Magda 1-2-5, Anthony Fabrizi 2-2-8, A.J. DiDonato 0-0-0, Rioky Wake 0-2-2, Josh Kovacs 0-2-2, Jerry Karl 1-0-2. Totals 12-14-42.
Elyria CatholicÂ Â Â 16Â Â Â 14Â Â Â 11Â Â Â 16Â Â Â – Â Â Â 57
Columbia Â Â Â 11Â Â Â 12Â Â Â 9Â Â Â 10Â Â Â – Â Â Â 42
Three-point goals: Columbia (4-16) Bics, Fabrizi 2, Magda, EC (3-8) Fentner 2, C. Schuster; Rebounding: Columbia 37 (Magda 8), EC 30 (Fitch8 8); Turnovers: Columbia 25, EC 23; Fouls: Columbia 21, EC 17; Fouled Out: Magda, Doutt;Â Technical Foul: Magda;Field Goal Shooting: Columbia 12 of 46 (26 percent), EC 19 of 50 (38 percent); Free Throw Shooing: Columbia 14 of 19 (74 percent), EC 16 of 23 (69 percent).
JV: Elyria Catholic 59-21