ELYRIA — It’s hard to say if Garfield Heights is actually one of Northeast Ohio’s best basketball teams.
Elyria coach Bob Walsh came away from Friday’s 85-67 loss with the feeling his team could be right there with them — except for one thing.
“When we played smart and we made them play the way we wanted to play,” said Walsh, “we came back from whatever it was we were down. We got ourselves back in the game playing smart, but as soon as we got back in it, we got dumb again.
“I don’t think they’re any better than we are. They just played smarter.”
Not a bad point. Garfield (8-0) roared out of the starting gate, building a 17-4 cushion four minutes into the game. Before Elyria’s Demetrius Dalton closed the first quarter with a 3-pointer and a good toss from the lane, the Bulldogs had a 25-8 lead.
Garfield hit 9 of its 16 first-quarter shots and all four of its free throws. The Pioneers were
6-of-19 from the field with no free throw attempts.
“We avoid fouls at the basket,” Walsh said. “We should be getting fouled at the basket. We don’t get fouled. We throw the ball up over our head. We take very poor-type shots when we get to the basket instead of just going straight up and getting fouled and going to the line.”
Garfield outscored Elyria 20-13 from the line for the night and had seven 3-pointers to Elyria’s four. Add it up and that’s pretty much the difference.
“To be honest, (the Bulldogs) made their foul shots,” Walsh said. “They got the ball to their
3-point shooter. He got the 3-pointers off. We told these guys time after time what they were going to do. The bottom line is they got it done.”
Carl Jones, a 5-foot-10 junior, feasted from both baselines and from the top of the arc, scoring 34 points on six 3-pointers, 10 free throws and three 2-point baskets. Jones only misfired on four shots from the floor and missed just one free throw.
Robert Wilson, a 6-5 senior already signed and delivered to Wisconsin on a basketball scholarship, cleaned up inside for 20 points and nine rebounds, while 6-4 senior Paul McQueen, who is getting looks from a number of colleges, scored 15 and yanked down 11 rebounds.
“Our program … we think about state championship and league championship,” said Garfield Heights coach William “Sonny” Johnson III, following in the footsteps of his namesake father. “We want to play in front of some big crowds. Elyria’s fans were unbelievable. I was glad to see our kids come out with that intensity but we knew (Elyria) would make a run.”
In the second quarter, the Pioneers scored 14 unanswered points to take a 31-30 lead with 3:50 to play in the half and trailed only 40-36 at intermission. It was still just a seven-point deficit as late as 4:51 in the fourth quarter before Garfield outscored Elyria 10-1 to put the game away.
For Elyria, Dalton scored 31 points to beat his career best — set just last week at Berea – by a point. Rayshawn Camel chipped in 10 while junior Travis Noble had eight points and 10 rebounds.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garfield Heights 85, Elyria 67
GARFIELD (85): Carl Jones 9-10-34, Anthony Steplight 3-1-7, Roy Brown 2-2-7, Paul McQueen 7-1-15, Robert Wilson 7-6-20, Dan Ward 0-0-0, Andre Jackson 0-0-0, Donzell Jones 1-0-2, Lathan Bennett 0-0-0, Bilal Young 0-0-0, Reggie Taylor 0-0-0. Totals 29-20-85.
ELYRIA (67): Promis Cabbil 1-4-6, Demetrius Dalton 12-3-31, Rayshawn Camel 4-2-10, Seryrell Davis 3-2-8, Travis Noble 4-0-8, Mykel Williams 1-2-4, Michael Higginbotham 0-0-0, John Yeaples 0-0-0, Kare King 0-0-0. Totals 25-13-67.
Garfield 25 15 19 26 — 85
Elyria 13 23 14 17 — 67
Three-point goals: Garfield 7-23 (C. Jones 6, Brown). Elyria 4-10 (Dalton 4). Field Goals: Garfield 29-60 (48 percent). Elyria 25-57 (44 percent). Free Throws: Garfield 20-27 (74 percent). Elyria 13-20 (65 percent). Rebounds: Garfield 36 (McQueen 11), Elyria 34 (Noble 10). Turnovers: Garfield 23, Elyria 24. Fouls: Garfield 22, Elyria 20. Fouled Out: Brown, Cabbil, Noble.
Junior Varsity: Elyria 48-46.