ELYRIA — Overcoming a bad third quarter, Elyria Catholic rallied with a patient offense and some clutch shooting at the end to edge visiting Lake Catholic 52-47 in overtime Saturday in a North Coast League game at the Coliseum.
The game was originally slated for Feb. 10 but was moved up in a late schedule switch.
Elyria Catholic (3-6, 2-1 NCL) was outplayed in the third quarter when it seemed Lake Catholic (1-5, 0-2) had taken the momentum. The Cougars outscored the Panthers 16-10 and dominated the boards 12-5 to overcome a 25-23 halftime deficit for a 39-35 lead going into the final quarter. They were so dominating on the boards that on one possession they had five offensive rebounds before finally putting in the basket.
But with a tight defense and the steady offense — looking like a game out of the 1950s — Elyria Catholic turned things around in the fourth and then dominated in overtime. After its big third quarter, Lake Catholic scored only eight points the rest of the game.
Kevin Fentner, a 6-foot senior, got it started with a driving layup and was fouled, sinking the free throw for a three-point play with 7:15 left. Then 6-6 junior Josh Russ put in a layup to put the Panthers out in front 40-39 with 6:44 remaining. Lake Catholic never led again.
But the Panthers missed two easy layups in the final few minutes which could have padded the lead and Lake Catholic was able to tie the game at 43-all on a Mike Whalen layup with 56 seconds remaining.
The overtime was all Elyria Catholic, which got key baskets from Russ, Fentner and Paul Kubuski to salt away the victory. The Panthers also outrebounded the visitors 4-1 in overtime.
The real key to the victory was Elyria Catholic’s shooting, as the Panthers hit 45 percent from the field despite the two missed layups. Lake Catholic only shot 32 percent.
“This was definitely a big win for us,” said Fentner, who led EC with 19 points — 10 coming in the fourth quarter and OT. “We were lucky to come out of the third quarter still close. But in the fourth everybody started moving and picking up their energy, creating some big turnovers.”
“Overall, I was pleased with the way we played tonight,” said Elyria Catholic coach Alan Januzzi. “We did the things we needed to do to win, coming up with some big possessions when the score was close. Our kids were very patient in our half-court possessions. I think Paul Kubuski did a tremendous job off the bench, Josh made some big plays and Kevin gave us some great moments. I feel so good for the kids. They’ve been working so hard.”
“We took a little bit of a break when we got that big lead,” said Lake Catholic coach Mark Chicone. Lake had a 10-point lead — the biggest of the game for either team — at late in the third quarter before EC scored eight points in the closing minutes to narrow the gap to four.
“It’s tough to put my finger on any one thing that went wrong,” Chicone said. “We’re definitely struggling right now. We have a very young team (two freshmen were in the starting lineup) and we lost two regulars earlier by injuries.”
While Elyria Catholic was decisively outrebounded 42-31 in the game, Paul Kubuski did a stellar job with 11 boards to lead both teams.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 52, Lake Catholic 47 (OT)
LAKE CATHOLIC (47): Tim Beaufait 5-1-15, Herrod Ronyak 4-2-10, Joey Vuyanich 3-2-9, Anthony Covelli 1-3-5, Chase Hounshell 2-0-4, Mike Whalen 2-0-4, Andrew Forrai 0-0-0. Totals 17-8-47.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (52): Kevin Fentner 7-4-19, Josh Russ 4-1-9, Spencer Roule 3-0-6, Joe Januzzi 2-0-5, Andrew Kubuski 2-0-4, Paul Kubuski 2-0-4, Ryan Taylor 1-0-3, conor Voreis 1-0-2, Nick Knsenich 0-0-0. Totals 22-5-52.
Lake Catholic 15 8 16 4 4 — 47
Elyria Catholic 13 12 10 8 9 — 52
Three-point goals: Lake Catholic 5-16 (Beaufait 4, Vuyanich); Elyria Catholic 3-8 (Januzzi, Taylor, Fentner). Field goals: Lake Catholic 17-53 (32 percent); Elyria Catholic 22-48 (45 percent). Free throws: Lake Catholic 8-12 (67 percent); Elyria Catholic 5-12 (42 percent). Rebounds: Lake Catholic 42 (Hounshell 8); Elyria Catholic 31 (P. Kubuski 11). Turnovers: Lake Catholic 17; Elyria Catholic 15. Total fouls: Lake Catholic 16; Elyria Catholic 11.
Junior varsity: Lake Catholic, 35-20.