ELYRIA — Sometimes, it’s just your night.Sure, Elyria Catholic probably knew that long before Joe Januzzi sank a 46-foot running jump shot just before the first-half buzzer sounded Friday night.
After all, the shot gave the Panthers a 41-22 halftime lead and they went on to post a comfortable 67-48 win over Open Door in non-conference play.
Still, the shot brought EC its biggest cheer of the night — and it wasn’t even the first time the Panthers have made a shot from beyond half-court this season. Andrew Kubuski drained one against Trinity.
“When he was a kid during practice he used to try those all the time,” EC coach Alan Januzzi said of his son. “And I would yell at him, ‘Why practice those? You’ll never used them in a game.’ So what do I know?”
When the younger Januzzi came down after getting his shot off he didn’t even reach the half-court line.
As for the Patriots (2-9), they actually led 3-2 when Abe Valentine knocked down the first of his four 3-pointers just 47 seconds into the game. But it was all downhill for the Patriots after that.
The Panthers (5-7) just had too much size and shooting for Open Door and they quickly opened up a big lead and coasted the rest of the way.
Still, despite trailing by big margins most of the game, the Patriots never quit trying or running their offense. Valentine led the way, scoring a game-high 28 points, just two off the season-high 30 he had against Christian Community.
Josh Russ, a 6-foot-6 junior, led Elyria Catholic with 19 points, repeatedly getting inside for layups.
The Panthers shot 51 percent from the field and outrebounded the Patriots 29-27. Open Door was also hurt by turnovers, committing 15 in the first half and 21 for the game. EC had only 12 turnovers.
It was the first time Coach Januzzi had faced his old team since he left for EC following the 2004-05 season.
“It was strange,” said Januzzi, who took the Patriots to the state tournament one season. “I wasn’t looking forward to playing them. I know all the kids and miss the people I knew there. I’m glad it’s over. I was impressed with their determination tonight. They played hard. Abe played a heck of a game.”
Open Door coach Jason Penley couldn’t be too upset in the outcome.
“It was a battle and we were short of bullets,” he said. “We gave a good effort. The kids played hard. Abe was great. He has a lot of talent and tonight he was double- and triple-teamed whenever he got the ball. He had to work for his shots.”
Elyria Catholic’s only trouble spot was the 21 fouls it committed.
“We wanted to put pressure on them so naturally that sometimes draws fouls,” Alan Januzzi said. “I thought our kids executed well. Josh had a whale of a game. It was nice seeing him being aggressive and going to the basket.”
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 67, Open Door 48
OPEN DOOR (48): Abe Valentine 8-8-28, Michael Terry 4-3-11, Eric Mann 1-2-5, Kevin Squire 0-2-2, Garrett Mitchell 1-0-2, Joey Untalasco 0-0-0. Patrick Elder 0-0-0. Cameron Rodgers 0-0-0. Spencer Davis 0-0-0. Totals 14-15-48.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (67): Josh Russ 7-5-19, Kevin Fentner 5-1-14, Joe Januzzi 4-0-9, Paul Kubuski 3-2-8, Conor Voreis 3-1-7, Nick Ksenich 2-0-4, Gabe Cintron 1-0-2, Ryan Taylor 1-0-2, Andrew Kubuski 1-0-2, Adam Kirsch 0-0-0. Spencer Roule 0-0-0. Totals 27-9-67.
Open Door 9 13 10 16 — 48
E. Catholic 23 18 12 14 — 67
Three-point goals: OD 5-of-9 (Valentine 4, Mann), EC 4-of-6 (Fentner 3, Januzzi); Field goals: OD 14-of-37 (37 percent), EC 27-of-52 (51 percent); Free throws: OD 15-of 22, EC 9 of 12; Rebounds: OD 27 (Terry 6, Valentine 5), EC 29 (Ksenich 6); Turnovers: OD 21, EC 12; Fouls: OD 15, EC 21.
Junior varsity: Elyria Catholic 46, Open Door 30.