ELYRIA — Mike Walsh knows the value of using all the players on his Pioneer roster.
Wednesday, after a sluggish start, Walsh found some help from his bench players to roll away from Stow, 59-34, in Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division play.
Elyria improved to 13-3 overall and 4-2 in league play. The Bulldogs, who lost by just three points to Elyria earlier in the year, fell to 2-13 overall, 0-6 NOC.
“We got off to kind of a slow start and our bench kind of gave us a spark, which is good,” Walsh said. “I thought Nais Williams came in and gave us a little spark. I thought Alesha (Mahone) did. We definitely know we’re not going to win with five so we needed them to provide the spark.”
It was Williams’ two baskets to close out the final 26 seconds of the first quarter that lifted Elyria to a 15-8 lead, and Mahone scored the final five points of the half to give the Pioneers a 26-14 halftime cushion.
Elyria breezed from that point. The two — along with Ashley Nemes — combined to score 21 points off the bench.
“We were a little bit out of rhythm to start the game,” Walsh said. “We were running and shooting before we needed to. There were some open looks but what we have to do is sometimes slow down and get set because we have (Bridget) Jones and (Tai) Dotson down there to rebound.”
Dotson, a 6-foot-1 senior, cleared 14 rebounds, while Jones, a 6-0 junior, claimed 11. The two combined for 21 points as well with Dotson scoring 13. Elyria won the rebound battle by a 53-29 margin.
“We’re just trying to play hard and win some games,” Dotson said. “We knew we had to play defense and get on the boards.”
It was Elyria’s defense that paid dividends — particularly early on. Stow managed to hit only six of its 27 field-goal attempts in the first half and finished at a paltry 28 percent for the night. The Bulldogs weren’t very good from the foul line, either — missing 16 of 21 free throws.
“We got some good looks,” Stow coach Bob Pogas said. “We just didn’t put the ball in the basket. You come here as big as (the Pioneers) are, you’re going to have to make shots.”
Stow was without senior guard Kelsey MacWherter, forced to sit out Wednesday after drawing a pair of technical fouls in the Bulldogs’ last outing. Pogas started a freshman, a sophomore, two juniors and senior Dana Cummins. Alexandria Shaver, the freshman, led Stow with 12 points, while Jillian Francis added 11 off the bench.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 59, Stow 34
STOW (34): Alexandria Shaver 5-1-12, Kendra Mossor 0-1-1, Sarah Parsons 2-1-6, Dana Cummins 0-0-0, Sonya Istocka 1-0-2, Jacquelyn Close 0-0-0, Jillian Francis 4-2-11, Angela Close 0-0-0, Julie Rooney 0-0-0, Alexandria Madonia 0-0-0, Kim Peak 0-0-0, Chelsea Carlson 0-0-0, Kelli Magnani 0-0-0, Lexi Stefanov 1-0-2. Totals 13-5-34.
ELYRIA (59): Kortney Schweitzer 1-0-3, Cynthia Woodard 2-2-6, Bridget Jones 3-2-8, Tai Dotson 5-3-13, Tess Sito 1-3-6, Ashlee Stolarski 1-0-2, Nais Williams 2-2-6, Briann Owens 0-0-0, Ashley Nemes 3-1-7, Alesha Mahone 3-0-8, Sanita Seymore 0-0-0. Totals 21-13-59.
Stow 8 6 9 11 — 34
Elyria 15 11 12 21 — 59
Three-point goals: Stow 3-13 (Shaver, Parsons, Francis). Elyria 4-15 (Mahone 2, Sito, Schweitzer). Field goals: Stow 13-54 (24 percent). Elyria 21-53 (40 percent). Free throws: Stow 5-21 (24 percent). Elyria 13-16 (81 percent). Rebounds: Stow 29 (Istocka 5). Elyria 53 (Dotson 14). Turnovers: Stow 16, Elyria 24. Fouls: Stow 11, Elyria 18. Fouled Out: None.
Junior varsity: Stow, 38-29.