ELYRIA — It wasn’t a lack of effort or a lack of desire on the part of Elyria High on Tuesday night.
The Pioneers gave it their best shot, but make no mistake, when it comes to the Garfield Heights Bulldogs, who won 90-67, they’re the real deal.
“There’s a reason they’re (ranked) four or five in the state and 18-0,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “They have some very good players — very good. We did a great job for the first quarter and a half trying to keep it somewhat low-tempo but we gave them momentum on some offensive stickbacks and steals. We got lazy with the ball. You can’t do that against good teams.”
Elyria led 22-21 on a pair of free throws by sophomore Kody Bender with 5:06 remaining in the second quarter when the Bulldogs, who are actually ranked sixth in Division I, turned the game completely around. Garfield scored the next 13 points to lead 34-22. Three straight steals and layups by Doran Phillips took the starch out of the Pioneers.
At halftime, the Bulldogs led 41-26, but quickly upped the ante with four unanswered 3-pointers to start the second half and blow the game open at 53-26.
From there it became a helter-skelter, run-and-gun type of game.
“That’s our bread and butter,” Garfield coach Sonny Johnson said. “I thought we played a good all-around game. Our bigs played good. We shared the ball. I think we’re jelling at the right time.”
Penn State recruit Trey Lewis hit seven of 12 3-point attempts to lead the way with 25 points, but it was the inside play of 6-foot-7, 265-pound senior Mike McQueen and 6-9 junior Jermaine Davis that really forced the issue.
They swatted away a good dozen shots, corralled 17 rebounds and scored 19 points between them. Their presence inside forced the Pioneers into throwing the ball at the basket rather than taking good shots.
Garfield hit half of its 3-pointers (10-of-20) and 56 percent overall from the field while holding Elyria to 21-of-61 from the floor in spite of hitting 50 percent from beyond the arc (4-of-8).
“(Garfield) did a good job containing us,” Larrick said. “They didn’t gamble as much. Their defense was solid and took away some looks in the half-court. It’s tough. They’re very long and quick. It’s tough to do anything against them.”
Bender led Elyria with 22 points, with 10 coming from the foul line. Elyria’s lone bright spot was the foul shooting. The Pioneers were 21-of-25 with senior Zach Zinimon going eight of eight. Senior Devin Swidecki scored 13 points and senior Chase Farris had eight rebounds, but that simply didn’t measure up to Garfield’s inside game.
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Garfield Heights 90, Elyria 67
GARFIELD HEIGHTS (90): Terrell Byrd 2-0-5, Tony Farmer 4-1-11, Trey Lewis 8-2-25, Mike McQueen 4-1-9, Adam Barbour 3-0-6, Mike Davis 3-3-9, Jermaine Davis 5-0-10, William Dayse 0-0-0, Lloyd Henry 0-0-0, Doran Phillips 3-5-11, David Wright 1-0-2, Mike Morgan 1-0-2, Demetrius Collier 0-0-0, Marquis Jackson 0-0-0. Totals 34-12-90.
ELYRIA (67): Kody Bender 5-10-22, Jumaar Lewis 1-0-3, Devin Swidecki 5-2-13, Anthoni Horton 3-0-6, Chase Farris 2-1-5, Khire Lateef 1-0-2, Zach Zinimon 0-8-8, Brenden Dickerson 0-0-0, Demetrius Walton 1-0-2, Maurice Woods 0-0-0, Rodney Beckett 3-0-6. Totals 21-21-67.
Garfield Heights 18 23 26 23 — 90
Elyria 13 13 16 25 — 67
Three-point goals: Garfield 10-20 (Lewis 7, Farmer 2, Byrd), Elyria 4-8 (Bender 2, Lewis, Swidecki). Field goals: Garfield 34-60 (57 percent), Elyria 21-61 (34 percent). Free throws: Garfield 12-19 (63 percent), Elyria 21-25 (84 percent). Rebounds: Garfield 43 (McQueen 11), Elyria 34 (Farris 8). Turnovers: Garfield 15, Elyria 14. Fouls: Garfield 20, Elyria 16. Intentional Foul: Farris. Fouled Out: None. Junior Varsity: Garfield, 52-46.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at (440) 329-7136 or at email@example.com.