ELYRIA — Twenty points to nothing for its opponent.
That’s how Elyria Catholic began Saturday night in its home opener against Fairview on the way to an easy 68-42 non-conference victory. It evened the weekend for the Panthers at 1-1, having lost at Lakewood on Friday. Fairview was playing its first game.
“We have not started well in our scrimmages,” said second-year EC coach Phil Kuchta. “I’ll say this. That lead was important for us. (Friday) night we spent so much energy in the Lakewood game. I thought we had a tough back-to-back for the first weekend.”
EC won the first quarter at Lakewood,
24-20, but nothing like the way it started on Saturday. The Panthers were red hot, hitting 10-of-16 from the field, including four of five 3-point shots, and all three free throws. The defense forced the Warriors into six turnovers and 0-of-8 shooting from the floor in opening up a 20-0 lead off senior Andrew Konno’s third baseline 3-pointer of the run. EC basically had the game won after just one quarter with a 27-6 lead.
“I really felt the energy from the crowd,” said Konno, who led the Panthers with 17 points Saturday after scoring just three the night before. “We got off to a good start and my shot just kept falling, so I kept shooting.”
Konno was four of five with 11 points in the first quarter. He finished hitting all but one of his six three-point attempts – hitting six of eight from the field overall.
“Our kids did a great job getting him the ball,” Kuchta said. “That’s the other thing I like about our team. They’re playing so unselfish.”
“Our point guard Cory (Strasko) pushes it up court and it gets me open,” Konno said. “If I have an open shot, I’ll make it. I practice threes in the corner a lot.”
“I give Phil Kuchta and their kids a lot of credit,” said Fairview coach Pete Maienknecht. “They played a tough, hard-nosed game against Lakewood, and I’ll tell you what, they came out and showed no signs of fatigue. That says a lot about the toughness of those Elyria Catholic kids to come back after a tough loss.”
“I was worried about how our kids would respond,” Kuchta said. “For us to come out that way was very important. I knew we couldn’t keep that up and we’d run out of gas. That was a good start.”
Fairview did play better as the game moved along and did slice the deficit to just 14 off a pair of 3-pointers by junior John Miles, who led all scorers with 19. EC’s Xavier Bennett, however, gave the Panthers a momentum boost at the end of the third quarter with a basket to push the margin back to 53-37 entering the final quarter. EC outscored Fairview 15-5 over the final eight minutes to pad the final margin.
Six-foot-5 sophomore Jeremy Holley had 10 points and nine rebounds for EC. Junior John Sturza came off the bench to add 10 points to the Panther cause.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at (440) 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 68, Fairview 42
FAIRVIEW (42): Cole Ziegler 0-1-1, Rory Juhn 2-0-4, John Miles 7-1-19, Anthony Santos 2-0-4, Edward Martin 0-0-0, Eric Lebon 0-0-0, Chris Markatakis 0-2-2, John Doherty 5-1-12, Jason Kish 0-0-0, Zachary Jones 0-0-0, Daniel Lyman 0-0-0. Totals 16-5-42.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (68): Cory Strasko 0-1-1, Andrew Konno 6-0-17, Jeremy Holley 2-6-10, Daniel Whitacre 2-1-6, Tyler Riddell 2-1-5, Joe Dempsey 2-0-4, Xavier Bennett 3-0-7, John Sturza 3-4-10, Jacob Moore 3-0-6, Ceevan Shelton 1-0-2. Totals 24-13-68.
Fairview 6 17 14 5 — 42
Elyria Catholic 27 14 12 15 — 68
Three-point goals: Fairview 5-25 (Miles 4, Doherty), Elyria Catholic 7-13 (Konno 5, Whitacre, Bennett). Field goals: Fairview 16-56 (29 percent), Elyria Catholic 24-43 (56 percent). Free throws: Fairview 5-12 (42 percent), Elyria Catholic 13-23 (56.5 percent). Rebounds: Fairview 34 (Ziebler 9), Elyria Catholic 39 (Holley 9). Turnovers: Fairview 16, Elyria Catholic 13. Fouls: Fairview 18, Elyria Catholic 15. Fouled Out: Juhn. Technical Foul: Juhn.
Junior varsity: Elyria Catholic, 55-28.