EATON TWP. — Brett Larrick wasn’t real confident as his Elyria Pioneers opened the season at Midview on Friday night.
“We haven’t been extremely happy with our practices and some of our scrimmages,” Larrick said. “We haven’t played that hard the whole time.”
Friday was different.
Perhaps it was playing on the same floor they won the district title on a year ago. Or maybe it was just playing for neighborhood pride. Whatever it was, Larrick approved as his Pioneers were impressive in a 79-54 win.
Senior Kody Bender picked up two quick fouls and Elyria fell behind 12-7 at the outset, but once the defense set the tone, it was all over. Midview committed 33 turnovers against Elyria’s quick, pressing, ball-hounding defense.
“I had to go out pretty early,” Bender, who scored 21 points, said of his two quick fouls that had him on the bench for better than half the first quarter. “The team picked it up and put the pressure on.”
Elyria finished the first quarter on a 7-0 run and outscored Midview 14-6 to start the second to grab a 10-point lead. The Pioneers led, 36-26 at the half and padded the lead to 63-42 after three.
“We were nervous and had some jitters,” said junior Isaiah Walton, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. “We started locking down and really playing hard. It started feeling a lot like last year.”
“We played hard but we didn’t take care of the basketball,” Midview coach Troy DiFranco said. “You can try to simulate that all you want in practice — we were playing against seven and eight guys — but we were up around 30 turnovers. You’re not going to win basketball games, especially against teams like that.”
Wes Davic stood out for the Middies with 20 points and a dozen rebounds. His effort kept the Middies in the game through halftime, but Elyria had runs of eight and 11 points during the third quarter to put the game on ice.
Junior Ronnie Smith led the way with eight of his 12 points in the quarter, while senior Dontae Dukes finished with nine points and junior A.J. Johnson had seven points and six rebounds.
“We thought we’d be ready to play,” Larrick said. “We were a little concerned this week. We were a little up and down — battling a few things — but we got better (Friday).”
Elyria’s depth made a difference, too. The Pioneers went nine deep when the game was still close and Bender was on the bench. The difference seemed to wear down the young Middies, who lost a ton of seniors off last year’s 19-4 squad.
“I thought our conditioning was great,” Larrick said. “We’re not very big so we wanted to keep the pressure up and keep running. By the third quarter, we asked our guys, ‘Who’s in better shape?’ I thought we were. That’s why we run so much in practice.”
Midview’s Devin Drombrowski finished with 11 points and the Middies shot nearly 50 percent from the field.
“Give Midview credit,” Larrick said. “Wes had a great game and their point guard (Dombrowski). We really wanted to take those guys away. What a great high school atmosphere. Our fans were super and obviously that was huge for us because of Midview. You know they bring a big crowd.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 79, Midview 54
ELYRIA (79): Kody Bender 5-9-21, Dontae Dukes 3-3-9, Isaiah Walton 7-1-17, Ronnie Smith 6-0-12, A.J.Johnson 3-1-7, Da’Jaun Glover 0-0-0, Tavon Kurtz 1-0-2, Damon Stewart 2-1-5, Jared Schultz 1-0-2, Anthony Duckett 0-0-0, Rodger Jamison 0-0-0, Trenell Oliver 2-0-4, Hunter Parsh 0-0-0. Totals 30-15-79.
MIDVIEW (54): Wes Davic 8-4-20, Devin Drombrowski 4-1-11, Steven Gott 2-0-4, Dylan Eason 1-0-3, Grant Overy 2-0-5, Matt Randolph 1-0-2, Tyler Pasenow 0-0-0, Jake Duffner 2-0-4, Dante Redwood 0-0-0, Jacob Wells 0-0-0, Daniel DiVencenzo 0-1-1, Mac McCray 1-1-3, Kyle Warner 0-1-1. Totals 21-8-54.
Elyria 14 22 27 16 — 79
Midview 12 14 16 12 — 54
Three-point goals: Elyria 4-12 (Bender 2, Walton 2). Midview 4-16 (Dombrowski 2, Eason, Overy). Field Goals: Elyria 30-68 (44 percent), Midview 21-43 (49 percent). Free Throws: Elyria 15-22 (68 percent), Midview 8-17 (47 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 34 (Walton 9), Midview 37 (Davic 12). Turnovers: Elyria 10, Midview 33. Total Fouls: Elyria 16, Midview 16. Fouled Out: Pasenow.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 60-47