The Pioneers harassed the Wildcats in transition, forcing 12 turnovers in the first half and 23 total Thursday in a 91-52 Northeast Ohio Conference Lake Division win.
The Wildcats hung with the Pioneers (3-0, 1-0 NOC) for awhile, taking a 20-18 lead after the first quarter. But that’s when Elyria switched things up and got more aggressive in transition, forcing seven second-quarter turnovers.
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“We pressured them and forced them to play our speed of the game,” Elyria senior Dontae Dukes said. “We forced them out of their game and got them to turn the ball over.”
Mayfield drained a three to open the second, taking its largest lead of the night at 23-18. Kody Bender promptly erased it, scoring the next seven points and giving Elyria a lead it wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way. Bender had 14 in the second quarter alone, capped by a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Isaiah Walton combined with Bender to score 20 of the Pioneer’s 29 points to Mayfield’s 10 in the quarter.
“We came out a little sluggish and slow at the beginning,” said Bender, who finished with 28 points. “There wasn’t a big crowd at all and we came out a little slow last time there was a small crowd. I just wanted to pick my team up before the half.”
Walton came out in the third and scored the first seven points, pushing Elryia’s lead to 28 and putting the game well out of hand. He finished with 25 points.
“I always tell the guys the first three minutes are the most important coming out of halftime and we didn’t play well during those first three minutes,” Mayfield coach Kevin Niemczura said.
Elyria didn’t let up, forcing another seven turnovers in the third quarter with Walton scoring 11 points. The Pioneers mounted a 24-4 run midway through to put the game out of reach.
“Out of half we wanted to play like we did in the second quarter,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “Our offense comes from our defense. We had a couple of traps and rotations that led to some steals.”
Jarred Schultz and Anthony Duckett tied Bender for the team high in rebounds with four. Schultz added eight points and hit all four of his free throws to help preserve the game in the fourth.
Elyria 91, Mayfield 52
ELYRIA (91): Isaiah Walton 10-5-25, Dontae Dukes 1-3-5, Damon Stewart 0-0-0, Kody Bender 10-6-28, Da’Jaun Glover 1-1-3, Anthony Duckett 1-0-2, A.J. Johnson 1-1-3, Jarred Schultz 2-4-8, Tavon Kurtz 0-2-2, Hunter Parsh 1-2-5, Trenell Oliver 3-1-7, Rodger Jamison 0-1-1, Anthony Duckett 1-0-2. Totals 31-26-91.
MAYFIELD (52): Ricky Tagg 1-0-2, Matt Watkins 3-0-6, Brook Krajcirik 3-2-10, Alex LoPiccolo 3-0-6, Ryan Bruno 4-0-9, Kris Martin 0-1-1, Matt Flowers 4-2-10, Patrick Tighe 1-0-2, Mike Galloway 3-0-6, Joey Casey 0-0-0, Thomas Strasshofer 0-0-0. Totals 22-5-52.
Elyria 18 29 29 15 — 91
Mayfield 20 10 15 7 — 52
Three-point goals: Elyria 3-14 (21.4 percent, Bender 2, Parsh), Mayfield 3-15 (20 percent, Krajcirik 2, Bruno); Field goals: Elyria 31-62 (50 percent), Mayfield 22-45 (48.9 percent); Free throws: Elyria 26-33 (78.7 percent), Mayfield 5-10 (50 percent); Rebounds: Elyria 32 (Bender 4, Duckett 4, Schultz 4), Mayfield 18 (Krajcirik 4); Total fouls: Elyria 8, Mayfield 18; Turnovers: Elyria 11, Mayfield 23.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 61-17.
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or email@example.com.