LAGRANGE — At first glance it appears Elyria and Keystone staged a defensive battle Saturday night during their non-conference game, but a closer inspection shows that a pair of poor offensive performances may have really been the cause of the low-scoring game.
The Pioneers shot just 35 percent from the field and still managed to double up the Wildcats, 50-25, to win their 10th game — Elyria’s third win this week — in 12 outings.
Keystone (4-8) made just nine out of 36 field-goal attempts (25 percent) and five out of eight free throws.
“Good week,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “Anytime you go 3-0 in a week, it’s good. We got on a little roll, but obviously we have some things we need to work on.
“(The) second game of a back-to-back is always tough with how we play — up-and-down — full court. (There was a) little bit of fatigue setting in with our legs. Twelve-of-22 from the free throw line is a little uncharacteristic.”
Not many gave Keystone a shot to win, but the Wildcats played hard and stayed within striking distance through the first half. Elyria had an early 8-1 lead and wasn’t really threatened during the game, but it took a nine-point run in the third quarter to pretty much seal the game at 33-16 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
Elyria outscored Keystone 26-11 in the second half.
“Our effort in the third quarter was unbelievable,” Larrick said. “I thought we got a little more organized the second half — especially attacking their zone. That’s a little different look than we’ve seen. (In the) fourth quarter we got some layups finally. (With) our defense and how hard we played the second half — as soon as we get some fresh legs again and the shots start falling — we’ll be fine.”
“Coach warned us this morning they’d probably play zone against us,” said senior Kody Bender, Elyria’s leading scorer with 14 points. “The first half we did a little too much settling (for jump shots) outside. (In the) second half we did a lot more passing inside. (We) got better shots.”
Bender and his sidekick Isaiah Walton (11 points, seven rebounds) totaled half of Elyria’s points, but Tavon Kurtz (eight points, five rebounds) and Jarred Schultz (two points, three rebounds) gave the Pioneers good minutes off the bench. Dontae Dukes grabbed six rebounds.
For Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer, it didn’t take too much to analyze the reasons Keystone lost.
“We just got to make shots,” Holzhauer said. “We played hard and we feel good, we had a game plan coming in and I thought it was effective. We got some stops there in the third quarter and I thought we were doing some great things, but we just wasted our possessions.”
Chase Robinson and Brandon Kuhl led Keystone with seven points each. Robinson cleared seven rebounds, Kuhl five.
C.J. Conrad led the Wildcats with eight rebounds.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or at email@example.com.
Elyria 50, Keystone 25
ELYRIA (50): Kody Bender 5-1-14, Dontae Dukes 1-0-2, Isaiah Walton 3-5-11, Ronnie Smith 1-1-3, A.J. Johnson 1-0-2, Jarred Schultz 1-0-2, Damon Stewart 0-0-0, Du’Jaun Glover 0-0-0, Tavon Kurtz 3-2-8, Anthony Duckett 0-0-0, Hunter Parsh 2-0-5, Rodger Jamison 0-0-0, K.J. Miller 0-1-1. Totals 17-12-50.
KEYSTONE (25): C.J. Conrad 0-1-1, Collin Fitzgerald 1-0-2, Chase Robinson 3-1-7, Brandon Kuhl 3-1-7, Adam Hopkins 1-0-2, Matt Bastock 0-0-0, Austin Conrad 1-2-4, K.J. Williams 1-0-2, Jacob Miller 0-0-0, Jake Bowers 0-0-0. Totals 9-5-25.
Elyria 13 11 9 17 — 50
Keystone 7 7 4 7 — 25
Three-point goals: Elyria 4-18 (Bender 3, Parsh), Keystone 0-5. Field goals: Elyria 17-48 (35 percent), Keystone 9-36 (25 percent). Free throws: Elyria 12-22 (54.5 percent), Keystone 5-10 (50 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 33 (Walton 7), Keystone 30 (C.J. Conrad 8). Turnovers: Elyria 10, Keystone 25. Total fouls: Elyria 14, Keystone 20. Fouled out: None.