ELYRIA — Despite facing a taller lineup, including a human vacuum cleaner, Elyria Catholic rallied past Midview 61-54 on the strength of a big fourth quarter in a West Shore Conference game at the Coliseum.
The Middies, starting three players over 6-foot-5 to just one for the Panthers, dominated the boards 54-39. Wes Davic, a 6-5 senior, had 26 of those — 13 in the third quarter — as Midview outrebounded Elyria Catholic 20-9 in the period.
So how did the Panthers (8-7, 5-4 WSC) manage to win their fifth straight game?
Well, EC shot 44 percent from the field to only 26 percent for the Middies (7-8, 4-5), making a clutch seven of nine attempts in the deciding fourth quarter.
John Stursa, a 6-1 senior, led Elyria Catholic with 17 points while 6-0 senior Xavier Bennett pulled down 10 rebounds, six in the second quarter as the Panthers avenged an early season 73-62 loss at Midview.
The Middies outscored Elyria Catholic 21-12 in the third quarter to take a 43-41 lead into the fourth.
But then the clutch play began for the Panthers as Stursa scored three early baskets, including a spectacular turnaround layup, to put EC up to stay, 51-48, with 5:51 remaining.
Midview had four turnovers in its last five possessions to seal the deal.
“It feels good to get a win against a team that beat us earlier,” Stursa said. “From the moment I laced my shoes in the locker room I felt good about this game. We really did a great job of being unselfish, passing the ball.”
“We really wanted revenge for that earlier loss to them,” Bennett said. “Defense was our main goal tonight and it came through for us. This win was great.”
Elyria Catholic coach Jason Smith loved what he saw from his team.
‘This feels great,” he said. “We really needed this. I was worried before the game because of the emotions coming off our great win Saturday night (against Elyria). Bennett is a real asset off the bench for our team.
“To come out as hot as we were is very reassuring to see for a coach. We’re peaking at the right time of the season and I think these recent tight games down to the wire are helping us get ready for tough games ahead.”
Midview coach Troy DiFranco summed up the game simply.
“They (EC) made more plays than we did down the stretch,” he said. “We played hard and battled but just made a few mental errors at the end.”
While Davic was sensational off the boards for the Middies, Dylan Eason, a 6-2 junior, was a big spark offensively. In the third quarter, Eason connected on three of his six 3-pointers. He and Davic shared scoring honors with 21, but nobody else scored more than six for Midview.
“He really caught fire tonight,” DiFranco said of Eason.
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 61, Midview 54
MIDVIEW (54): Wes Davic 7-7-21, Dylan Eason 7-1-21, Grant Overy 1-3-6, Jack Duffner 2-0-4, Devin Dombroski 0-2-2, Matt Randolph 0-0-0, Steven Gott 0-0-0, Tyler Pasenow 0-0-0. Totals 17-13-54.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (61): John Stursa 7-2-17, Conner Riddell 4-2-10, Xavier Bennett 3-1-7, Cory Strasko 1-4-6, Daniel Whitacre 2-2-6, Tyler Riddell 2-2-6, Ceeven Shelton 3-0-6, D.J. Graham 1-1-3. Totals 23-14-61.
Midview 10 12 21 11 — 54
Elyria Catholic 17 11 12 21 — 61
Three-point goals: Midview 7-16 (Eason 6, Overy), EC 1-8 (Stursa); Field goals: Midview 17-64 (26 percent), EC 23-52 (44 percent); Free throws: Midview 13-21 (61 percent), EC 14-23 (60 percent); Rebounds: Midview 54 (Davic 26), EC 39 (Bennett 10); Turnovers: Midview 13, EC 10; Total fouls: Midview 23, EC 17. Fouled out: Eason.
Junior varsity: Midview, 45-42 (OT)