ELYRIA — The best laid coaching plans are often validated or undone by a single word — confidence.
On Tuesday, despite having sophomore point guard Anthony Duckett thrust into the starting lineup, Elyria had the confidence to go on a 15-4 run to start the fourth quarter to secure a 59-47 non-league win over Vermilion.
The Pioneers (12-4) got a game-high 20 points from Kody Bender and 15 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter, from Isaiah Walton.
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For the Sailors (8-8), meanwhile, it was another fourth-quarter disappointment.
“That’s been the story of our season,” Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl said.
“It’s a matter of finding a way to get things done in the fourth quarter, and it comes down to we just doubt ourselves too much.
“We get into a situation where we have to make plays and we don’t have the self-confidence to get it done.”
Elyria coach Brett Larrick has come to expect big games from Bender and Walton, but he was especially pleased with the performance of Duckett, who scored six points, and sophomore Hunter Parsh, who scored seven. Parsh also hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to help the Pioneers go on an 11-0 run.
“It was really important to see some of those bench guys come in and play with confidence because if they keep playing that way we’re going to keep going to them,” Larrick said.
The Sailors outscored Elyria 18-11 in the third quarter and took a brief 39-38 lead with 1:59 to play in the period on an Anthony Rini basket. A minute later, Bender answered back with a layup to put the Pioneers back on top.
Elyria did most of its fourth-quarter damage from the foul line, where it went 9-for-15, to extend its lead to as much as 14.
“Free throws are a big part of the game,” Walton said. “Every day at the end of practice coach makes us make 10 free throws before we can leave. I guess that paid off tonight.”
The teams also used the game as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program. According to Larrick, between a 50-50 raffle and other fundraising activities, more than $1,500 was collected.
“Events like this let our guys see that there’s more out there than school work, the locker room and the gym,” Larrick said. “It’s a great cause and builds awareness about an issue we’ll all be faced with during our lives.”
Elyria 59, Vermilion 47
VERMILION(47): Anthony Rini 2-4-8, Forrest Boyd 4-0-9, Kyle Nader 4-3-12, Cameron Kuhn 8-1-18. Totals 18-8-47.
ELYRIA (59): Kody Bender 5-9-20, Hunter Parsh 2-1-7, Dontae Dukes 2-2-6, Isaiah Walton 6-2-15, Anthony Duckett 2-2-6, Jarredd Schultz 0-1-1, A.J. Johnson 2-0-4. Totals 19-17-59.
Vermilion 13 8 13 13 — 47
Elyria 14 16 11 18 — 59
Three-point goals: Vermilion (Boyd, Nader, Kuhn), Elyria (Parsh 2, Bender, Walton); Field goals: Vermilion 18-54 (33 percent), Elyria 19-44 (43 percent); Free throws: Vermilion 8-15 ( 53 percent), Elyria 17-25 (68 percent); Rebounds: Elyria 36, Vermilion 30; Turnovers: Elyria 12, Vermilion 10; Total fouls: Vermilion 21, Elyria 15. Junior varsity: Elyria, 50-46.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.