The Pioneers were simply too strong, too talented and too deep for Normandy as they rolled to a 59-39 victory to finish second in Northeast Ohio Conference Lake Division play at 8-2, two games behind North Royalton.
Elyria will take a 17-5 overall record into next week’s Division I sectional tournament at Midview. The Pioneers open March 2 at 6 p.m. against the winner of Tuesday’s Strongsville-North Ridgeville game.
Friday gave Elyria coach Brett Larrick a chance to tune up his offense and defense in preparation for making a run at a second straight Sweet 16 appearance.
“I thought our guys did a great job,” Larrick said. “We did a lot of things right that we wanted to. We ran a few new sets — made some extra passes. Some of the stuff wasn’t new but we just made the right reads.
“I thought our defense the first and third quarters — actually the whole game — was pretty good.”
Elyria, as it has done the past few outings, jumped in front early, taking a 9-2 lead and never really getting threatened the rest of the way.
It was 30-12 late in the first half before the Invaders went on a 7-3 run. The largest lead was 54-30, following junior Jarred Schultz’s 3-pointer with 2:48 to play.
Schultz, who has shown glimpses of pretty good play at times this year, was Elyria’s leading scorer with 16 points — a career high — topping his 14-point effort against Normandy earlier in the year.
“It’s about time I did some scoring,” Schultz said with a smile. “I just go in there and give us a little bit of energy. They always ask me to rebound because I’m long.”
Schultz is listed at 6-foot-4 but plays much bigger with his long arms. He picked off a half dozen rebounds Friday to tie seniors Kody Bender and Dontae Dukes for high in that department.
Bender, usually Elyria’s high scorer, settled for 12 points. Junior Isaiah Walton added 10 and Dukes eight.
“We had a lot of guys come in and play well,” Larrick said. “(Anthony) Duckett hit a three to start the game and Jarred hit a couple big threes and led us in scoring. The first time other than (Bender or Walton). That’s good to see. We played nine, 10, 11 guys and that’s good coming into our tournament run.
“We’ll have our guys over there (at Midview) Tuesday to watch those guys (Strongsville and North Ridgeville) play. It’s the time of year it’s win or go home. We just talked to our guys — we have to focus now — there’s no letdown. Midview’s such a wide-open tournament.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7136 or email@example.com.
Elyria 59, Normandy 39
ELYRIA (59): Kody Bender 4-2-12, Dontae Dukes 3-2-8, Isaiah Walton 4-1-10, Anthony Duckett 1-1-4, A.J. Johnson 0-0-0, Du’Jaun Glover 0-0-0, Jarred Schultz 7-0-16, Ronnie Smith 2-0-5, Damon Stewart 0-0-0, Rodger Jamison 2-0-4, Trenell Oliver 0-0-0. Totals 23-6-59.
NORMANDY (39): Zach Tanchak 1-2-4, Terrance Hogan 1-1-3, Petey Zaremba 2-0-4, Troy Massa 2-0-5, Jaret Colovas 7-2-16, Kenny Kitko 0-0-0, Donny Campbell 1-0-2, Jacob Taubeneck 0-0-0, John Suchy 0-0-0, Donny Eberling 2-0-5, Stephen Smole 0-0-0, Tom Potoma 0-0-0. Totals 16-5-39.
Elyria 14 19 12 14 — 59
Normandy 6 13 7 13 — 39
Three-point goals: Elyria 7-20 (Bender 2, Schultz 2, Walton, Duckett, Smith), Normandy 2-8 (Massa, Eberling); Field goals: Elyria 23-58 (40 percent), Normandy 16-46 (35 percent); Free throws: Elyria 6-10 (60 percent), Normandy 5-6 (83 percent); Rebounds: Elyria 37 (Bender, Dukes, Schultz 6), Normandy 34 (Colovas 13); Turnovers: Elyria 15, Nomandy 23; Fouls: Elyria 8, Normandy 14.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 57-29