WESTLAKE — Statistics can be deceiving.
Take Saturday’s non-conference boys basketball game between Elyria and Westlake. The Demons won 70-62 in their first game at their new gym.
The Pioneers had the upper hand in field-goal percentage (50-44) and 3-pointers made (8-5) yet it may have been that latter stat that led to Elyria’s undoing.
The Pioneers’ first 18 points all came from long range as they grabbed an 18-12 lead six minutes into the first quarter. Trenell Oliver’s free throw made it 19-12 with 1:03 left in the quarter and three more free throws by Isaiah Walton made it 22-14 before Westlake Andris Balodis closed out the quarter scoring a close-range basket.
“For us to withstand their 3-point shooting, their dribble-penetration, their quickness, their depth is pretty good,” Westlake coach Shawn Hood said after the Demons improved to 3-0. “I thought in the second half, we guarded them as well as we could have.”
Elyria (2-1) didn’t seem likely to sustain its outside presence and with Westlake’s 6-foot-9 Northwestern-bound senior Gavin Skelly patrolling the paint, the Demons opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run to take their first lead.
Skelly finished with just 13 points but he pulled in a dozen rebounds and blocked a handful of shots and altered many more.
The Pioneers made only two 3-pointers after that first quarter.
“Give Westlake credit,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “That’s a good basketball team. We did some good things to start the first quarter but we sort of lost our tempo.
“Skelly blocked a few shots and Shaun did a nice job being aggressive. Both things we talked about. We have to be more disciplined and consistent in what we do.”
Skelly and Joe Hadib-Nissan (23 points, seven rebounds) picked up three fouls each in the first half but Elyria couldn’t take advantage. Hadib-Nissan left the first half with 5:16 to play and the game tied. Skelly left with 2:58 remaining with Elyria on top by 30-28.
The half ended tied at 34.
“We tried to attack them,” Larrick said. “We didn’t attack them enough. We have to be a little bit smarter and a little bit stronger.”
“Gavin Skelly is a great player,” Hood said. “For us to win games, he has to play well in a lot of different statistical areas but we don’t wait for him. Our kids believe they can play. Guys who have shots, take shots. Guys who have opportunities to make plays, make plays.”
Westlake won the rebound battle (38-33) and the turnover margin (12-14). The Demons got to the line 25 times to Elyria’s 19.
“We fouled too much the first half,” Larrick said. “Free throws, rebounds usually win games.”
Westlake built 48-38 lead with 3:09 to play in the third quarter but Elyria went on a 9-0 run to close within one entering the final eight minutes. Ahead 63-59 with 3:37 still remaining, the Demons outscored Elyria 7-3 down the stretch to pull away.
Walton finished with 20 points and Jarred Schultz had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Oliver had career highs in points (11) and rebounds (seven).
Westlake 70, Elyria 62
ELYRIA (62): Hunter Parsh 1-0-3, Isaiah Walton 6-5-20, Anthony Duckett 0-0-0, Jarred Schultz 6-1-16, AJ Johnson 0-0-0, Ronnie Smith 3-5-12, Marquise Dalton 0-0-0, Trenell Oliver 4-2-11. Totals 20-14-62.
WESTLAKE (70): Joe Hadib-Nissan 8-5-23, Makis Beach 3-2-9, Conner Meek 2-3-7, Gavin Skelly 5-3-13, Cameron Brown 0-0-0, Anthony Trujillo 3-4-10, Josh Gibson 0-0-0, Danny Slavik 0-0-0, Andris Balodis 3-2-8. Totals 24-17-70.
Elyria 22 12 13 15 — 62
Westlake 16 18 14 22 — 70
Three-point goals: Elyria 8-17 (Walton 3, Schultz 3, Parsh, Smith), Westlake 5-18 (Hadib-Nissan 2, Balodis 2, Beach). Field goals: Elyria 28-56 (50 percent), Westlake 24-55 (44 percent). Free throws: Elyria 14-19 (74 percent), Westlake 17-25 (68 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 33 (Schultz 10), Westlake 38 (Skelly 12). Turnovers: Elyria 14, Westlake 12. Total fouls: Elyria 20, Westlake 17. Fouled out: Hadib-Nissan. Intentional foul: Brown.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 60-32.