November 28, 2014

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Boys basketball: Gavin Skelly leads Westlake past Lorain

Westlake's Gavin Skelly knocks the ball out of Gerald Howard's hands as he shoots. LINDA MURPHY/CHRONICLE

Westlake’s Gavin Skelly knocks the ball out of Gerald Howard’s hands as he shoots. LINDA MURPHY/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — The Lorain Titans didn’t have an answer for Westlake’s Gavin Skelly on Tuesday night.

Skelly, a Northwestern commit, scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half and the Demons came away with a 63-51 win in non-conference action.

Skelly scored 12 points during a 16-2 run to start the third quarter, which included three straight impressive baskets — the first was a putback dunk, then a dazzling finger roll before bringing the crowd to a frenzy with a two-handed dunk.

“When I dunk it, I get pumped up when I hear the crowd,” said Skelly, who also grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked seven shots. “I have a lot of positive energy. That gets the whole team excited. That gives us another intensity level and I think that’s what it takes to get to the next level and be a great team.”

Skelly had plenty of help in the first half from Conner Meek, who scored 17, and Joe Hadib, who added 13 points and nine rebounds. Meek provided a spark in the first quarter with seven, while Hadib had eight in the second.

Demon Hisle (3-pointer), Xavier Harrison and Rashod Berry provided the Titans’ only points as Lorain shot 3-for-11 from the field in the first quarter. They followed with an improved second quarter, going 4-for-12 with 15 points. Eddie Williamson led the Titans into the locker room at halftime by knocking down a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Westlake led 27-19 at the break.

“Scoring provides energy and for the first three quarters, we just couldn’t score,” Lorain coach John Rositano said. “They pretty much played a sagging man-to-man and let us shoot the ball. We didn’t shoot the ball well. We didn’t execute defensively.”

The third quarter belonged to the Demons, who shot 8-for-15 from the field, while the Titans shot a dismal 3-of-16.

“When we did attack the basket, Skelly caused us problems,” Rositano said. “He’s a good player. He makes everybody on that team better just with his presence. He took the game over in the third quarter.”

Lorain (2-3) didn’t go down easy. The Titans, who were down by as much as 22, came back with a valiant effort in the fourth quarter.

Down 51-29, the Titans went on a run fueled by sophomore Daviere Andrews, who scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the quarter.

He showed signs of a bright future with a variety of moves to the basket. He started with a 3-point play, a pair of putbacks and a spinning layup at the 1:32 cut the deficit to 13. Rashod Berry’s putback at the 1:10 mark cut the deficit to 11, but that was the closest the Titans got.

“There’s no quit in these guys,” Rositano said. “It’s a learning process. We’re young. We’re trying to get them to play the right way. It’s going to take a little time, but they’ll get it. By the end of the year, we’re going to be unbelievably dangerous.”

When the Titans closed the gap to 14 in the fourth, Westlake coach Shawn Hood inserted Skelly back in the game. He responded with six quick points.

“Coach pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey you’re a Division I player, you’re a Big Ten athlete, this is your team. Take it over,’” Skelly said. “I took that to heart. I took it and we did what we had to do.”

Despite the double-digit win, Hood remains skeptical about just how good his team is.

“I came into the season not really knowing who we were,” said Hood, whose team improved to 6-0. “The thing I know for sure is that we’re competitive and we could play with most teams. I want to know if we’re a championship team and I’m not there yet.”

Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Westlake 63, Lorain 51

WESTLAKE (63): Joe Hadib 5-2-13, Makis Beach 1-3-5, Conner Meek 6-4-17, Gavin Skelly 9-4-22, Cameron Brown 0-0-0, Danny Slavik 0-0-0, Anthony Trujillo 0-3-3, Andris Balodis 1-0-3, Josh Gibson 0-0-0. Totals 22-16-63.

LORAIN (51): Eddie Williamson 2-0-6, Demon Hisle 3-0-9, Gerald Howard 1-2-4, Xavier Harrison 2-0-4, Nazihar Bohannon 1-0-2, Daviere Andrews 6-1-14, Kevin Davis 0-1-1, Jaheel Moon 0-0-0, Jamar Ross 1-0-3, Rashod Berry 4-0-8. Totals 20-4-51.

Westlake 12 15 19 17 — 63

Lorain 7 12 8 24 — 51

Three-point goals: Westlake (Hadib, Balodis, Meek); Lorain (Hisle 3, Williamson 2, Andrews, Ross). Field goals: Westlake 22-48 (46 percent); Lorain 20-63 (32 percent); Free throws: Westlake 16-27 (59 percent); Lorain 4-6 (67 percent); Rebounds: Westlake 40; Lorain 35; Turnovers: Westlake 15, Lorain 16.

Junior varsity: Lorain, 66-40