ELYRIA — Elyria Catholic coach Eric Rothgery had a specific goal in mind when his team lost sophomore starter Josie Carandang to a back injury early this season. Monday night, with a 48-42 win over Keystone in non-conference action, Rothgery’s Panthers met his goal.
“We knew Josie was going to be out until Jan. 8, and I told the girls if we could get to Jan. 8 9-2, I’d be pumped up,” Rothgery said. “We’re 9-2, so I feel good about it.”
Facing one of the top scorers in the county, Keystone freshman point guard McKenah Peters, the Panthers utilized many different defensive looks and pressure to hold the young guard in check. Peters, who came into the game averaging 16.4 points, was held to nine.
Elyria Catholic sophomore guard Riley Schill had the task of guarding Peters when the Panthers weren’t in a zone.
“Before the game the coaches told me I was going to be on (Peters), and when they told me that I stepped up to the plate,” Schill said. “I try to give my all on defense because defense wins games.”
Rothgery was pleased with Schill’s effort on the defensive end.
“We thought she could handle her,” Rothgery said. “Peters is a nice player and a good scorer. She got open a few times and she’ll make you pay. She’s going to be a great player over the next couple of years in Lorain County. I thought Riley did a good job on her.”
Keystone coach Scott Terry said Peters will have to get used to being the center of the opponent’s defensive attention.
“She’s one of the leading scorers in the county and is going to get a lot of attention,” he said. “She just has to learn how to function under that attention, get her teammates involved more. If we get other players stepping up and scoring, it will alleviate some of the pressure on her.”
Elyria Catholic led by six points, 30-24, at halftime before opening the third quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 36-24 lead. The Wildcats struggled offensively in the third, shooting just 1-for-11 from the floor and scoring five points to allow the Panthers to take control.
“We can have those spurts and that definitely hurt,” Terry said of his team’s third-quarter struggles. “We were down six at halftime and it seemed like they got to that 11 to 12-point margin and we couldn’t make any dents until the end of the basketball game. We let them get the lead, but we kept it there. We were getting stops, but we just couldn’t get any scores.”
Elyria Catholic built its lead to as many as 13 points, 47-34, at the 2:15 mark of the fourth quarter before the Wildcats closed the game on an 8-1 run.
“It seemed like we couldn’t shake them,” Rothgery said. “They’re a good, young team with an excellent coach. I told the girls, before the game and at halftime, that Keystone was not going to quit.”
Schill and freshman Jesse Lee paced the Panthers with 13 points each, while Darcy Irish led Keystone with 10.
“It’s a learning process and I honestly think our kids fought hard tonight,” Terry said. “They didn’t give up and played to the buzzer. I think it was a good learning game for us. I put Elyria Catholic right up there as one of the top teams in the county and we competed with them.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Elyria Catholic 48, Keystone 42
KEYSTONE (42): Madi Bonner 2-0-4, Morgan Myers 2-0-5, Darcy Irish 4-2-10, Jillian Peters 0-2-2, McKenah Peters 4-0-9, Roni Benko 1-0-3, Sammie Stefan 3-3-9, Jena Copley 0-0-0, Reagan Ford 0-0-0. Totals 16-7-42.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (48): Julia Scarpelli 2-0-4, Riley Schill 6-1-13, Nora Hopkins 2-0-5, Becky Horvath 4-2-10, Jessie Lee 5-3-13, Natalie Tremont 0-0-0, Meredith Ternes 0-0-0, Cara Provenzale 1-0-2, Margot Novak 0-1-1. Totals 20-7-49.
Keystone 10 14 5 13 — 42
Elyria Catholic 16 14 11 7 — 49
Three-point goals: Keystone 3-9 (Myers, M. Peters, Benko); Elyria Catholic 1-5 (Hopkins). Field goals: Keystone 16-53 (30.1 percent); Elyria Catholic 20-51 (39.2 percent). Free throws: Keystone 7-10 (70 percent); Elyria Catholic 7-14 (50 percent). Rebounds: Keystone 32 (Irish 8), Elyria Catholic 39 (Hopkins 10). Turnovers: Keystone 13, Elyria Catholic 18. Total fouls: Keystone 9, Elyria Catholic 9. Fouled out: None.