LORAIN — When Amherst took care of the ball, its offense was effective. It took the Comets until the second half to decide to take care of the ball.
After turning over the ball 14 times in the first half Wednesday, Amherst gave it up only six times in the second in its 39-34 non-conference victory over Lorain.
Brooke Wallace dominated the paint while the Comets’ guards created mayhem for the Titans. Wallace had game highs in scoring and rebounding, tallying 13 points while pulling down 20 rebounds. She also blocked five shots and recorded five steals as Amherst improved to 6-7.
“She worked hard,” coach Kevin Collins said. “We played a game Monday night against Bay and the scouting report is out.
People are throwing three or four people on her, so we challenged her yesterday and told her she had to find some way to get the ball. That’s attacking the boards and trying to get misses … kicking the ball out and trying to get it back.
“She did that tonight. Every time a shot went up, she was in there. She really stepped that part of her game up.”
In the first half it looked like Lorain coach Mark Feldmann had a solid defensive game plan to contain the 6-foot-1 Wallace. The Titans played a 2-3 zone for most of the first half, and every time the Comets dumped the ball down to Wallace, Lorain would collapse three or four defenders on her.
Wallace was held to three points and six rebounds in the first two periods and Lorain led by as many as nine points, 21-12, late in the second quarter.
As the teams warmed up for the second half, Comets assistant coach Jarrod Stevens pulled Wallace aside to give her some advice. Stevens told her not to worry about the multiple defenders or lack of calls from the officials, and that she had to take control.
“She responded,” Collins said. “She didn’t have a very strong first half and Coach (Stevens) grabbed her to talk to her and we talked to her in the locker room. We challenged her and challenged our girls to look for other ways to get her the ball. We did that and she also went after the boards. That’s a credit to her.”
At the 4:56 mark of the third quarter, Angelique Flores gave the Titans a 25-18 lead with a short runner in the lane. They would score only nine the rest of the game as Amherst stepped up its defensive pressure and Wallace took control of the paint.
“That’s what turned the game around,” Collins said. “We went on that quick run and were able to take the lead. That’s when things turned our way.”
Wallace scored half of her team’s points in a 12-0 run that gave the Comets a 30-25 lead. She scored 10 points and snared 14 rebounds in the second half.
“Coach told me not to worry about the calls, not to mentally take myself out of the game because I’ve done that sometimes,” Wallace said. “I hit one up-and-under move and it got really intense. Momentum was on our side.”
Feldmann said his team’s offense is struggling.
“With about three minutes left in the game I looked up at the scoreboard,” Feldmann said. “They had 34 and we had 29. It’s hard to win games when you only score 29 points. It’s like trying to squeeze water from a peanut.”
He was happy with his defense. The Titans held Amherst to 31.9 percent shooting, but did surrender 26 offensive rebounds.
“Defensively we played an outstanding game, but we couldn’t get the rebound,” Feldmann said. “A lot of times we really did a job on (Wallace), but couldn’t get that rebound. They were getting second shots. It seemed like the ball was going to open spots and green people were gobbling them up. Then they had another possession.”
Mallory Sliman scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Amherst, and Flores led the Titans with 10 points. Destiny Wilson added eight points and 10 rebounds.
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amherst 39, Lorain 34
AMHERST (39): Brianna Crapo 0-2-2, Mallory Sliman 3-2-8, Gabrielle Basinski 0-2-2, Sara Elliott 3-1-7, Brooke Wallace 6-1-13, Sydney Roule 0-0-0, Natalia Joseph 0-0-0, Sydney Click 1-0-3, Sher Champe 1-0-2, Abby Turnwald 1-0-2, Olivia Henderson 0-0-0. Totals 15-8-39.
LORAIN (34): Gretchen Conibear 2-1-6, Angelique Flores 3-2-10, Destiny Wilson 4-0-8, Tremia Blair 3-0-6, Malaya Simmons 0-0-0, Mackenzi Stoyka 0-0-0, Shakeila Craighead 0-0-0, Melina Nieto 2-0-4. Totals 14-3-34.
Amherst 6 10 14 9 — 39
Lorain 11 10 6 7 — 34
Three-point goals: Amherst 1-8 (Click), Lorain 3-5 (Flores 2, Conibear). Field goals: Amherst 15-47 (31.9 percent), Lorain 14-42 (33.3 percent); Free throws: Amherst 8-17 (47 percent), Lorain 3-11 (27.2 percent); Rebounds: Amherst 45 (Wallace 20, Sliman 11), Lorain 27 (Wilson 10). Turnovers: Amherst 20, Lorain 26. Total fouls: Amherst 15, Lorain 15. Fouled out: Conibear.