ELYRIA — Elyria coach Brian Arth did not mince words following a 43-39 non-conference win over North Ridgeville on Wednesday night.
“We were absolutely horrible,” Arth said. “We practiced horrible and we played horrible and I’m not happy. We’re in for a long practice tomorrow.”
The stats shed some light on Arth’s complaints.
The Pioneers (7-9) shot 38 percent (18-for-47) from the floor and 17-for-28 (61 percent) from the foul line and were held to five points in the first quarter and six points in the third. None of Elyria’s starters scored more than five points. They committed 21 turnovers.
North Ridgeville (6-7), despite keeping the score close throughout and leading as late as six minutes into the third quarter, didn’t fare any better.
The Rangers shot 27 percent (11-for-41) from the floor and 69 percent (15-for-22) from the line and committed 24 turnovers.
Both teams struggled through the first half. The Rangers took a 9-5 lead in the first quarter, and a pair of free throws by Alyssa Riley — who finished with 12 points despite a 2-of-14 shooting performance — gave them a 16-10 lead with 4:14 remaining.
But Elyria came back with a 13-5 run to end the half. Kick-started by a three-point play by Mariah Johnson, who led the Pioneers with 10 points off the bench, Elyria methodically chipped away at North Ridgeville’s lead.
A layup by Mikayla Christian with four seconds remaining gave Elyria a 23-21 halftime lead.
“That didn’t help our confidence whatsoever,” Arth said. “They think they can play ‘turn it on, turn it off’ whenever they want. Obviously, we can’t do that. We were very lucky to be up by two at halftime. We shouldn’t have been.
“We should have lost the game. They totally outplayed us. Unfortunately for (North Ridgeville), we just have better athletes.”
A run of five unanswered points in the third quarter, capped by a long jumper by Leah Lindak, helped the Rangers retake the lead, 26-25. But Elyria ended the quarter with five unanswered points, with a 3-pointer by Samantha Harjar with 55 seconds left giving her team a lead it never relinquished.
Another big 3-pointer by Harjar, who finished with nine points, with 5:50 left in the game finished off the Pioneers’ 9-0 run and extended Elyria’s lead to 34-26.
The Rangers kept it to a two-possession game throughout, and a big 3-pointer by Riley with 14.2 seconds left cut the deficit to 42-39. But Sybil Roseboro split a pair of free throws, and the Rangers couldn’t get a clean look the rest of the way.
“I thought they played hard,” Rangers coach Amy Esser said. “I thought we had some mental lapses, but we stayed with them for four quarters. I thought defensively we played very well, shutting down their shooters, for the most part. That was one of our goals coming in.
“We also wanted to get the ball inside to Bella (Pecchia), which I thought we did a good job of. Overall, they played a tough game and I’m proud of them. They fought all the way to the end and made it a close game, and you can’t be mad at them for that.”
Isabella Pecchia led all scorers with 14 points and added a game-high 13 rebounds to lead the Rangers before fouling out with 31.2 seconds left.
Elyria won the rebound battle 41-38.
“I think a few shots here and there — a couple of bunnies that we missed — you take those back and we’re right back in that game,” Esser said. “We had some breakdowns in the second quarter we just couldn’t recover from.
“We told them at the beginning of the game it was going to come down to who won the rebounds. We knew Elyria was a dominant rebounding team and if we kept giving them offensive rebounds, they were going to capitalize. That, I thought, hurt us at times.”
Johnson, a 5-foot-10 junior, led Elyria with seven rebounds along with leading in scoring.
“We didn’t outplay them basketball-wise,” Arth said. “Basketball-wise, they outplayed us and they outcoached us.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Elyria 43, North Ridgeville 39
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (39): Isabella Pecchia 5-4-14, Alyssa Riley 2-6-12, Leah Lindak 2-1-5, Sami Shaw 1-0-2, Kelly Wisniewski 0-0-0, Allie Hollis 0-4-4, Sam Graham 1-0-2, Katie Butcher 0-0-0. Totals 11-15-39.
ELYRIA (43): Sybil Roseboro 1-3-5, Shayla Middlebrooks 2-0-4, CiCi McIntosh 1-0-3, Sierra White 1-1-3, Dierra Hammons 0-0-0, Mariah Johnson 3-4-10, Samantha Harjar 3-1-9, Kelsey Brooks 2-1-5, Mikayla Christian 1-2-4. Totals 14-12-43.
North Ridgeville 9 12 5 13 — 39
Elyria 5 18 8 12 — 43
Three-point goals: North Ridgeville 2-12 (Riley 2), Elyria 3-8 (Harjar 2, McIntosh); Field goals: North Ridgeville 11-41 (27 percent), Elyria 18-48 (38 percent); Free throws: North Ridgeville 15-22 (69 percent), Elyria 17-28 (61 percent); Rebounds: North Ridgeville 38 (Pecchia 13, Hollis 7), Elyria 41 (Johnson 7); Turnovers: North Ridgeville 24, Elyria 21; Fouls: North Ridgeville 23, Elyria 21; Fouled out: Pecchia.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 41-27.