CLEVELAND — Things had gone poorly for Lorain through the first 12 minutes of Friday’s game at St. Ignatius.
The Titans had fallen behind by 16, their point guard had three fouls and they’d been whistled for two straight dead-ball, off-the-ball fouls — the latter leading to a technical called on coach John Rositano.
So Lorain’s subsequent 8-1 run, which forced an Ignatius timeout, was a positive sign — that ultimately was short-lived. The Wildcats quickly turned the tide afterward and ran away to a 63-45 win.
The Wildcats, ranked 13th in the state in Division I, for the most part locked down Devon Andrews — who’d averaged 24 points in his first four games — and limited the Titans from getting to the basket. That forced Lorain to play from the outside, not one of its strengths, and the Titans never got untracked.
“They do a great job of pinching the middle of the court, and they took that away from us in the half-court,” Rositano said. “When you do that, it’s very difficult. They did a great job of converging on the basketball.”
Ignatius alternated 6-foot-4 Deven Stover and 6-3 Isiah Barbra in face-guarding Andrews, and he struggled in the early going. Ignatius coach Sean O’Toole said the Wildcats had given up 28 points to Berea-Midpark’s Alex Brown and then 27 to Canton Timken’s LePear Toles during the Wildcats’ three-game losing streak.
Thus the focus on Andrews, which worked early as the Wildcats (10-4) led by eight after the first quarter. Things only got worse from there for Lorain.
Eddie Williamson was whistled for an offensive foul call — his third personal — to begin the second, and after an Ignatius bucket, the Titans were called for consecutive off-ball fouls during dead balls. A seemingly calm Rositano chatted with an official — who didn’t like something Rositano said, and gave the coach a technical.
The ensuing two free throws were part of an 8-0 run, punctuated by an Eric Black dunk, that gave Ignatius a 16-point lead.
Yet Andrews’ driving bucket stopped the run, and began an 8-1 Titans run fueled by Nazihar Bohannon, Jaheel Moon and Xavier Harrison that cut the lead to 24-15 and forced O’Toole to take a timeout.
Out of the timeout, though, Stover — who scored 15 in the half and led all scorers with 22 — hit a 3-pointer off a nifty set play, and Barbra followed with a basket off a turnover to quickly push the lead back to 14. The Wildcats extended their lead to as many as 21 in the fourth quarter.
“We just got beat tonight,” Rositano said. “They execute, and they force you to play defense for six or seven passes, and we’re not ready for that.
“They’re big, strong and there’s a reason they’re (ranked) in the state. This will get us ready for the tournament. Day in and day out, every night is good competition. This isn’t an easy game for us. We’re doing the right things, they just played better than us tonight.”
Andrews finished with 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting, and was the only Titan in double figures.
Contact Joel Hammond at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Ignatius 63, Lorain 45
LORAIN (45): Davierre Andrews 2-0-4, Eddie Williamson 2-1-5, Demon Hisle 1-2-5, Jaheel Moon 2-0-5, Jamar Ross 1-0-3, Devon Andrews 4-5-13, Gerald Howard 1-0-2, Xavier Harrison 1-0-2, Rashod Berry 1-0-2, Nazihar Bohannon 2-0-4. Totals 17-8-45.
ST. IGNATIUS (63): Isiah Barbra 3-1-7, Danny Bova 2-1-5, Jake Strippy 1-0-2, Eric Black 6-0-12, Ryan Napoli 0-2-2, Mikal Outcalt 1-0-2, David Black 1-3-5, Kyle Kalish 1-0-3, Deven Stover 7-5-22, Jaylin McDonald 0-1-1, Ogo Okolo 1-0-2. Totals 23-13-63.
Lorain 7 12 11 15 — 45
St. Ignatius 15 16 17 15 — 63
Three-point goals: Lorain 3-7 (Hisle, Moon, Ross), St. Ignatius 4-13 (Kalish, Stover 3). Field goals: Lorain 17-45 (38 percent), St. Ignatius 23-49 (47 percent). Free throws: Lorain 8-15 (53 percent), St. Ignatius 13-20 (65 percent). Rebounds: Lorain 23 (Berry 8), St. Ignatius 30 (Stover 4). Total fouls: Lorain 19, St. Ignatius 13. Turnovers: Lorain 15, St. Ignatius 12. Fouled out: Williamson.