NORTH ROYALTON — Any thoughts of a conference co-title for Elyria High went out the window in the third quarter Friday in a 62-51 loss at North Royalton.
The Bears improved to 15-1 overall and 8-0 in Northeast Ohio Conference Lake Division, while Elyria fell to 13-5 and 6-2. North Royalton closes out conference play with Valley Forge and Parma, needing just one win to clinch the division outright.
The Pioneers had tied the game at 28 with an 11-3 run over a two-minute stretch late in the second quarter.
But that’s when 6-foot-8 sophomore Omari Spellman grabbed a loose-ball rebound and stepped outside to drain a 3-pointer as time ran out to give the Bears a 31-28 halftime lead.
Little did anyone know Elyria would get no closer the rest of the game as Royalton rolled up a 16-3 advantage in the third quarter to ice its second consecutive Lake Division crown.
With two conference games left, the Pioneers look like a good bet to wind up runners-up for the second year in a row.
“We had breakdowns,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “We knew Spellman would get his — 22 (points) is not a bad job. We didn’t want to let (Logan) Chuppa shoot but he had three open threes.
“They didn’t let Hunter (Parsh) or Isaiah (Walton) shoot. That’s the difference.”
It was also the plan, according to North Royalton coach Tim Matus.
“We made adjustments defensively in the third quarter,” Tim Matus said. “Walton was getting what he wanted the first half (19 points) and Parsh had six or seven. That’s 26 out of their 28 points. We made a little adjustment and did a good job defensively the third quarter.”
Whatever the Bears did worked. Walton scored the only points Elyria had in the third quarter on a 3-pointer with 4:25 left. North Royalton opened the half on a 6-0 run and closed it by scoring the last 10 for a comfortable 47-31 lead going into the final eight minutes.
Elyria missed 10 shots in the quarter and committed three turnovers. Meanwhile, North Royalton was 6-of-13 and 4-of-4 from the line in the quarter. The Bears shot 53 percent for the game to Elyria’s 37 percent.
Walton tried to carry the Pioneers — he finished with 29 points — but it took 26 shots to get his 11 field goals. Parsh’s seven first-half points and freshman Bobby Russell’s five fourth-quarter points were next in line for Elyria.
“We took bad shots to start the game and got down,” Larrick said of an early 13-7 deficit. “We started taking good shots and got back in it. We can make good shots. We can’t make bad shots. They were more disciplined in the game plan than we were.”
Elyria has dropped two straight after a seven-game win streak and the road ahead isn’t easy. The Pioneers visit Medina on Tuesday and Mayfield and Vermilion next weekend.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Royalton 62, Elyria 51
ELYRIA (51): Marquise Dalton 0-0-0, Hunter Parsh 3-0-7, Isaiah Walton 11-3-29, Anthony Duckett 1-0-2, AJ Johnson 1-0-2, Trenell Oliver 2-0-4, Chris Jamison 0-0-0, Bobby Russell 2-0-5, Chris Yates 0-0-0, Howie Smith 0-0-0, Antonio Blanton 0-2-2, Chris Atkinson 0-0-0. Totals 20-5-51.
NORTH ROYALTON (62): Nick Woods 2-0-5, Mario Guinn 3-0-8, Henry Meinberg 0-0-0, Logan Chuppa 6-0-15, Omari Spellman 9-3-22, Bryan Bielak 0-0-0, Brandon Lapeus 1-3-5, Alex Kuchta 1-1-3, Andrew Hartman 2-0-4, Nick Narducci 0-0-0, Mitch Filippi 0-0-0. Totals 24-7-62.
Elyria 12 16 3 20 — 51
North Royalton 16 15 16 15 — 62
Three-point goals: Elyria 6-13 (Walton 4, Parsh, Russell), North Royalton 7-14 (Chuppa 3, Guinn 2, Woods, Spellman). Field goals: Elyria 20-54 (37 percent), North Royalton 24-45 (53 percent). Free throws: Elyria 5-8 (62.5 percent), North Royalton 7-8 (87.5 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 28 (Johnson, Oliver 8), North Royalton 33 (Spellman 9). Turnovers: Elyria 8, North Royalton 9. Fouls: Elyria 10, North Royalton 12.
Junior varsity: North Royalton, 50-39