VERMILION — Ross Lewis had cleaner looks Saturday afternoon, but no shot was sweeter.
Lewis knocked down a well-defended 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Vermilion over Elyria 49-48 in a rare matinee non-conference makeup game. The Sailors improved to 13-6, while Elyria lost for the fourth time in five games to fall to 14-7.
“Cameron (Kuhn) got trapped,” Lewis said. “He passed it to me in the corner. He trusts me, my teammates trust me with the shot even though two defenders were on it. I just threw it up with the clock going down. Luckily, it went in.”
“That’s what happens when you leave it to chance,” Larrick said. “It wasn’t really a good look. We defended it pretty well. Up three, we would foul. Up two, you can’t. We made Cameron give it up but when you don’t do things you’re supposed to …”
Like making the front end of one-and-ones, not turning over the ball or getting a defensive rebound in the final moments. Elyria failed in all those critical areas in the last two minutes as it saw a 48-41 lead disappear.
Kurt Habermehl thought his Sailors were sunk.
“I thought we were dead in the water,” he said. “We just kept coming back. I thought they did a great job of just playing through to the final horn. We got a great shot from Ross to win the game.”
For the Pioneers, it shouldn’t have come down to that.
In the final minute, Elyria, after making its first 11 free throws, missed three straight front-ends of the bonus, committed a turnover and allowed Kyle Nader to convert a missed shot into a Vermilion basket to pull the Sailors within 48-46 and set up the final sequence.
Isaiah Walton, a very reliable free-throw shooter, missed with 15.1 seconds left to give Vermilion and Lewis one last shot.
Both teams struggled through the first half — perhaps the aftermath of playing the night before. The Sailors held the lead, 18-14, through a lethargic 16 minutes, but when Elyria jumped in front by scoring the first 11 points of the second half, it appeared on the verge of winning comfortably.
Walton, who had just a pair of free throws the first half, wound up with 16 points. Kuhn led Vermilion with 22, including 11 of 14 foul shots. The Sailors were 8-for-8 at the line in the fourth quarter.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vermilion 49, Elyria 48
ELYRIA (48): Hunter Parsh 3-0-9, Isaiah Walton 6-2-16, Anthony Duckett 0-0-0, Trenell Oliver 4-2-10, AJ Johnson 3-0-6, Marquise Dalton 0-5-5, Chris Jamison 0-2-2. Totals 16-11-48.
VERMILION (49): Forrest Boyd 3-2-8, Aaron Dawson 0-0-0, Kyle Nader 2-2-7, Seth Konrad 1-0-3, Cameron Kuhn 5-11-22, Ross Lewis 3-0-9, Garrett Whitely 0-0-0, Alex Nunn 0-0-0. Totals 14-15-49.
Elyria 4 10 21 13 — 48
Vermilion 10 8 13 18 — 49
Three-point goals: Elyria 5-11 (Parsh 3, Walton 2), Vermilion 6-16 (Lewis 3, Nader, Konrad, Kuhn). Field goals: Elyria 15-39 (38 percent), Vermilion 14-43 (32.5 percent). Free throws: Elyria 11-15 (73 percent), Vermilion 15-18 (83 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 28 (Johnson 8), Vermilion 30 (Nader 7). Turnovers: Elyria 11, Vermilion 12. Fouls: Elyria 12, Vermilion 16. Fouled Out: None.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 50-46.