ELYRIA — Perhaps inspired by the presence of a number of former Pioneers players, Elyria played about as well as it could Saturday night against Lakewood for a little more than half the game.
The Pioneers built a comfortable 18-point halftime lead — perhaps a little too comfortable — before settling for a
73-64 win over the Rangers in non-conference play. Elyria improved to 13-4, while Lakewood fell to 10-5.
“First half might have been the most efficient we’ve been all year,” coach Brett Larrick said. “We talked about how hard we needed to play and our attitude. It was about the best we’ve been all year.”
“They had guys making threes,” Lakewood coach Phil Argento said of the first half. “I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the gym that was amazed. To their credit, (Kody) Bender had 12 (points) the first half and (Isaiah) Walton had 15. When you play (Elyria) you have to give those two a lot of attention.”
The Pioneers also turned the ball over just five times in the first half while forcing Lakewood into eight turnovers. Elyria had its way with a 14-8 advantage in rebounds. The lead swelled to 55-35 following Da’Jaun Glover’s 3-pointer with just under four minutes left in the third quarter.
That’s when Lakewood decided it wasn’t over, as the Rangers closed out the quarter on a 9-0 run to trim the margin to 60-54 entering the final quarter.
“The first half we did great,” said Bender, who finished with 22 points to climb into fourth place on Elyria’s career scoring list with 1,112. “Alumni had a little something to do with it, but the second half we didn’t do as good a job finishing the game.”
Fifteen second-half turnovers left the door wide open for the Rangers to climb back into the game. But Lakewood couldn’t get closer than 69-64 in the last minute. Bender (four free throws) and Tavon Kurtz (two) finally closed out the game.
Walton tied Bender for game honors with 22 points. Lakewood’s Aaron Donahue came alive with 16 of his 21 points in the second half. Larrick received good minutes from Anthony Duckett (five points, six rebounds), who filled in for Ronnie Smith, along with Kurtz (six points, six rebounds) and Glover.
“We stayed focused but we let up in the second half and that gave (Lakewood) a chance to comeback,” Duckett said. “I’m really happy to contribute.”
Bender passed two Elyria legends — centers Ted Gottfried and Richard Montague — to pull within 17 points of former guard Demetrius Dalton for third place behind Louis Tumblin (1,419) and Larrick (1,351).
“It means a lot to us,” Bender said of the return of the former players, some of whom spoke to the team prior to the game. “It’s inspiring and it’s fun to hear their story and what they did when they were younger — where they went to college. It definitely gets us going.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 73, Lakewood 64
LAKEWOOD (64): Tyshawn Goolsby 5-0-11, Mike Angers 2-0-6, Zach Fehrenbach 1-1-3, Aaron Donahue 9-0-21, Shawn McDonald 4-0-9, Nick Porter 3-2-9, Muhammad Amawi 0-0-0, Cameron Silver 2-1-5, Dan Mathews 0-0-0. Totals 26-4-64.
ELYRIA (73): Kody Bender 7-7-22, Dontae Dukes 0-4-4, Isaiah Walton 7-5-22, Anthony Duckett 2-1-5, A.J. Johnson 0-0-0, Da’Jaun Glover 2-0-6, Jarred Schultz 2-1-5, Tavon Kurtz 2-2-6, Hunter Parsh 1-0-3. Totals 23-20-73.
Lakewood 14 11 29 10 — 64
Elyria 24 19 17 13 — 73
Three-point goals: Lakewood 8-20 (Donahue 3, Angers 2, Goolsby, McDonald, Porter), Elyria 7-14 (Walton 3, Glover 2, Bender, Parsh). Field goals: Lakewood 26-57 (46 percent), Elyria 23-46 (50 percent). Free throws: Lakewood 4-5 (80 percent), Elyria 20-23 (87 percent). Rebounds: Lakewood 21 (Donahue 5), Elyria 39 (Walton 10). Turnovers: Lakewood12, Elyria 20. Total fouls: Lakewood 18, Elyria 9. Fouled Out: None.
Junior varsity: Lakewood, 68-53.