WESTLAKE — Sophomore Devon Andrews had 24 points and 12 rebounds and sparked a big fourth quarter as Lorain was able to pull away from short-handed Westlake in a 66-56 non-conference victory.
Playing without starting center Gavin Skelly, a 6-foot-8 junior who was suspended for two games, the Demons (13-7) had just eight rotation players available. Without Skelly’s defensive presence in the middle, Andrews and the rest of the Titans attacked the rim all game.
Andrews scored 16 points in the first half as Lorain (9-10) scored 26 of its 32 first-half points in the paint.
“Devon is a tremendous athlete, and he has an uncanny knack of smoothly slicing his way to the rim and finishing,” Titans coach Andy Bastock said. “We opened up the court a little bit with a spread offense and allowed him to operate.”
Lorain led 53-43 when Gerald Howard converted a pair of free throws at the 5:33 mark of the fourth quarter. The Demons weren’t through though.
Danny Strodtbeck sparked a 9-2 Westlake run with a 3-pointer from the left corner, and when Connor Meek stole an errant pass and scored from in the paint Lorain’s big lead was down to 55-52 with 3:05 left.
Bastock called a timeout and drew up a play that worked to perfection. Andre Phillips drove through the Westlake press and found Howard for a layup. Howard was fouled in the act of shooting and converted the free throw to give the Titans some breathing room at 58-52.
“I felt like I could get to the rim easily,” said Andrews, who also had three blocked shots and two steals. “My guy was sagging off of me and I could have shot it at will, but I thought it was easier to take it to the rim. I knew he couldn’t guard me.”
At the 4:20 mark of the fourth, after a hard foul on Titans center Louis Cheers, there was some pushing and shoving between the teams. Westlake’s Bryan Mackenzie and Lorain’s Rashod Berry were ejected, meaning both will have to sit out two games.
“You had two teams that have big-time competitors on them,” Bastock said. “That’s what happens when you have a close game that both teams want to win.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorain 66, Westlake 56
LORAIN (66): Luis Cheers 5-0-10, Eddie Williamson 1-2-4, Andre Phillips 1-2-4, Devon Andrews 9-8-26, Rashod Berry 5-1-11, Sherman Saunders 1-1-4, Gerald Howard 2-3-7, Dalandrious Henderson 0-0-0, Andrew Ralston 0-0-0, Demon Hisle 0-0-0. Totals 24-17-66.
WESTLAKE (56): Tyler Zack 0-0-0, Bryan Mackenzie 6-2-14, Shawn Turk 5-0-11, Danny Strodtbeck 5-0-13, Jamie Lackner 3-1-7, Josef Hadib 2-0-4, Makis Beach 1-0-3, Connor Meek 2-0-4. Totals 24-3-56.
Lorain 13 19 15 19 — 66
Westlake 11 15 14 16 — 56
Three-point goals: Lorain 1-7 (Saunders), Westlake 5-17 (Strodtbeck 3, Turk, Beach); Field goals: Lorain 24-50 (48 percent), Westlake 24-58 (41 percent); Free throws: Lorain 17-25 (68 percent), Westlake 3-6 (50 percent); Rebounds: Lorain 39 (Andrews 12), Westlake 27 (Mackenzie 10); Turnovers: Lorain 15, Westlake 13. Total fouls: Lorain 13, Westlake 20.
Junior varsity: Westlake, 45-41