ELYRIA — Elyria Catholic hit a second-half cold spell Friday night.
This was unfortunate, because the Panthers, who made nearly half their field-goal attempts in the first half, couldn’t hit 30 percent after the break.
That statistic, more than any other, tells the story of EC’s 67-60 West Shore Conference loss to Lakewood at the Coliseum. The downhill spiral began after Elyria Catholic led by as many as nine points near the midpoint of the second quarter.
The Rangers (5-1) remained undefeated after five WSC games. The Panthers dropped to 3-3, 3-2.
Shawn McDonald, the Rangers’ 5-foot-11 senior guard, said they won with defense.
“We pressured,” said McDonald, who scored a game-high 24 points, a dozen in each half. “We always do pressure, full force always, you know. I mean we always get up on our guys, never sag off. We want to make them turn it over. We let our defense turn to offense.”
EC coach Phil Kuchta agreed.
“They played us very tough inside,” he said. “People don’t think they’re very big, but you look out there and they have a couple 6-5 guys and they’re obviously playing very well right now. I give them a lot of credit for taking us out of what we wanted to do. The refs let us play and we like that. It just didn’t work to our advantage tonight.”
After trailing 30-21, Lakewood put together an 11-5 run to win the second period and take a 40-38 lead at the break. The Panthers earned a tie at 42 early in the third, but never again held the lead. And they never got closer than 57-53 after senior post Jeremy Holley made a foul shot with just under four minutes left in the quarter.
Still, EC kept it close. The Panthers trailed 63-57 and still had a shot — but a long shot. By this time less than a minute remained in the game. And the Rangers had spread the floor in the last two minutes, running time off the clock and looking for uncontested layups.
They made no turnovers running the spread, only eight for the game. Meantime, the Lakewood defense had a hand in most of the Panthers 19 errors.
“We ran a lot of clock with it,” McDonald said. “We got a lot of layups when we needed to and we ran the clock when we needed to. We work on that every day at the end of practice.”
It was a big night for the Panthers’ Holley, a 6-6 handful. He scored a team-high 22 points, 13 in the second half, and pulled down 24 rebounds.
“Our guys did the same thing in our last game,” Rangers coach Phil Argento said of his team’s strong second-half. “We picked it up defensively. Obviously, Holley is a load in there, and we were letting him get the ball too deep. So even if he missed a shot, he was the best rebounder to get it.
“But one of the big things for us was, we didn’t hve a lot of turnovers,” he added. “Whatever it was (eight), it was a low number. And we have some guys that can go past you. Once we got into the last few minutes, we got what we wanted and that was to get control of thegame.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Lakewood 67, Elyria Catholic 60
LAKEWOOD (67): Dan Matthews 0-0-0, Tyshawn Goolsby 0-0-0, Mike Angers 2-1-7, Wes Gerhardt 1-0-3, Joe Malone 0-0-0, Logan Swift 0-0-0, Nick Porter 9-3-22, Shawn McDonald 10-3-24, Amandeep Singh 1-0-2, Jacob Schmidt 4-0-9. Totals 21-14-60.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (60): Kevin Kelley 1-0-3, Angelo Cruz 3-0-6, Conner Riddell 3-0-8, Ceeven Shelton 2-0-4, Darin Guice 2-0-5, Drew Kaplan 0-0-0, Jeremy Holley 10-2-22, Cole Virgin 0-0-0, Jacob Kuchta 5-0-12, James Tirbaso 0-0-0, Colden Schemmel 0-0-0. Totals 13-12-41.
Lakewood 17 23 13 14 — 67
Elyria Catholic 23 15 12 10 — 60
Three-point goals: Lakewood 6-21 (Angers 2, Gerhardt, Schmidt, Porter, McDonald); Elyria Catholic (Kuchta 2, Riddell 2, Guice, Kelley). Field goals: Lakewood 27-65 (41.5 percent); Elyria Catholic 26-58 (38.2 percent) . Free throws: Lakewood 7-16; Elyria Catholic 2-6. Rebounds: Lakewood 30; Elyria Catholic 43.Turnovers: Lakewood 8; Elyria Catholic 19 .
Junior varsity: Elyria Catholic, 62-56.