AVON — Things got interesting when Avon opened the fourth quarter with a modest run against Lorain on Saturday night.
It cut the Titans’ lead — which reached 18 points in the third quarter — to eight. At that point, it must have looked a little dicey for the Titans as the Lorain County Holiday Classic title game wound down.
In fact, Titans sophomore Daviere Andrews admitted he was concerned when the Titans lead was cut to single digits with nearly seven minutes left to play.
But neither the slick Andrews, his teammates nor the Titans fans had to worry too long. Lorain soon pushed the margin back to 14 points and went on to win the annual tournament, 51-43.
“Score and stop on defense,” Andrews said.
And what does it mean to you guys to win the tournament?
“A lot,” he said.
Lorain coach John Rositano said his Titans (4-4) didn’t play particularly well, but they competed from start to finish.
“I just told the guys in there, if we don’t compete, we lose the game,” Rositano said. “As long as you’re competing hard, even if you don’t play well, you have a chance to win a game, a chance for success. I don’t think we did a lot of the things we should do, but we played at a high level competitive-wise.”
Avon (1-6) trailed 41-26 going into the final eight minutes. But senior Brian Kelly, whose 21 points led the Eagles past Avon Lake on Friday night, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. Dan Durrin, also a senior, followed with two foul shots at 7:21 and 6-foot-3 senior Jordan Lawrence — with an assist by Kelly — cut the margin to 41-33 at 6:40.
“But they didn’t get rattled,” Rositano said. “They didn’t get rattled and pushed it right back to 13. We made a couple plays there, although I thought we got careless with the ball. But, again, we did the right things competitive-wise and that’s what we’re trying to establish — how to compete and play basketball the right way.”
Rositano was right. Lorain answered with a 7-2 run which, as a practical matter, put the game out of reach with just over three minutes to go. Eagles sophomore Jeffrey Laraway created the final score with two free throws in the last seven seconds.
Avon coach Kevin Sapara said he was pleased that his players continued to battle, diving for loose balls and going hard to the backboards in the waning minutes.
“It was great to see our kids never quit,” Sapara said. “That’s just the way they are. They’re hard-nosed kids and it was good to see them fight back and make it a game in the fourth quarter. We started out slow in the first quarter and it’s hard to fight back. But we did and we made it a game.
“I liked the way our kids were pretty physical in the second half. We did some things pretty well. A couple of times, we could have given them (Titans) a couple easy basket or some dunks, but our kids fought back and tried to get blocks. That’s a good mindset to have. I think we have some things to build on.”
Junior Eddie Williamson and Andrews of Classic champion Lorain were named to the all-tournament team. Runner-up Avon also placed two players on the squad — Kelly and junior Zack Torbert. Also chosen were senior Jarred Schultz of Elyria’s third-place team and senior Christian Jones of Avon Lake.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Lorain 51, Avon 43
LORAIN (51): Daviere Andrews 6-2-16, Eddie Williamson 1-2-5, Demon Hisle 6-0-15, Jaheel Moon 1-0-2, Devon Andrews 1-0-2, Gerald Howard 2-0-4, Rashod Berry 2-1-5, Robert David 1-0-2, Kevin Davis 0-0-0. Totals 20-5-51.
AVON (43): Dan Durrin 0-2-2, Brian Kelly 6-0-13, Michael Smigel 0-0-0, Johnny Peganoff 0-0-0, Austin Proudfit 0-1-1, Zack Torbert 2-0-6, Alex Warren 0-0-0, Jordan Lawrence 1-0-2, Chris Maxwell 1-1-3, Will Ybarra 0-0-0, Jeffrey Laraway 4-5-14, Donnie O’Brien 0-2-2. Totals 14-11-43.
Lorain 15 12 14 10 — 51
Avon 6 10 10 17 — 43
Three-point goals: Lorain 6-14 (Hisle 3, Da. Andrews 2, Williamson); Avon 4-15 (Torbert 2, Laraway, Kelly). Field goals: Lorain 20-56 (35.7 percent); 14-52 (26.9 percent). Free throws: Lorain 5-12; Avon 11-16. Rebounds: Lorain 32; Avon 32. Turnovers: Lorain 11; Avon 14.