ELYRIA — By now, Brett Larrick probably figures he’s paid his dues as a head coach.
Elyria’s first-year coach saw his young Pioneers let another one slip away Friday night against Solon in a Northeast Ohio Conference crossover game that won’t count in the league standings.
The Pioneers lost 55-50 after playing pretty well for one half. It marked the fifth time this year that Elyria, now 2-11 on the season, has lost a game by 10 points or fewer. Solon improved to 5-9.
“Couple plays down the stretch didn’t go our way,” said Larrick. “A couple loose balls that we had went through our hands. Basically, we didn’t come out ready to play the second half.”
Elyria built a nice 26-17 lead late in the first half, using a seven-point run sparked by
6-foot-6 junior Will Rudolph and 6-5 sophomore Chase Ferris.
But the lead could have been more had the Pioneers not squandered several possessions. Defensively, the Pioneers were solid — mixing man and zone looks along with halfcourt traps to keep the Comets on their heels.
“We’ve had trouble putting four quarters together,” said Solon coach Sean Fisher, sounding a lot like Larrick. “Tonight we put a good half together but at least we put the right half together.”
Solon made only eight of its 30 shot attempts in the first half and still managed only four field goals in 15 tries in the third quarter but all four were from 3-point land — two coming from Johnny Moeschberger off the bench. That enabled the Comets to tie the game at 33 after three quarters on Jake Voigt’s off-balance, kiss-off-the-glass three as the buzzer sounded.
“A rebound slips through our hands,” said Larrick. “They get it, bank it in. That caused a little bit of momentum (to swing).”
In fact, Elyria still had a 32-23 lead after Rudolph hit a jumper from the right baseline at the six-minute mark in the third quarter but the Pioneers could only add a Mike Cannon free throw the rest of the quarter as Solon closed the gap.
The Comets then took command to start the final quarter with an 11-1 run for a 10-point cushion forcing Elyria to foul and foul and foul some more. Solon paraded to the free throw line 19 times in the quarter, sinking all but five.
The Pioneers were without senior Travis Noble — held out the entire first half for disciplinary reasons.
But with Rudolph and Ferris controlling the glass and Cannon contributing eight of his game-high 14 points — the Pioneers had things in hand.
Rudolph finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Ferris pulled in a half-dozen rebounds.
“The first half, we were aggressive,” said Larrick. “We got to the paint, kicked it out, moved the ball, ran what we wanted and got good looks.
“For whatever reason, in the third quarter we were stagnant and not moving and not playing with any intensity. That’s all we’ve talked about is finishing games — how to win.
“That’s what we have to learn. It’s hard to keep saying, but guys have to understand you have to play hard the whole game.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solon 55, Elyria 50
SOLON (55): Kyle Goudy 1-5-8, Jake Voigt 3-1-9, Darryl Baldwin 4-4-12, Matthew Lojewski 2-1-5, Calvin Oldham 2-1-5, Kevin Hicks 1-4-6, Caden Johnson 0-0-0, James Ellia 0-2-2, Kyle Hammonds 0-0-0, Johnny Moeschberger 2-0-6, Aaron Cronig 1-0-2. Totals 16-18-55.
ELYRIA (50): Will Rudolph 5-0-10, Mike Cannon 6-2-14, Josh Brubaker 1-0-2, Chase Ferris 1-1-3, Maurice Woods 2-0-4, Brandon Mueller 1-0-3, Matt Velazquez 2-0-5, Eric SantoDomingo 0-2-2, Shiloh Taylor 2-0-4, Travis Noble 1-1-3. Totals 21-6-50.
Solon 13 7 13 22 — 55
Elyria 17 11 5 17 — 50
Three-point goals: Solon 5-12 (Voigt 2, Moeschberger 2, Goudy). Elyria 2-14 (Velazquez, Mueller). Field Goals: Solon 16-50 (32 percent). Elyria 21-50 (42 percent). Free Throws: Solon 18-26 (69 percent). Elyria 6-10 (60 percent). Rebounds: Solon 36 (Baldwin 8). Elyria 32 (Rudolph 10). Turnovers: Solon 11, Elyria 12. Fouls: Solon 14, Elyria 20. Intentional Foul: Brubaker. Fouled Out: Cannon. Junior Varsity: Solon 72-43.