Big third quarter gives the Avon Lake Shoremen the Lorain County Holiday Classic title

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon Lake guard Christian Jones scores on a layup against Lorain at the 15th Annual Lorain County Holiday Classic at Avon Lake High School.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE The Shoremen celebrate a win over the Titans following the game Avon Lake High School on Saturday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Lorain guard Andre Phillips, middle shoots a layup during the third quarter against Avon Lake High at Avon Lake High School on Saturday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Lorain forward Louis Cheers, front, comes up with a loose ball under the basket during the third quarter against Avon Lake on Saturday.

AVON LAKE — In just a four minute stretch of the third quarter, Avon Lake turned a tie game into an insurmountable lead with a 14-0 run as the Shoremen clinched the 15th Annual Lorain County Holiday Classic Championship with a 54-39 win over Lorain on Saturday night.

Avon Lake led 27-25 at the half, but turned the two-point lead into 14 by outscoring the Titans 18-6 in the third quarter, which put the game out of reach.

Three Shoremen reached double figures, including guards Christian Jones and Jimmy Hessel, who had 12 and 11 points respectively. Mitch Gabanic led all scorers with 13, seven of which came in Avon Lake’s 14-0 run.

“The key for this entire game was that we held (Lorain) to one shot,” Avon Lake coach Eric Smith said. “We didn’t allow them, for the most part, to get a run by getting an offensive rebound, by getting second or third shots. They’re going to get putbacks by the nature of the way they play. But I thought we did a nice job of limiting them on the offensive glass and that was huge for us.”

Despite being outrebounded 25-20, Avon Lake (4-3) forced Lorain (2-5) into 24 turnovers, and forced at least five in all four quarters. The Shoremen gave the Titans fits by mixing up the pressures between a full-court press, a half-court trap and a 1-3-1 defense throughout the second half.

“Pressure is cumulative,” Smith said. “You may not get the big run early in the first quarter or the second quarter. But if you consistently apply the pressure — and we trapped selectively out of it.

“The kids buy in. They’re unselfish, they don’t care who scores. They share the basketball. We’ve got three guys on this team averaging two assists or more a game.”

Lorain coach Andy Bastock felt his young team was emotionally drained after Friday night’s 57-55 upset of previously-unbeaten Elyria in which Sherman Saunders hit the game-winning 3-pointer with eight seconds left. Saunders only scored five points for the Titans off the bench.

“We were a shell of a team today,” Bastock said. “We got embarrassed. We were outplayed in pretty much every aspect of the game. Avon Lake came to play and we were sitting back thinking about yesterday, that’s my only guess. I don’t know. I can’t read the kids’ minds, but that’s what I’m assuming because that’s the least amount of energy and intensity we’ve played with all season.”

Avon Lake raced out to a 16-9 first quarter lead, sparked by a 12-2 run. Lorain fired back in the second shooting 7 of 8 from the field to cut the score to 27-25. Jones scored eight of his 12 in the second to help keep his team out in front.

“We keep getting better each game,” he said. “We keep learning, going through practice each day doing what we did wrong, getting better, making us better as a team overall.”

Hessel said it meant a lot to him and the Avon Lake seniors to win the Holiday Classic on their home floor.

“It’s a big deal because this tournament really doesn’t happen much on our floor,” Hessel added. “Having it be my senior year and having the win, having the trophy and the plaque is a big deal for us.”

Most of the struggles Lorain faced in the half-court came when Avon Lake switched to a 1-3-1, which frustrated Bastock because it’s one of his team’s main defensive sets.

“They go to a 1-3-1 which we regularly use, and regularly practice against, and we look like we’ve never seen it,” Bastock said. “So, why does that happen? I don’t know. When we play 1-3-1 against ourselves in practice every day, we know exactly what to do.”

Elyria 75, Avon 57: The Pioneers won the consolation game of the Holiday Classic by knocking off the Eagles earlier in the night.

Elyria (7-1) outscored Avon 28-9 in the second quarter to pull ahead for good. Isaiah Walton led the way for Elyria with 17 points, and Hunter Parsh hit four threes for 12 points off the bench, nine of which came in the second quarter to put the Pioneers up for good.

Jack Poyle led Avon (5-3) with 14 points. Matt Lawrence was the only other Eagle in double figures, chipping in 10, all in the second half.

Avon Lake 54, Lorain 39

Lorain County Holiday Classic

Championship Game

LORAIN — Louis Cheers 4-3 11, Andre Phillips 1-0 3, Demon Hisle 1-0 2, Andrew Ralston 1-0 2, Sherman Saunders 1-2 5, Dalandrious Henderson 2-0 4, Gerald Howard 2-0 4, Rashod Berry 4-0 8. TOTALS 16-5 39.

AVON LAKE — Christian Jones 4-3 12, Jimmy Hessel 4-2 11, Mitch Gabanic 5-3 13, Jace Russell 2-1 6, Seth Muck 3-0 7, Brad Hamilton 2-1 5. TOTALS 20-10 54.

3-POINT GOALS — L: Phillips, Saunders; AL: Jones, Hessel, Russell, Muck.

Score By Quarters

Lorain (2-5) 9 16 6 8 — 39

Avon Lake (4-3) 16 11 18 9 — 54

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Lorain 16 of 35 (46 percent), Avon Lake 20 of 46 (43 percent).

Free Throws — L 5 of 13 (38 percent), AL 10 of 13 (77 percent).

Rebounds — L 25 (Cheers 6, Howard 6), AL 20 (Hamilton 7).

Turnovers — L 24, AL 10.

Elyria 75, Avon 57

Lorain County Holiday Classic

Consolation Game

ELYRIA — Tavon Kurtz 3-0 6, Kody Bender 2-4 8, Hunter Parsh 4-0 12, Dontae Dukes 4-0 8, Isaiah Walton 7-2 17, Jared Schultz 1-0 2, Ronnie Smith 3-1 7, A.J. Johnson 4-1 9, Damon Stewart 3-0 6. TOTALS 31-8 75.

AVON — Zach Gill 2-0 5, Brian Kelly 1-2 5, Jack Poyle 5-1 14, Cordell Winters 2-0 4, Zach Torbert 3-2 9, Brad Sprecher 1-0 2, Matt Lawrence 4-2 10, Jordan Lawrence 1-0 2, A.J. Kistler 1-0 2, Mike Pulice 1-0 2. TOTALS 21-7 57.

3-POINT GOALS — E: Parsh (4), Walton; A: Gill, Kelly, Poyle (3), Torbert, Spracher, J. Lawrence.

Score By Quarters

Elyria (7-1) 12 28 19 16 — 75

Avon (5-3) 12 9 19 17 — 57

Team Statistics

Free Throws — Elyria 8 of 13 (62 percent), Avon 7 of 8 (88 percent).


Last Updated: 12/29/2012 11:47:32 PM EST

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