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Westlake Demons' late run sinks Avon Lake Shoremen
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Westlake’s Gavin Skelly, center, pulls in a rebound surrounded by Avon Lake’s Christian Jones, left, Jimmy Hessel, second from left, and Brad Hamilton.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon Lake's Christian Jones, front, tries to spin around Westlake's Shawn Turk in the first quarter Friday night.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon Lake’s Jimmy Hessel, left, and Westlake’s Josef Hadib-Nissan fight for a rebound during the second quarter at Avon Lake on Friday night. The Demons held on for a 54-47 win.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Westlake head coach Shawn Hood, kneeling, talks to his players during a time out.
With the score tied at 31 late in the third quarter, Westlake went on an 11-0 run with points from five different players spanning just over five minutes in between the third and fourth quarters to secure a big road victory.
Three Demons scored in double figures led by 13 from Shawn Turk. Gavin Skelly and Danny Strodtbeck each added 10, and Jamie Lackner chipped in nine for Westlake (12-4, 6-3).
“We usually win when it’s that kind of balance,” Westlake coach Shawn Hood said. “We don’t really depend on one guy to do a lot although Gavin does everything in terms of statistically. He blocks shots, steals the ball, assists the ball, rebounds the ball and scores the ball.
“In terms of scoring, we don’t really depend on one guy. Everyone scores and we’re best when everyone’s scoring.”
Westlake’s half-court offense was very effective as the Demons shot 57 percent from the field. Avon Lake (10-6, 6-4) kept up by forcing turnovers, but could not keep up in the half-court because of how Westlake controlled the glass. The Demons outrebounded Avon Lake 30-14, with eight coming from Skelly, all in the second half.
“They took our transition game away from us,” Avon Lake coach Eric Smith said. “That’s the first time all year I can say that we were not able to go out and go on somebody. And that hurt us.
“We’re not a grind-it-out team. We need to create some offense and we didn’t do that. That’s a direct result of the way Westlake played tonight. They beat us to every effort play.”
Westlake took a 37-31 lead into the fourth quarter, and back-to-back baskets by Strodtbeck and Brian Guzik early in the quarter put the Demons up 11. Strodtbeck had eight of his 10 points in the final quarter to keep the Shoremen at bay.
“Our half-court defense was outstanding tonight,” Strodtbeck said. “Our rules are play the best half-court defense and offense. So that’s how we win our games. We just want to play half-court defense and half-court offense.”
Westlake’s half-court offense was effective all night long because it not only found open shooters, but it controlled the tempo and made it a half-court game. Hood felt his team was better prepared for the Shoremen’s speed and hoped to slow them down after losing to them in their first meeting of the season.
“Their athleticism, their quickness caught us off guard the first game,” he said. “I hadn’t seen them (before the first game). I didn’t get an opportunity to see them ... so their athleticism, their quickness caught us off guard. This time, it didn’t. We were prepared for their great speed and quickness. We knew they would press us the whole game because they know they’re more athletic than we are. And we were ready.”
The two teams finished both the first and second quarters tied up although the Shoremen failed to get a lead bigger than three points all half. Westlake and Avon Lake were tied at 31 with just over 2:30 left in the third quarter before the Demons went on their run to give themselves an important road win. With the sectional draw just eight days away, every win is crucial at this stage to ensure the best possible seed.
“We feel like we’re playing a little better,” Hood said. “This obviously is a good barometer because they’re a terrific team. They’re one of the top teams in the conference, and really one of the top teams in the area. So if you can go on the road at this point in the season and get a win like this, then you can feel like you can compete with virtually everyone else.”
Brad Hamilton led Avon Lake with 11 points, and Seth Muck and Christian Jones each added 10.
Westlake 54, Avon Lake 47
WESTLAKE — Josef Hadib-Nissan 0-3 3, Bryan Mackenzie 2-1 5, Brian Guzik 1-0 2, Connor Meek 1-0 2, Shawn Turk 5-3 13, Danny Strodtbeck 4-1 10, Gavin Skelly 4-2 10, Jamie Lackner 4-0 9. TOTALS 21-10 54.
AVON LAKE — Christian Jones 4-0 10, Jimmy Hessel 4-0 8, Mitch Gabanic 2-2 6, Seth Muck 3-3 10, Brad Hamilton 4-2 11, Ben Oxley 1-0 2. TOTALS 18-7 47.
3-POINT GOALS — W: Strodtbeck, Lackner; AL: Jones (2), Muck, Hamilton.
Score By Quarters
Westlake (12-4, 6-3) 15 7 15 17 — 54
Avon Lake (10-6, 6-4) 15 7 9 16 — 47
Field Goals — Westlake 21 of 37 (57 percent), Avon Lake 18 of 40 (45 percent).
Free Throws — W 10 of 16 (63 percent), AL 7 of 16 (44 percent).
Rebounds — W 30 (Skelly 8), AL 14 (Hessel 6).
Turnovers — W 14, AL 8.
J.V. — Avon Lake, 39-21.
Last Updated: 2/1/2013 11:24:26 PM EST