Lorain Titans stay strong in 4th quarter, hold on for win over Maple Heights Mustangs

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Titans guard Sherman Saunders, right, shoots a jump shot during the fourth quarter against Maple Heights at Lorain High School on Friday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Titans guard Andre Phillips, left, shoots a layup during the fourth quarter against Maple Heights at Lorain High School on Friday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Titans forward Louis Cheers, left, shoots a jump shot under the basket during the fourth quarter against Maple Heights at Lorain High School on Friday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Lorain’s Devon Andrews, right, looks to make a pass in the fourth quarter against Maple Heights at Lorain High School on Friday.

LORAIN — One of the toughest things for a young team to develop is the ability to finish close games against solid opponents.

Following Lorain High’s 49-44 victory over Maple Heights, it looks like the Titans have started to figure it out, winning in the final minutes over a good team for the second time in their last three games.

“That was a very big conference win for us tonight.” Titans coach Andy Bastock said. “Maple Heights came into the game second in the conference, they’re a very good team. These are the type of games we were letting slip away early in the season.”

It wasn’t the prettiest win for Lorain, who looked out of sync at times, but it found ways to get it done when it mattered most.

Despite a tough night shooting, the Titans played excellent defense all game.

Maple Height’s star shooting guard Phil Black, who scored 32 points the last time these teams played, couldn’t get a good look all night thanks to the box-and-one defense the Titans ran most of the game.

Black finished with just 11 points, seven of which coming at the free-throw line.

“I really think we caught them off guard with the box-and-one.” Bastock said. “Black is a great player and we knew that we had to take him out of the game to be successful. My guys did an outstanding job of that tonight.”

After falling down 5-1 to begin the game, the Titans used a 9-0 run to take a 10-7 lead early in the second.

Lorain senior guard Andre Phillips stepped up in a big way offensively during the early run, scoring seven of their first 12 points.

Both teams went on 6-0 runs of their own during the second quarter en route to a 21-20 Lorain lead at the half.

The second half was about as evenly played as you’ll see.

After a 3-pointer by Phillips gave the Titans a 24-20 lead, neither team had a lead of more than two points until the two- minute mark in the fourth quarter.

Up by two, 42-40, late in the fourth quarter, Lorain had a great opportunity to put the game away.

Unfortunately for the Titans, two straight turnovers led to an Isaiah Ivey basket that tied the game once again.

Instead of falling apart, as Lorain might have done early in the season, the Titans rose to the occasion.

Tied at 42 with the ball, Lorain’s Louis Cheers found sophomore Devon Andrews for an easy layup and a 44-42 lead.

Cheers wasn’t done making big plays. On Maple Heights’ next two possessions, Cheers came up with two huge steals.

After the second steal Maple Heights were forced to start fouling and after knocking down their free throws the Titans were able to pull out the 49-44 victory.

“The reasons we lost tonight are pretty simple, we didn’t execute late in the game and they did,” Maple Heights coach Phil Schook said. “We turned the ball over, missed free throws, and just made too many mistakes to win a close game. The Titans did what they were supposed to do at the end, we didn’t.”

Maple Heights came into the game red-hot, winning five straight and eight of their last nine games. The loss drops them to 12-5 overall and 6-4 in the LEL.

Lorain has now won three straight and improved its records to 7-9 overall and 5-6 in the conference. The Titans have another tough test Friday night when they travel to Cleveland Heights.

Lorain 49, Maple Heights 44

Lake Erie League

Maple Heights — Phil Black 2-7 11, Dwayne Fields 1-1 3, Isaiah Ivey 2-0 2,Cliff Garner 7-1 15, Andre Wilson 2-1 7, Maurice Wilson 3-0 6. TOTALS 16-10-44.

Lorain — Louis Cheers 4-2 10, Eddie Williamson 1-2 5, Andre Phillips 6-4 17, Devon Andrews 1-1 3, Demon Hisle 0-2 2, Sherman Saunders 1-4 6, Rashod Berry 3-0 6. TOTALS 16-14-49.

3-point Goals — L: Phillips, Williamson; MH: Wilson.

Score By Quarters

Maple Heights (12-5, 6-4) 7 13 14 10 — 44

Lorain (7-9,5-6) 6 15 13 15 — 49

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Lorain 16 of 43 (37 percent) Maple Heights 16 of 45 (35 percent).

Free Throws — L 14 of 22 (63 percent), MH 10 of 14 (71 percent).

Rebounds — L 35 (Berry 9) , MH 37 (Garner 15).

Turnovers — L 18, MH 15.

J.V. — Lorain, 60-47.

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 2/1/2013 11:38:07 PM EST

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