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Elyria Pioneers, Westlake Demons advance to district semis
Behind a full-court press and an unselfish offense, Elyria scored the first 16 points of the game and moved into the district semifinals with a 79-48 Division I Grafton District Sectional Final win Saturday. The Pioneers will play Westlake next Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Demons advanced to the district semifinals with a 76-54 win over North Olmsted.
“We preached about getting a good start,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “We want to come out with our confidence and try to take the other team’s confidence away. I don’t think you can ask for a much better start than what we came out with ... our kids were ready to play.”
After scoring the first basket of the game, Elyria (18-5) went into its full-court press. The impact the press had on North Ridgeville (4-20) was immediate. The Rangers turned the ball over in their first eight possessions.
The turnovers allowed the Pioneers to get into its transition game. The fast pace and the extra pass gave the Pioneers easy baskets. Anthony Duckett scored six of his 10 points and Kody Bender (18 points) had a pair of baskets during the run.
Bender, who grew up playing against a lot of North Ridgeville players, was happy to get a chance to play against them.
“I tried to keep my head and not get too excited.” Bender said.
When Nate Inal (team-high 15 points) scored on a jumper, the Rangers trailed 16-2 midway through the first quarter.
Though the deficit seemed daunting, North Ridgeville started getting hot from the outside in the second quarter. Indal hit a pair of 3s, while Dennis Millgard (15 points) added another.
Millgard hit a jumper to close the deficit down to 33-24, but the Pioneers regain control scoring the last 12 points of the quarter to push their lead to 43-29 at the half.
“North Ridgeville has been playing well the last 3-4 games,” Larrick said. “We told our team they were going to make some runs. When it got to nine, we didn’t let it get it to seven. We got it back to double digits. We needed to withstand their runs and then extend (the lead).”
After regaining control at the end of the first half, the Pioneers didn’t let it go in the third quarter. They outscored the Rangers by 10 points with Isaiah Walton (game-high 20 points), scoring six points in the quarter.
Though the Rangers continued to battle, the tough start was too much to overcome.
“You can’t play even with a team when you are down 19,” North Ridgeville coach Bryan Morgan said. “I was proud of our kids. They played hard, even though they weren’t ready to play a team like that early. Our young kids are our future. We had four freshmen dress for the tournament.”
Westlake 76, North Olmsted 54: The third meeting between the two Southwestern Conference rivals went like the first two did. Using their hard-nose, man-to-man defense and a balanced offense, the Demons (15-8) advanced to the district semifinals.
Gavin Skelly, a six-foot, eight-inch post, scored a game-high 21 points. He scored 10 points in the first half to help Westlake hold a 37-21 lead at the half. But, it was the third quarter where he made his mark.
Using his height advantage, Skelly scored nine points in the third quarter. Makis Beach (15 points) added six in the quarter to help the Demons extend their lead to 58-31 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We played hard,” Westlake coach Shawn Hood said. “I wanted us to go out and play as hard as we could. I felt if we did that, we would have a good chance to come out with a win.
“I wanted to try some different things on offense and I might have slowed our offense down. I felt comfortable. I felt the kids understood what I wanted. I think we are ready to play a phenomenal Elyria team.”
Byran Mackenzie added 10 points for the Demons. For North Olmsted (2-21), Jordan Wolfe had 14 points, while William Lucien added 10.
Elyria 79, North Ridgeville 48
Division I Grafton District
NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Nate Inal 6-0 15, Dennis Millgard 6-1 15, Jordan Montgomery 2-1 5, Nolan Freeman 3-0 6, DeMarco McCoy 1-0 2, Nathan Colbet 1-0 2, Larry Draft 0-1 1, Mason Demyen 1-0 2. TOTALS 19-3 48.
ELYRIA — Kody Bender 6-4 19, Dontae Dukes 1-0 2, Isaiah Walton 7-5 20, Anthony Duckett 4-2 10, A.J. Johnson 4-0 8, Jarred Schultz 2-1 7, Da’Jaun Glover 1-0 3, Ronnie Smith 2-0 5, Tavon Kurtz 1-0 2, Rodger Jamison 1-0 2, Trenell Oliver 1-0 2. TOTALS 30-12 79.
3-POINT GOALS – NR Inal (3), Millgard (2); E: Bender (2), Walton, Schultz (2), Glover, Smith.
Field Goals — North Ridgeville 19 of 41 (46 percent), Elyria 30 of 56 (54 percent).
Free Throws — NR 3 of 8 (38 percent), E 12 of 13 (92 percent).
Rebounds — NR 16 , E 32 (Walton 11)
Westlake 76, North Olmsted 54
Division I Grafton District
NORTH OLMSTED — Sean Needles 2-4 9, Jordan Wolfe 4-6 14, William Lucien 5-0 10, Brandon Dickey 2-0 4, Michael Starcovic 2-0 6, Ivan Velazquez 2-1 5, Rashad Ahmad 0-2 2, Andrew Latas 1-0 2, Jordan Burke 1-0 2. TOTALS 19-15 54.
WESTLAKE — Bryan Mackenzie 3-5 11, Jamie Lackner 4-0 9, Gavin Skelly 10-1 21, Shawn Turk 3-0 6, Danny Strodtbeck 2-0 5, Brian Guzik 1-0 2, Anthony Trujilo 1-0 2, Makis Beach 5-2 15, Brodie Evans 1-0 2, Joseph Hadib 1-1 3. TOTALS 31-9 76.
3-POINT GOALS – NO: Needles; W: Lackner, Strodtbeck, Beach (3).
Field Goals — North Olmsted 19 of 41 (46 percent), Westlake 31 of 56 (55 percent).
Free Throws — NO 15 of 21 (71 percent), W 9 of 19 (47 percent).
Rebounds — NO 19, W 41.
Turnovers — NO 11, W 9.
Last Updated: 3/2/2013 11:29:41 PM EST