ELYRIA — Every coach will tell you he wants his team playing its best ball as tournament time approaches.
With that in mind, Brett Larrick has to be feeling pretty good about his Elyria Pioneers down the stretch. Tuesday, the Pioneers started fast in finishing off Mayfield 80-58 for their 14th win in 18 outings — three straight since a two-game skid against Elyria Catholic and St. Edward.
Better yet for the Pioneers, the win keeps them on pace for a possible league title tie with North Royalton should the Pioneers win out in Northeast Ohio Conference play, including a date with the Bears next Tuesday at home.
“We’ve got some goals in mind,” Larrick said. “Kody (Bender) and Isaiah (Walton) are both playing well and I think we’re playing a lot better. We’re getting close to what we want — our effort, our attitude — and how we’re doing things. It’s a lot better than where we’ve been.”
Elyria scored the first nine points Tuesday and built the margin from there, never really letting Mayfield get back into the game.
The Wildcats (5-11) did close a 20-point deficit to 46-35 early in the second half, but the Pioneers quickly put to rest any comeback notion with a 14-1 run to build the lead to 60-36 in the final two minutes of the third quarter.
Walton led the scoring with 21 and Bender added 20, giving him sole possession of third place on the all-time EHS scoring list with 1,132 points — three better than Demetrius Walton, but 219 behind Larrick (1,351) for second place and 287 behind Louis Tumblin (1,419) for first.
“Last couple games we’ve come out with good energy,” Walton said. “That’s what we’ve focused on. It’s good that we can do that because it sets us off on a good tone.”
“We wanted to get off to a good start and get going right away,” Bender said. “We don’t want the other team to have a chance.”
Larrick got good minutes from starters Anthony Duckett, A.J. Johnson and Dontae Dukes, as well as Tavon Kurtz, Jarred Schultz, Ronnie Smith, Da’Jaun Glover and Hunter Parshc off the bench.
“A lot of guys did,” Larrick said of the good effort. “Jarred came out and gave us energy at the post and I thought all of our guards off the bench were really good. Anthony Duckett is starting for us and did a great job. I thought Ronnie, Da’ Da (Glover) and Hunter came off the bench for us in different spots. Da’ Da, Ronnie and Tavon really sped the game up. Tavon did a great job finishing inside.
“A lot of guys scored. We’ve got to be consistent in what we do for four quarters.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 80, Mayfield 58
MAYFIELD (58): Kris Martin 3-0-6, Conner Koski 3-5-12, Zach Nahta 5-0-12, Alex LoPiccolo 4-2-10, Ricky Tagg 1-3-6, Ryan Bruno 0-0-0, Matt Flowers 3-0-6, Mike Galloway 2-0-4, Brook Krajcirik 1-0-2, Patrick Tighe 0-0-0, Joey Casey 0-0-0, Thomas Strasshofer 0-0-0. Totals 22-10-58.
ELYRIA (80): Kody Bender 8-4-20, Dontae Dukes 0-1-1, Isaiah Walton 6-8-21, Anthony Duckett 4-0-10, A.J. Johnson 2-0-4, Da’Jaun Glover 1-0-3, Jarred Schultz 2-0-4, Tavon Kurtz 4-0-8, Ronnie Smith 2-0-4, Hunter Parsh 1-0-3, Damon Stewart 0-0-0, Rodger Jamison 1-0-2. Totals 31-13-80.
Mayfield 18 8 14 18 — 58
Elyria 25 19 21 15 — 80
Three-point goals: Mayfield 4-15 (Nahta 2, Koski, Tagg), Elyria 5-17 (Duckett 2, Walton, Glover, Parsh); Field goals: Mayfield 22-48 (46 percent), Elyria 31-58 (53 percent); Free throws: Mayfield 10-14 (71 percent), Elyria 13-15 (87 percent); Rebounds: Mayfield 23 (Koski 7), Elyria 30 (Walton 6); Turnovers: Mayfield 20, Elyria 15; Total fouls: Mayfield 12, Elyria 19; Technical foul: Walton, Mayfield bench.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 74-50