ELYRIA — Westlake fell behind Elyria by 15 points early in their Division I sectional final at Elyria Catholic on Wednesday night.
At that point, the Demons had the Pioneers right where they wanted them.
That’s because they opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run and continued to roll for the next 2½ quarters, a comeback that propelled them into a five-point lead with under five minutes to play.
But that was Westlake’s high-water mark in what eventually turned into a Pioneers’ 48-45 overtime victory.
The Pioneers’ Alexis Middlebrooks hit two baskets from close range late in the fourth quarter, the second of which created overtime with a 40-40 tie.
Then sophomore guard Sybil Roseboro went to work. After Mary Jones opened overtime with a basket, Roseboro nailed a big 3-point shot with 2:35 to play, drove for a basket with 52 seconds left and added a free throw to seal the Pioneers’ victory.
For their work, the Pioneers (15-8) advanced to a district semifinal clash with Amherst at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Coliseum. Amherst defeated Lorain 47-38 in the second sectional final of the night.
The fourth-quarter/overtime rally unfolded when it looked as though Elyria would be derailed by the 15-9 Demons. It was a boost for the Pioneers, who were knocked out of the tournament in the first round last season.
“I knew after I hit that (three) we had to keep playing defense if we were going to catch up,” Roseboro said. “Even though we were down and weren’t scoring, I tried to step up and score a little bit more. When we’re down, since we’re not an amazing offensive team, we have to bring our defense in and play some great defense. We had to keep that up, too.”
Jones, who scored a team-high 17 points, nailed three of the Pioneers’ four 3-pointers. She scored one each in the second, third and fourth quarters.
“I must say that was a thrill, a thrill ride,” Jones said. “We came back and kept going and I’m very happy about that. In all my years playing at Elyria, we’ve never made it into March Madness (still in the tournament during March). That’s a real motivation for me — I want to go to March Madness.”
Westlake, which took a 10-point deficit into halftime, spent most of the third quarter engineering an 8-0 run and trailed just 31-27 going into the fourth. During the period, Westlake’s pressure defense forced seven Elyria turnovers after the Pioneers had committed only eight the entire first half.
Monica Fury, the Demons’ freshman post who is already attracting attention, scored four points in the third, added seven in the fourth and scored all five Westlake points in overtime. She finished with a game-high 20 points.
Elyria coach Mike Walsh was unhappy with the way his team squandered a big lead. But he was very happy with the outcome.
“Have you ever seen anything like that?” he said. “I have no idea what turned them around. I never use all my timeouts, but I used every timeout just to tell them a joke and get them relaxed. I said, ‘Guys, we’re playing awful and we’re winning by five’ at halftime. They were in a straight panic.
“I told them, ‘We’ve hit lulls like that on offense this season, but if you want to have a chance you have to continue to play defense.’ For a little bit we did, then all of a sudden we were just standing on the defensive end. I can’t really tell you what turned them around.
“Mary hit a couple huge threes and Alexis Middlebrooks finally got one to go in. I don’t know how many layups we missed in the third and fourth quarter, but it had to be close to 20 if not more.”
Elyria 48, Westlake 45 (OT)
WESTLAKE (45): Rebecca Essig 2-0-4, Taylor Hood 0-0-0, Liz Kobe 4-1-10, Maggie Zimmerman 2-0-5, Rachel Collins 2-0-4, Allison Collins 0-0-0, Monica Fury 6-7-20, Kelly Laraway 0-0-0, Madison Dunlap 1-0-2. Totals 17-8-45.
ELYRIA (48): Sybil Roseboro 4-1-10, Shayla Middlebrooks 2-0-4, Mary Jones 7-0-17, Jocelyn Spraggins 3-0-6, Alexis Roseboro 1-1-3, Alexis Middlebrooks 4-0-8, Sierra White 0-0-0, Mariah Johnson 0-0-0. Totals 21-2-48.
Westlake 4 14 9 13 5 — 45
Elyria 19 9 3 9 8 — 48
Three-point goals: Westlake 3-20 (Fury, Zimmerman, Kobe); Elyria 4-7 (Jones 3, S. Roseboro). Field goals: Westlake 17-63 (27 percent); Elyria 21-61 (34.4 percent). Free throws: Westlake 8-11; Elyria 2-9. Rebounds: Westlake 43; Elyria 36. Turnovers: Westlake 18; Elyria 20.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.