AVON — It may have been a new venue but it was everything everyone expected when Lorain and Elyria renewed its rivalry Friday night at the 16th annual Lorain County Holiday Classic.
With Avon hosting the event for the first time, the Titans took control as the game wore on to beat Elyria 66-64 for the second year in a row.
Lorain (3-4) faces the host Eagles — a 44-39 winner over defending champion Avon Lake — for the championship tonight while the Pioneers (5-2) will meet the Shoremen in the consolation game.
Since Admiral King and Southview consolidated into Lorain High, the Titans and Pioneers have split four meetings.
Sophomore Daviere Andrews scored a trio of third-quarter 3-pointers to put the Titans in command, 44-36, in what had been a nip-and-tuck game to that point. Those 3-pointers were important for two reasons — not only did they give Lorain the lead but they also drew the Pioneers out of their effective use of combination 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone defenses. Lorain never trailed again, but Elyria never let the Titans feel comfortable until the final buzzer.
“The difference was we made a couple shots,” Lorain coach John Rositano said. “We made a couple shots and loosened up the zone a little bit. We haven’t shot real well this year but (Friday) I thought we made a couple shots. Once we got the lead, it gave us a little confidence.”
The two biggest schools in the county went toe-to-toe until Andrews came alive. Elyria’s Isaiah Walton (22 points, eight rebounds) had just put the Pioneers ahead 36-35 with a three of his own, but with 5:47 left in the quarter Andrews canned his second to start a 9-0 Lorain run.
“We were worried about (the Titans) inside,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “They hit some threes, six threes (total). Two the first half against our zone — not bad.”
Elyria led 31-30 at the half. Neither team had more than a five-point advantage during the first two quarters. Andrews finished with 22 points, while senior Demon Hisle scored 13 and senior Gerald Howard added 12.
“They’re learning what an effort is, they’re learning how to play the game,” Rositano said of his young group. “The effort on both teams was tremendous. Both schools know it’s a rival game.”
“I’ll tell you what, those are some big, strong kids right there,” said Larrick of the Titans. “They do a good job. They were very patient with the zone. Give them credit. I told everybody don’t look at records. That’s a very good team. John does a really good job.”
At one point, the Titans built the lead to 59-49 and traded baskets until the Pioneers rallied to within 61-57 with 1:12 to play. Hisle hit a lay-up and Andrews a runner in the lane around a Walton drive to the hoop to push the lead to 65-59 with 22 seconds left.
Walton added a rebound basket, Howard a free throw and Elyria’s Ronnie Smith closed out the scoring with a 3-pointer as time expired.
Lorain started just one senior — the 6-foot-3 Howard. The rest of the starters were underclassmen, including 6-3 freshman Nazihar Bohannon. The Titans were a bit more physical inside and made Walton earn every one of his points. Senior Jarred Schultz scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Elyria. Junior Hunter Parsh added 12.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorain 66, Elyria 64
ELYRIA (64): Hunter Parsh 5-0-13, Isaiah Walton 8-4-22, Anthony Duckett 0-0-0, Jarred Schultz 6-0-13, AJ Johnson 3-0-6, Ronnie Smith 2-2-7, Trenell Oliver 0-1-1, Marquise Dalton 0-0-0, Chris Jamison 0-2-2. Totals 24-9-64.
LORAIN (66): Eddie Williamson 1-1-3, Gerald Howard 5-2-12, Rashod Berry 4-1-9, Nazihar Bohannon 2-1-5, Daviere Andrews 8-3-22, Demon Hisle 5-0-13, Jaheel Moon 1-0-2, Kevin Davis 0-0-0. Totals 26-8-66.
Elyria 15 16 10 23 — 64
Lorain 14 16 15 21 — 66
Three-point goals: Elyria 7-21 (Parsh 3, Walton 2, Schultz, Smith), Lorain 6-17 (Andrews 3, Hisle 3). Field goals: Elyria 24-60 (40 percent), Lorain 26-58 (45 percent). Free throws: Elyria 9-10 (90 percent), Lorain 8-14 (57 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 33 (Schultz 9), Lorain 30 (Berry 7). Turnovers: Elyria 15, Lorain 13. Total fouls: Elyria 9, Lorain 15. Fouled out: None.
Junior varsity: Lorain, 43-30.