ELYRIA — Brett Larrick spent all week patching up his basketball team after losing two seniors.
Fortunately for the Elyria coach, he still had a senior named Isaiah Walton to depend on.
With Walton pouring in 37 points, Larrick’s reworked roster and lineup came through with a 59-51 win over Normandy in a Northeast Ohio Conference Lake Division game Friday.
The win raised Elyria’s record to 9-3, 4-1 in the conference, while Normandy fell to 5-7, 2-3.
“We had a real good week of practice,” Walton said. “All of us have been coming together, playing as a team. I think we have a bunch of mentally strong guys to cover up for the missing spots we have.”
Walton certainly did his part, not that he had much of a choice after Jarred Schultz and Ronnie Smith were kicked off the team for breaking school and team rules a week ago.
The 37 points rank among the top 10 individual performances by an EHS player. Not since Demetrius Dalton’s 38-point effort in a regional loss to Lakewood St. Edward in 2008 has a Pioneer scored so many.
On top of that, Walton had nine rebounds and a handful of assists. He also made nine of 12 free throws.
“I’m just trying to play the game,” Walton said. “Just let things come to me. If I have the drive, I take it. If my teammates are open, I give it to them. They’re really stepping up and I trust them.”
“Great start,” Larrick said. “We really defended and rebounded the ball well. It got our offense going. That was nice. We had a great four days of practice — four of the better days we’ve put together in a long time.”
Maybe the start was too good, because the Pioneers certainly struggled in the second period.
Walton, after a 13-point first quarter, went scoreless in the second, and the Pioneers, who outrebounded the Invaders 16-5 in the first eight minutes, were held in check in that department as the Invaders closed out the half on a 19-0 run that erased Elyria’s 25-7 advantage.
“Our goal was to outrebound them,” Normandy coach Tim Schmotzer said. “Contain Walton — hold him to 15 points or under. He got going early and they hurt us on the offensive board the first quarter. Second quarter, I think we did those things.”
The Pioneers didn’t score after Trenell Oliver’s stickback with 6:51 left in the half. Oliver ended up with 14 rebounds.
“At halftime, we felt Walton was going to make or break them,” Schmotzer said. “Well, he scored 24 in the second half. We were trying to run different people at him. We just kind of allowed that to happen.”
To the Pioneers’ credit, after that near-disastrous first-half collapse, they picked it back up in the third quarter. Walton’s personal nine-point run put Elyria back in command 38-30 with 3:42 to play in the third.
“Third and fourth quarter, we did a really good job defensively again,” Larrick said. “Hunter (Parsh) hit a big shot off a pass from Isaiah at the end of the third off a set call. (Isaiah) attacked hard, finished and drew some contact and did a better job pulling up. We had a really solid game from him.”
Elyria hosts crosstown rival Elyria Catholic tonight for the 19th time in history. The Pioneers, who have lost only twice to the Panthers, fell 77-75 at EC a year ago.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 59, Normandy 51
NORMANDY (51): Pete Zaremba 1-0-2, Mickey Newman 1-0-2, Troy Massa 7-1-17, Donny Campbell 3-0-6, Jaret Colovas 2-0-4, Brett Newman 0-0-0, Ken Kitko 1-0-3, Zach Tancak 0-0-0, Tom Potoma 1-1-3, Donny Eberling 5-0-14. Totals 21-2-51.
ELYRIA (59): Hunter Parsh 1-0-3, Isaiah Walton 12-9-37, Anthony Duckett 2-0-5, Trenell Oliver 2-0-4, AJ Johnson 4-0-8, Marquise Dalton 1-0-2, Chris Jameson 0-0-0. Totals 22-9-59.
Normandy 7 19 9 16 — 51
Elyria 21 4 19 15 — 59
Three-point goals: Normandy 7-21 (Eberling 4, Massa 2, Kitko), Elyria 6-14 (Walton 4, Parsh, Duckett). Field goals: Normandy
21-56 (37.5 percent), Elyria 22-46 (48 percent). Free throws: Normandy 2-2 (100 percent), Elyria 9-19 (47 percent). Rebounds: Normandy 26 (Massa, Colovas 6), Elyria 39 (Oliver 14). Turnovers: Normandy 8, Elyria 11. Fouls: Normandy 12, Elyria 8.
Junior varsity: Normandy 44-40.