ELYRIA — Elyria Catholic’s Jeremy Holley stood outside of the Panthers locker room after Friday’s game against Rocky River bloodied but satisfied.
Holley had 12 points and 15 rebounds before leaving the court after taking an inadvertent elbow to the nose with 1:03 left to play in Elyria Catholic’s 44-34 West Shore Conference win.
While still wearing his blood-stained T-shirt, Holley, one of three seniors on the Panthers roster, talked about how important the win was to his team.
“We’ve never beaten Rocky River in my team here so this is really huge for us,” said Holley, who scored all of his points in the second half. “We’re starting to put it all together and play better, so to get a win like this at home is really important going into the tournament.”
Elyria Catholic (10-9, 6-7) raced out to a 19-7 first-quarter lead only to see its offense stall in the second quarter, scoring just two points on a Jacob Kuchta jumper with 3:45 left in the half.
Kuchta finished with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
The Pirates (5-14, 5-8) came back to cut the Elyria Catholic lead to 21-18 at the half.
“We came out with a different kind of energy tonight,” Kuchta said. “We got away from that in the second quarter and at halftime we refocused and came out strong in the third quarter. We’ve had a problem finishing games all year so it was really big to be able to build the lead back up.”
The Pirates never led but they never went away either. They trailed by six with 1:48 to play after Charlie Swartz hit a pair of free throws. Elyria Catholic then went on to score the final four points of the game.
Jack Corrigan led the Pirates with 13 points.
“I’m so proud of how we played tonight,” Elyria Catholic coach Phil Kuchta said. “Rocky River is a tough team and we have a lot of respect for their coach and the program they have built. It’s been a long time since we’ve beat them.
“We started strong then we got away from the thing that helped us build that early lead, but I was exceptionally pleased with how we played in the fourth quarter. We took care of the ball and played smart basketball.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 44, Rocky River 34
ROCKY RIVER(34): Eric Jones 1-5-7, Jack Corrigan 5-1-13, Charlie Swartz 0-3-3, Jackson Farling 1-0-2, Bernard Frohnapple 1-0-2, Jimmy Kinsley 3-1-7. Totals 11-10-34.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (44): D.J. Graham 1-2-4, Conner Riddell 2-0-5, Jeremy Holley 4-4-12, Jacob Kuchta 4-2-12, James Tibaso 4-1-9, Colden Schemmel 1-0-2. Totals 16-9-44.
Rocky River 7 11 7 9 — 34
Elyria Catholic 19 2 12 11 — 44
Three-point goals: Rocky River (Corrigan 2), Elyria Catholic (Kuchta 2, Riddell). Field goals: Rocky River 11-38 (29 percent), Elyria Catholic 16-38 (42 percent). Free throws: Rocky River 10-17 (59 percent), Elyria Catholic 9-12 (75 percent). Rebounds: Rocky River 25, Elyria Catholic 28. Turnovers: Rocky River 13, Elyria Catholic 11. Total fouls: Rocky River 11, Elyria Catholic 11.
Junior varsity: Elyria Catholic, 61-39