WESTLAKE — Justin Koepp asserted himself early and late in leading Elyria to its second win to start the season.
Koepp, the lone returning starter off last year’s Sweet 16 team, scored 11 points in the first quarter and added eight more in the fourth as the Pioneers got past Westlake 55-44 on Tuesday.
He also pulled down 16 rebounds, had a couple blocked shots and an assist in leading the way. Westlake fell to 1-1.
“I knew it would be a real physical game,” the 6-foot-7 senior said. “This was (Westlake’s) first game at home so I knew they’d have the crowd with them. We just had to come in with good intent and keep our heads up high.”
Koepp was well on his way to a double-double in the first quarter with 11 points and six rebounds as Elyria grabbed the first quarter edge 19-14.
For a time, it appeared he and freshman point guard MarSaun Robinson would do all the scoring. It wasn’t until Deviian Williams knocked down a pair of free throws that any other Pioneer contributed to the point total.
Robinson finished with a career-high 11 points while Williams scored 13 and had 10 rebounds.
Westlake kept things interesting, however, outscoring Elyria 10-1 to start the second quarter for a 24-20 lead. But the Pioneers managed to regain the advantage by halftime and push it out from there.
“We’re going to have quarters where we score a lot,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “We’re going to have some where we don’t. We understand that. It’s kind of who we are. Our first road game on a Tuesday, we knew Westlake would be ready to play.”
It was Williams who came up with back-to-back buckets to really help seal the game. The Demons had trimmed a 39-31 deficit to 39-36 when Williams came to the rescue.
He hit a soft jumper in the lane and drove in for another basket to answer Anthony Rego’s rebound field goal for Westlake. Koepp’s three-point play pushed the lead back to 46-40 with just over two minutes to play.
“I was off at the beginning of the game,” Williams said. “Coach told me, ‘If you play hard, big things will come,’ Our goal was to box out people and get rebounds.”
Rego led Westlake with 18 points and eight rebounds. Steven Brewer had seven rebounds.
“We did a really good job with some adversity,” said Koepp, who picked up his fourth foul early in the final quarter but managed to play through it. “We were pushing the ball and trying to get the ball to me. I wanted to be a leader out there and do what I could.”
Elyria had trouble closing out its first game at Bay, missing the front end of three one-and-ones in the fourth quarter before winning in overtime on Williams’ half-court buzzer-beater.
There were no such problems Tuesday. Koepp was 7-of-12 at the line, including hitting six in a row in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Roman Carter was 4-for-4 down the stretch. The Pioneers made 10 of their 11 fourth-quarter free throws.
“We talked about learning from the first game,” Larrick said. “It was almost an identical situation. Koepp gets four fouls and we’re up a little bit. (Tuesday) we execute better, spaced the floor better and we made free throws better.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria 55, Westlake 44
ELYRIA (55): Dontae Beckett 1-0-3, MarSaun Robinson 4-0-11, Deviian Williams 5-2-13, Roman Carter 0-4-4, Justin Koepp 7-7-22, Will Waddell 0-0-0, Caleb Rogers 1-0-2, Josiah Grantham 0-0-0, Izaiah Thomas 0-0-0, Josh Ball 0-0-0. Totals 18-13-55.
WESTLAKE (44): Neil McGrogan 1-0-2, Anthony Rego 7-3-18, Tommy Lazevnick 4-0-8, Tim Waite 3-1-7, Steven Brewer 1-0-2, Billy Blood 2-0-4, Carter Bednar 0-0-0, Vince McGervey 1-0-3, Christian Kirallah 0-0-0. Totals 19-4-44.
Elyria 19 8 9 19 — 55
Westlake 14 12 5 13 — 44
Three-point goals: Elyria 6-18 (Robinson 3, Beckett, Williams, Koepp), Westlake 2-7 (Rego, McGervey). Field goals: Elyria 18-51 (35 percent), Westlake 19-49 (39 percent). Free throws: Elyria 13-17 (76 percent), Westlake 4-9 (44 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 32 (Koepp 16), Westlake 32 (Rego 8). Turnovers: Elyria 10, Westlake 12. Fouls: Elyria 11, Westlake 15. Technical foul: Brewer. Fouled out: Brewer.
Junior varsity: Elyria, 47-42