LORAIN — John Rositano understands it’s going to be an up-and-down season offensively for his Lorain Titans, but fortunately the defense remains as solid as a rock.
Lorain earned a 64-59 non-conference win over Strongsville on Saturday night after forcing 27 turnovers to help offset the Titans’ 38 percent shooting performance.
The Titans (2-0) rallied from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win behind the inside scoring punch of Taevon Pierre-Louis (21 points) and Devon Grant (16). Lorain allowed just eight points in the final quarter.
“It’s a young group,” Rositano said. “It’s like a rollercoaster. You look really good in spurts and other spurts it’s like, ‘Man.’ It’s inexperience, it’s youth, but like I just told them the talent level always fluctuates but everybody has the ability to have heart.
“That’s two games in a row we’ve faced adversity and got down a little bit and they never flinched and a lot of young teams will flinch and you’ll get a little frustrated but our guys keep playing.”
Lorain won its opener 49-48 at Vermilion on Tuesday.
Strongsville (0-2) and its 6-foot-6 senior point guard Omari Peek threatened to blow open Saturday’s game in the opening moments. Peek scored the game’s first seven points as the Mustangs galloped out to a 14-8 first-quarter advantage.
But Lorain went on one of its patented runs — scoring 11 unanswered points capped by a 3-pointer from Jaiden Sledge. The Titans held a 34-27 lead at halftime after outscoring Strongsville 26-13 in the second quarter.
Strongsville hit five 3-pointers and outscored Lorain 24-11 in the third quarter to take a 51-45 lead into the final quarter.
“I think some of it they just expect to win,” Rositano said. “It’s a carryover from the last four or five years when we’ve been winning big. They just figure they should win. We’re just pulling games out.”
Pierre-Louis scored 15 of his points in the second half. Grant had 10 of his in the first half. Pierre-Louis also yanked down nine rebounds and came through with a number of nice passes for assists.
“We’re an inexperienced group,” Pierre-Louis said. “It’s going to take us awhile for us to get ourselves together. Toward the end, we pulled ourselves together and got the win.”
Another key was the defensive work of 5-foot-6 junior Kameron Davis, who hounded and pestered Peek most of the night. Peek led Strongsville with 15 points, but after his initial burst to start the game he wasn’t much of a factor.
“I just do whatever my team needed me to do,” Davis said. “If I need to get rebounds, I’ll do that. If they need me to play defense, I’ll do that.”
Davis was a big factor in Strongsville’s 27 turnovers.
“Through experience, I’ve found big guys that handle the ball don’t like to be guarded by little guys,” Rositano said. “They don’t like those little hands digging in there. It makes them uncomfortable.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorain 64, Strongsville 59
STRONGSVILLE (59): Ali Awada 2-0-6, Omari Peek 6-2-15, Bernie McGivern 3-0-8, Sami Farraj 4-1-11, Shaun Csire 3-2-8, Tre Massey 1-0-2, Kevin Lawler 2-0-4, Jalen Garner 2-0-5, Jose Monterrosa 0-0-0. Totals 23-5-59.
LORAIN (64): Jodeci Crite 2-1-5, Jordan Jackson 4-0-9, Taevon Pierre-Louis 9-3-21, Devon Grant 8-0-16, David Weatherington 1-0-2, Justin Ruiz 1-0-3, Jaiden Sledge 3-2-8, Kameron Davis 0-0-0. Totals 27-6-64.
Strongsville 14 13 24 8 — 59
Lorain 8 26 11 19 — 64
Three-point goals: Strongsville 8-15 (Awada 2, McGivern 2, Farraj 2, Peek, Garner), Lorain 4-14 (Sledge 2, Jackson Ruiz). Field goals: Strongsville 23-43 (53 percent), Lorain 27-71 (38 percent). Free throws: Strongsville 5-10 (50 percent), Lorain 6-8 (75 percent). Rebounds: Strongsville 38 (Csire 9), Lorain 29 (Pierre-Louis 9). Turnovers: Strongsville 27, Lorain 8. Fouls: Strongsville 9, Lorain 15.
Junior varsity: Lorain, 36-30.