CLEVELAND — Lorain coach John Rositano wanted to get his young Titans an early-season test against a top team in a hostile environment.
Cleveland Central Catholic, a perennial area power, played the part perfectly … and ended Lorain’s perfect start to the season.
Senior Delshawn Jackson scored 25 points as the Ironmen defeated Lorain 73-62 Tuesday night in a non-league game at St. Stan’s Social Center.
The Ironmen (2-1) used a pair of Jackson 3-pointers to fuel a 14-6 run to end the first quarter and take a 22-14 lead, forcing the Titans to play catch-up the rest of the night.
“We lost the game in the first half,” Rositano said. “You can’t shoot the ball 25 percent and expect to stay in the game against a team that shoots the ball that well. We’ll learn from this. It’s a good learning experience for us. That’s why we schedule this kind of game against a good veteran team on the road. We’ll learn and get better from it.”
Junior guard Devone Grant led the Titans (3-1) with 25 points while junior Taevon Pierre-Lewis added 16.
After Lorain fell behind by 18 early in the third quarter, the Titans battled back to cut their deficit to 11 only to see Central Catholic go on another 10-2 run to take their biggest lead at 65-46 with just over five minutes to play in the game.
“We have players who are not only young but inexperienced on a varsity court,” Rositano said. “Against a good veteran team like Central Catholic when you make mistakes you just get taken apart. The little mistakes we make, they took advantage of them.”
Jaiden Sledge, one of only two seniors on the Lorain roster, was the only other Titan in double figures with 12 points.
In the first half, the Ironmen held Lorain to 27 percent shooting (10-for-37), and while Lorain did a good enough job taking care of the basketball, only committing 13 turnovers, it could never put together a string of successful field-goal attempts to make a serious run at the Ironmen.
Dyshawn Jackson, Delshawn’s twin brother, had 14 points for the Ironmen while Ronald Billups has 12.
“Lorain is always a tough team to beat every year no matter who they have,” Central Catholic coach Jordan Duke said. “We came out with a mindset to defend better tonight, and we defended a heck of a lot better than we did last Friday against Benedictine and that’s what got us over the hump.”
Thanks to the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s new competitive balance initiative, Central Catholic is a now a Division I program like Lorain.
While the Ironmen sometimes live and die at the 3-point arc, Lorain is better suited to driving the ball to the hole, something Central Catholic saw on tape as it prepared for the game.
“We knew Lorain wasn’t really big on shooting threes so we clogged the paint a little bit to try to force them to shoot more threes,” Delshawn Jackson said. “Our coaches set up a real good game plan for us. We just came out and executed it right.”
The Titans never got closer than nine points in the second half.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Cleveland Central Catholic 73, Lorain 62
LORAIN (62): Jodeci Crite 1-0-2, Jordan Jackson 1-1-3, Taevon Pierre-Louis 5-5-16, Devone Grant 11-1-25, David Weatherington 1-0-2, Justin Ruiz 0-2-2, Jaiden Sledge 5-0-12. Totals 24-9-62.
CLEVELAND CENTRAL CATHOLIC (73): De. Jackson 9-3-25, Jerry Coleman 2-0-4, Anthony Billups 4-2-12, Ronald Jenkins 1-2-4, Dy. Jackson 6-1-14, Taryl Davis 2-2-6, Rayshawn Ford 0-2-2, Dwight Love 1-0-2, Trevon Wells 2-0-4. Totals 27-12-73.
Lorain 14 13 17 18 — 62
CCC 22 18 15 18 — 73
Three point goals: Lorain (Grant 2, Sledge 2, Pierre-Lewis), Cleveland Central Catholic (De. Jackson 4, Billups 2, Dy. Jackson). Field goals: Lorain 24-63 (38 percent), Cleveland Central Catholic 27-50 (54 percent). Free throws: Lorain 9-17 (53 percent), Cleveland Central Catholic 12-16 (75 percent). Rebounds: Lorain 30, Cleveland Central Catholic 32. Turnovers: Lorain 13, Cleveland Central Catholic 17. Total fouls: Lorain 15, Cleveland Central Catholic 15.
Junior varsity: Cleveland Central Catholic, 57-46