AVON LAKE — Some teams come out and try to run their opponents out of the gym with fast breaks and a full-court press.
Avon Lake prefers to lull its opponents into a feeling of complacency and then go in for the kill.
That was exactly what the Shoregals did Saturday as it build a double-digit lead early in the second half and rolled to a 48-33 non-league win over Lorain.
Sophomore Arianna Negron led all scorers with 18 points, doing much of her damage from the free throw line in the second half.
“I take the shots when I’m open but I really just try to pass it around and play within the team,” Negron said.
Passing the ball around and playing as a team is what the 7-3 Shoregals do best. When Avon Lake is running its offense at close to perfection it can have possessions that last nearly a minute, eventually ending with an open look at the basket when the opposing defense breaks down.
The other benchmark of the Shoregals is their consistency.
Negron was the only Avon Lake player in double figures in scoring but the team had five girls who scored between four and eight points.
“Remember the old Bobby Knight quote, ‘You win ballgames at practice,” Avon Lake coach Dave Zvara said. “Right now that’s what we’re doing. Our practices have been phenomenal and it’s carrying over to the game. We’re working hard and doing things the right way. They’re unselfish and looking for the good shots.”
Shoregals have on six in a row after starting the season 1-2.
Lorain (3-5) shot 67 percent from the field in the first quarter but still trailed 14-10. A number of careless turnovers plus the inability keep the Shoregals off the offensive boards doomed any hopes the Titans had to pull off the upset.
The Titans fell behind by as many as 17 on two occasions in the second half but made a 15-6 run in the fourth quarter to briefly close the deficit to eight.
Junior Nae Bohannon led Lorain with 12 points, nine on a trio of 3-pointers.
“It becomes a mental thing because Avon Lake is so patient on offense,” Lorain coach Mark Feldmann said. “If you get down by six you feel like you have to score right away and then go and play good defense for two minutes to get another shot. It’s tough on our kids. I liked the way we fought back and didn’t give up.
“This basketball thing is a small part of life, it’s here to teach us lessons. If our kids learned about battling and not giving up then we accomplished something today. I don’t expect many of the girls on the court today are going to play in the WNBA and I know I’m not going to coach there so the life lessons you take from basketball are what’s really important.”
After allowing 10 points in the opening quarter, the Shoregals picked up their defensive intensity and held Lorain to five points in each of the second and third quarters.
“Our defensive strategy is to keep a tight defense and double team up top,” junior Amber Achladis said. “Sometimes if we start off slow it’s like we have a mountain to climb. The past couple of games we’ve tried to start out really, really fast. We’ve been on a good winning streak and that’s one of our goals every game is to get ahead early.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avon Lake 48, Lorain 33
LORAIN (33): Nae Bohannon 4-1-12, Phyllicia Weatherspoon 1-0-2, Nemaja Grant 3-0-6, Mackenzie Barricklow 1-0-2, Tanya Llanos 3-1-7, Mikiya Hermon 2-0-4. Totals 14-2-33.
AVON LAKE (48): Anna Robinson 3-0-8, Amber Achladis 2-2-6, Arianna Negron 5-8-18, Bridget Molnar 1-0-2, Grace Dean 3-0-6, Devin Medved 1-1-4, Kelsey Simmerly 1-2-4. Totals 16-13-48.
Lorain 10 5 5 13 — 33
Avon Lake 14 9 14 11 — 48
Three point goals: Lorain (Bohannon 3), Avon Lake (Robinson 2, Medved). Field goals: Lorain 14-44 (32 percent), Avon Lake 16-40 (40 percent). Free throws: Lorain 2-6 (33 percent), Avon Lake 13-23 (57 percent). Rebounds: Lorain 34, Avon Lake 33. Turnovers: Lorain 21, Avon Lake 12. Total fouls: Lorain 19, Avon Lake 10. Fouled out: Grant.
Junior varsity: Avon Lake, 49-15