ELYRIA — Brett Larrick drew up the perfect game plan for highly rated Shaker Heights.
Well, almost the perfect plan.
Shaker Heights, regarded as the cream of the Greater Cleveland Conference, overcame the plan and pulled out a 73-68 win Friday night over the gutty Pioneers to improve to 6-1, 4-0 in league play. Elyria fell to 6-3, 2-2.
“We could have drawn it up with a win,” Larrick said. “I’ll tell you what, those guys in the locker room fought like heck. They fought together. They did what we asked and we gave ourselves a chance at the end.”
They certainly did.
The plan was to slow the tempo and frustrate the running Raiders, who have two of Northeast Ohio’s best players in Christian Guess and Dale Bonner. The two combined for 41 points and six rebounds.
Elyria survived a shaky second quarter in which it gave up 28 points thanks in large part to nine turnovers.
Those are the type of quarters Shaker Heights counts on every game it plays.
However, the Pioneers righted themselves in the third quarter and managed to take a 66-65 lead with 2:37 to play in the game on a six-point run fueled by a 3-pointer and technical free throw from Roman Carter and a nice inside basket from Justin Koepp on the ensuing inbounds play.
But the Raiders withstood the rally and scored the game’s next eight points to ice the win. Guess was nailed for a pair of technical fouls during the heat of the quarter — the last one for hanging on the rim with just 6.7 seconds left and Shaker safely leading 73-66.
“We really played hard as a team,” said Carter, who scored a career-high 29 points and made 7 of the 11 3-pointers he shot. “We had to beat their press and run our triangle and press-break and get up the sideline — either me in the stretch corner or Deviian (Williams) on the left and Koepp in the middle.”
Koepp had 16 points and a dozen rebounds. Caleb Rogers, in his first start of the season, added nine points.
Elyria managed to rally in spite Williams fouling out with 3:39 to go. Williams, who scored 10 points and pulled in 10 rebounds, handled Shaker Heights’ full-court pressure for the most part. His fourth foul appeared to be on Carter but the officials called it on Williams’ No. 20 instead of Carter’s 23.
“Couple things didn’t go our way,” Larrick said. “Losing Deviian on the one foul … I didn’t think it was on him — he wasn’t in the play — so he didn’t realize he had four. That’s got to be some awareness on our part but our kids kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance.”
Elyria was whistled for 16 fouls to 10 for the pressing and physical Raiders and two of those were the technical fouls on Guess. By Ohio High School Athletic Association rules, Guess will have to sit out the next two games.
“It was kind of hard to get the pace we wanted with the way the game was called,” Shaker Heights coach Danny Young said. “A lot of calls kind of stopped the momentum a little bit. Elyria played hard and made some big shots against our press. We showed some grit and we showed some fight. We fought through some adversity and were able to come out and get the win.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shaker 73, Elyria 68
SHAKER HEIGHTS (73): Justin Phillips 6-0-16, Kevin Bishop 1-0-2, Christian Guess 6-8-20, Dale Bonner 9-3-21, Najee Hardaway 1-0-2, Dante Benjamin 0-0-0, Rasheen Ali 0-0-0, Dakota Cochran 4-0-9, Demaris Conner 1-0-3. Totals 28-11-73.
ELYRIA (68): Caleb Rogers 4-0-9, Deviian Williams 5-0-10, Roman Carter 10-2-29, Will Waddell 0-0-0, Justin Koepp 7-2-16, MarSaun Robinson 0-0-0, Dontae Beckett 1-0-2, Josiah Grantham 1-0-2, Josh Ball 0-0-0, Izaiah Thomas 0-0-0. Totals 28-4-68.
Shaker 15 28 14 16 — 73
Elyria 17 17 19 15 — 68
Three-point goals: Shaker 6-10 (Phillips 4, Cochran, Conner). Elyria 8-17 (Carter 7, Rogers). Field goals: Shaker 28-58 (48 percent), Elyria 28-54 (52 percent). Free throws: Shaker 11-14 (79 percent), Elyria 4-8 (50 percent). Rebounds: Shaker 25 (Guess, Hardaway 4), Elyria 34 (Koepp 12). Turnovers: Shaker 8, Elyria 18. Fouls: Shaker 10, Elyria 16. Technical foul: Guess 2. Fouled out: Williams, Guess.
Junior varsity: Shaker Heights, 58-57