MENTOR — It’s hard to imagine any team shooting the ball or playing any better than Mentor did during the first half Friday night against Elyria.
The numbers were staggering as the Cardinals swooped past the Pioneers 97-58 in a Greater Cleveland Conference finale.
Here’s some first-half numbers for Mentor:
** Made 15 of 19 from 3-point range.
** Shot 79 percent from the floor by hitting 26 of 33 from the field.
** Made 14 consecutive shots at one point.
** Senior Matt Sabin came off the bench to knock down five of six 3-pointers in the second quarter.
** Scored 20 unanswered points to go from an 11-10 lead to 31-10.
** Had no turnovers.
** Finished with 39 points in the second quarter, hitting nine of 10 3-pointers.
** Shot 88 percent (15-of-17) in the second quarter.
** Led 68-28 at halftime.
“Fourteen in a row,” Mentor coach Bob Krizancic said. “That’s amazing at any level. Matt Sabin’s that good of a shooter though. The impressive thing, it was every starter and Caleb Piks and Matt Sabin. We’ve shot well in games but that’s off the charts right there.”
The Cardinals (18-2, 12-2 GCC) won the GCC title and will complete their regular season tonight with Lake Catholic and a makeup Tuesday at Massillon Jackson before entering tournament play as the top seed at Euclid.
Elyria (8-14, 2-12) is seeded fifth in its district and will host Strongsville, a team it has beaten twice this year, on Wednesday to open tournament play. That’s the same matchup as last season when the Mustangs surprised the field by advancing all the way to the district final before losing 58-55 to Lorain.
It’s the Pioneers’ worst regular-season finish since 2009 when they were 2-18 in Brett Larrick’s first year at the helm.
There wasn’t much Elyria could do early except grab a fire extinguisher and try to cool off the Cardinals.
“Give them a lot of credit,” Larrick said. “After the first couple minutes, we got some stops and rebounds, we had some chances but then they shot the ball well.”
It became contagious. Eight Mentor players hit a 3-pointer, and Sabin was simply unstoppable while scoring 20 points. He hit one 3-pointer in the second half when the Cardinals finally cooled off (13-of-36).
Mentor’s hot shooting forced Elyria’s defenders to come out and cover the perimeter, which allowed the Cardinals to make a pass inside for several easy layups.
“(Sabin) made five in the second quarter to make his senior night — way too many uncontested looks,” Larrick said. “Problem with their threes, we didn’t have hands on them. Gotta contain the ball and contest. I think we used four or five different defenses. We had to find some pride that worked.”
Elyria outscored Mentor 30-29 in the second half. MarSaun Robinson (12 points), Caleb Rogers (10), Jahkai Owens (10) and Will Waddell (nine points, eight rebounds) tried to make the best of it.
“We battled,” Larrick said. “I thought we ran through our offense a little bit better. I thought we defended actually a little bit better. Give Coach K a lot of credit. He played a lot of guys. He didn’t have to. Very class move, very respectful move.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Mentor 97, Elyria 58
ELYRIA (58): Aiden Carter 3-0-7, MarSaun Robinson 4-4-12, Caleb Rogers 5-0-10, Josiah Grantham 2-0-4, Will Waddell 3-3-9, Jahkai Owens 5-0-10, Dez Shelton 1-2-4, Izaiah Thomas 0-2-2, Jahmil Reed 0-0-0, Jesse Stevens 0-0-0, Daylan Sharlow 0-0-0. Totals 23-11-58.
MENTOR (97): Luke Chicone 1-0-3, Luke Floriea 5-0-14, Chad Rogers 9-0-19, Mason Tribisky 4-1-10, Alex Edwards 4-0-9, Caleb Piks 4-0-10, Ian Kipp 3-0-6, Matt Sabin 7-0-20, Nyzier Fourqurean 0-0-0, Cael Gray 0-0-0, Cam Miller 0-0-0, Jaron Grantz 0-0-0, Timmy Shea 1-0-3, Noah Corwin 0-1-1, Jeff Norwood 0-0-0. Totals 39-2-97.
Elyria 10 18 19 11 — 58
Mentor 29 39 18 11 — 97
Three-point goals: Elyria 1-12 (Carter), Mentor 17-33 (Sabin 6, Floriea 4, Piks 2, Chicone, Rogers, Trubisky, Edwards, Shea). Field goals: Elyria 23-51 (45 percent), Mentor 39-69 (56.5 percent). Free throws: Elyria 11-15 (73 percent), Mentor 2-7 (29 percent). Rebounds: Elyria 31 (Waddell 8), Mentor 34 (Floriea 5). Turnovers: Elyria 12, Mentor 4. Fouls: Elyria 11, Mentor 16.
Junior varsity: Mentor, 50-38.