LORAIN — One minute ninth-seeded Berea-Midpark seemed to have Lorain on its heels, the next minute Lorain was celebrating its 15th 3-pointer as time expired on a 75-50 win in a Division I sectional final Saturday.
Top-seeded Lorain (22-1), playing in front of a raucous crowd, put the finishing touches on an undefeated home season and moved on to a district semifinal matchup with fourth-seeded Avon on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Elyria Catholic.
“We just tried to play with good energy and intensity like we have all season,” said Lorain’s Devon Grant, who had six threes and a game-high 23 points. “There was a great crowd supporting us and we appreciate that.”
Lorain is seeking its fourth district title in the last five years.
“These tournament games are tough and Berea-Midpark played hard,” Lorain coach John Rositano said. “I thought over time we just extended the lead and took care of our business.”
A close game through the first half seemed destined to continue in the second as the teams traded baskets early in the third quarter.
That all changed following a three from Grant that ended a two-minute scoring drought and gave Lorain a 42-32 lead. From there, Lorain used defense to get two layups and another Grant three and a 49-34 lead.
The run took less than 90 seconds.
“They gave us a little push and were physical,” Grant said. “This type of game will only help us going forward.”
Even after Lorain’s run, Berea-Midpark (14-10) got back within single digits briefly early in the fourth quarter. But Lorain responded with another fast-paced run, turning an eight-point lead into a 20-point lead in two minutes.
Deonte Benejan’s three in transition capped the offensive push, giving Lorain a 65-45 lead with 3:30 to play.
“It was great to play in front of such a great crowd and it definitely gives us a boost,” Benejan said. “It feels really good when you can knock down big shots in this type of atmosphere.”
Lorain’s offensive success coincided with its defensive activity. Almost every time its aggressive, full-court pressure caused a turnover — and Berea-Midpark had 19 — Lorain pounced and turned it into points.
“We settled in during the third quarter and we made them go through the heart of our defense which caused them some problems,” Rositano said.
Benejan, scored 16 and helped Lorain get some breathing room early in the second quarter with three straight 3-pointers.
“We did a good job of using our defense to get easy offense,” Benejan said. “We like to get after people and get out in transition.”
“I’m really proud of my guys and the way they fought tonight,” Berea-Midpark coach Duke Barther said. “We got a tough draw with Lorain so early but our guys have nothing to hang their heads about.”
Lorain 75, Berea-Midpark 50
BEREA-MIDPARK (50): Omar Siggers 1-2-4, Austin Mills 1-0-2, Dwayne Hollands 6-1-13, Lian Levesque 2-3-7, Jordan Cupach 1-0-3, Josh Finkovich 3-1-9, ShaDaryll Clark 1-0-2, Alex Kvak 4-2-10. Totals 19-9-50.
LORAIN (75): Aaron Whitehead 0-0-0, Jordan Jackson 5-0-12, Taevon Pierre-Louis 3-3-10, Devon Grant 8-1-23, Deonte Benejan 6-0-16, Kam Davis 2-0-5, Luis Suarez 1-0-3, Aiden Brown 3-0-6. Totals 28-4-75.
Berea-Midpark 16 12 13 9 — 50
Lorain 19 16 18 22 — 75
Three point goals: Berea-Midpark 3-12 (Finkovich 2, Cupach), Lorain 15-34 (Jackson 2, Pierre-Louis, Davis, Suarez, Grant 6, Benejan 4). Free Throws: Berea-Midpark 9-17 (52 percent), Lorain 4-5 (80 percent). Total fouls: Berea-Midpark 11, Lorain 17. Turnovers: Berea-Midpark 20, Lorain 8.