ELYRIA — It’s hard to gauge an opening night performance when you win by 46 points but one thing is evident with Elyria High.
It plays defense.
The Pioneers took advantage of 15 first-quarter turnovers and scored the game’s first 19 points on their way to a 65-19 win over a young and inexperienced Beaumont in Friday’s opening round of the 15th annual Holiday Classic at the EHS gym.
Elyria faces crosstown rival Elyria Catholic, a six-point winner over Lorain in Friday’s first game, for tonight’s 7:30 final, hoping to bring the crown back to EHS after a two-year hiatus.
“We were ready to play, obviously at the beginning,” Elyria’s coach Mike Walsh said. “We were excited about it. The tournament’s back at our place. On the defensive side, we were focused in.”
Beaumont started three freshmen and two sophomores against Elyria’s veteran crew led by senior Mary Jones, who scored 18 points to nearly outpoint the Blue Streaks by herself. Two other Pioneers reached double figures — juniors Jocelyn Spraggins and Alexis Middlebrooks. Spraggins finished with 14 points while Middlebrooks chipped in 12 and collared nine rebounds. Walsh was able to play all 13 of his players early and often. Freshmen Josie Zucca took honors for Beaumont with seven points.
“(Middlebrooks) complained to me she wasn’t getting any rebounds early,” Walsh said. “She said all our baskets are coming on fast breaks.”
True. Beaumont attempted only one field goal in the first quarter and didn’t make any until freshmen Caitlyn Lux threw in a short runner in the lane with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Elyria led 50-6 at that point.
“Primarily whatever we scored in that first quarter came off of our defense,” said Walsh. “We hit some outside shots, too. It got us going.”
Elyria was 10-of-17 from the floor in the first quarter and 17-of-28 in the first half to Beaumont’s 0-of-11. Jones had all but three of her scoring total in the first half.
“We knew we had to come off the bat ready to go,” she said. “Our defense is really good. We call it the ‘Wolf Pack’. Once we get ourselves going, we executed it well. Our goal is to make (the opponent) make a mistake, take quick shots so we can rebound. Alexis Middlebrooks is a great rebounder and we all crash the boards.”
“We were trying to keep our focus,” Walsh said. “We were able to get some three-on-ones, some four-on-ones. I know how young Beaumont is. I know the situation - first year coach. She’s (Alicia Giannell) just trying to build something. I think she started three freshmen, so it’s going to take them a little bit of time.”
Beaumont will play Lorain in tonight’s 6 p.m. consolation game.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at (440) 329-7135 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
BEAUMONT (19): Nicole Cramer 2-0-4, Josie Zucca 2-3-7, Jessie Glenn 0-1-1, Caitlyn Lux 2-0-4, Rebecca Lochman 0-0-0, Leslie Milkie 1-0-2, Holly Sirk 0-1-1, Megan Williams 0-0-0. Totals 7-5-19.
ELYRIA (65): Sybil Roseboro 2-0-4, Mary Jones 6-5-18, Jocelyn Spraggins 7-0-14, Alexis Roseboro 3-0-6, Alexis Middlebrooks 5-2-12, Shayla Middlebrooks 0-0-0, Mariah Johnson 0-0-0, Bryanna Trozzo 2-0-4, Mikayla Christian 3-0-6, Cheyenne Rodriguez 0-0-0, Meaira Williams 0-1-1, Sierra White 0-0-0, Alexandria Dick 0-0-0. Totals 28-8-65.
Beaumont 2 2 6 9 — 19
Elyria 23 17 14 11 — 65
Three-point goals: Beaumont 0-1, Elyria 1-7 (Jones). Field goals: Beaumont 7-25 (28 percent), Elyria 28-58 (48 percent). Free throws: Beaumont 5-9 (55 percent), Elyria 8-12 (66 percent). Rebounds: Beaumont 22 (Zucca 3), Elyria 32 (A. Middlebrooks 9). Turnovers: Beaumont 35, Elyria 14. Fouls: Beaumont 8, Elyria 16. Fouled Out: None. Junior Varsity: Elyria 58-13.