ELYRIA — An early 3-point barrage and an aggressive full-court press fueled Elyria to a victory over Oberlin on Saturday.
Elyria knocked down six threes in the opening quarter to build a double-digit lead, and held off a feisty Oberlin team the rest of the way for a 64-47 non-conference win.
Taylor Mehl led the early shooting spree with three straight 3-pointers and Cora Sanders helped Elyria preserve the victory with a big second half.
Elyria improved to 3-12, while Oberlin fell to 3-12.
“We were moving the ball really good, which helped us get some open shots,” Mehl said. “I think that our shooting also helped get us going on defense in our press.”
The teams played pretty evenly the final three quarters, as Oberlin looked like a different team than the one from the first quarter.
The Phoenix outscored Elyria in the second and third quarters, but the hole dug early was just too much to recover from.
Sanders was the main reason Elyria was able to keep its lead, especially in the third quarter.
Oberlin got its deficit down to single digits twice in the third, but Sanders came through with big plays both times to get the lead back up over 10 points.
One of her big sequences came after the Phoenix got within 41-36, the closest it had been since the opening moments. Sanders scored on a driving layup then got a steal and made two free throws to push the lead to 45-36.
“I just was trying to be aggressive and do whatever it took to help my team,” said Sanders, who had 18 points and four assists. “Being a point guard, I try to make sure my team is set up first then make the best play.”
Sanders also had a layup plus the foul in the third and led all scorers in the quarter with nine points while also coming up with three steals.
“Our shooters did a good job of opening up the floor and I was just able to find some open space,” Sanders said.
Elyria put together one of its best quarters of the season in the opening eight minutes. The Pioneers had two 12-0 runs during the quarter and their full-court press forced 13 turnovers.
Four Pioneers knocked down at least one three as they raced out to a 24-5 lead.
“We let them come back but we continued to play hard and showed some resiliency,” Elyria coach Anthony Brown said. “We had a lot of girls step up and make some huge plays.”
The teams traded baskets in the second quarter, but the Phoenix played a much cleaner quarter with just two turnovers.
Oberlin senior Karissa Rankin dominated the defensive end, coming up with three blocks and a steal. She was the best offensive player on the floor in the second half, scoring 15 of her game-high 23 points.
“I thought we played a lot better after that first quarter,” Oberlin coach Tiffany Dotson said. “We played very hard but may have ran out of gas a little bit later in the fourth.”
Angelina Aulisio and Jaidah Gonzalez chipped in 14 and 13 points for Elyria.
Contact Paul Williams at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Elyria 64, Oberlin 47
OBERLIN (47): Angie Clement 0-0-0, Victoria Jackson 4-3-12, Casey Amato 1-0-2, Mar’Rriyonna Froust 2-0-4, Nya Grady-Norman 1-0-2, Ajia Witherspoon 2-0-4, Karissa Rankin 10-3-23. Totals 20-6-47.
ELYRIA (64): Marche Robinson 0-2-2, Danah Ewing 1-0-3, Taylor Mehl 3-0-9, Angelina Aulisio 6-0-14, Jaidah Gonzalez 4-4-13, Cora Sanders 6-5-18, Alyssa Wilson 0-1-1, Alaysia Ward 1-2-4. Totals 21-14-64.
Oberlin 5 16 19 7 — 47
Elyria 24 14 12 14 — 64
Three-point goals: Oberlin 1-6 (Jackson), Elyria 8-19 (Ewing, Mehl 3, Aulisio 2, Gonzalez, Sanders). Free throws: Oberlin 6-20 (30 percent), Elyria 14-20 (70 percent). Total fouls: Oberlin 18, Elyria 16. Turnovers: Oberlin 26, Elyria 15.