ELYRIA — Demetrius Dalton knows his spot on the floor.
Get the ball to the 5-foot-9 Elyria senior somewhere at the top of the 3-point arc and he’ll usually drain it.
Saturday, he made the most memorable shot of his career with two seconds left in overtime to give the Pioneers a 79-78 win over Sandusky and their third straight Lorain County Holiday Classic championship. Elyria (5-2) won its sixth Classic title in the 10-year history of the event.
“It was right at the spot where we set him up for a three all the time,” said Elyria coach Bob Walsh. “He ended up right on that spot.”
“I didn’t think I would make it,” Dalton said with his usual big smile. “I was nervous but I just hit it. Big Myke (Mykel Williams) picked it up, gave it to me and I just fired it up. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
What happened sent Sandusky home with their hearts broken after the Blue Streaks had seemingly put the game on ice behind a 44-point performance from 5-5 senior Cole Prophet. Prophet sank two free throws and drained a pull-up 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime, and his driving, twisting layup with 1:06 left in the extra session put the Streaks up 78-74 and seemed to put the game away.
At one point, Elyria missed four straight free throws before Williams made the front end of a two-shot situation to pull the Pioneers within 78-75 with just over 30 seconds left. Dalton added a free throw with 25 ticks remaining and somehow Elyria came up with the ball for one final possession. The ball got away and was rolling around when Williams scrambled after it and got it to Dalton at the top of the key.
“We were very fortunate to be on the right end when the buzzer went off,” Walsh said.
“We fought and we competed,” said Sandusky coach Steve Keller. “Elyria played well. We played well. I’m just really proud of our guys. Wished we could have come out on top. That last play the ball is just bouncing around. It’s a tough situation because it’s in transition. (Dalton) made it. I hope we come away from this and get better.”
“Demetrius, without question, played his best game — on both ends of the floor,” Walsh said. “His defense was super. He helped out on the defensive end, he rebounded, he passed the ball well — he just had a real good game.
“It got a little shaky but they pulled it together when they had to.”
Elyria played its best basketball of the season in the second quarter while building a 41-31 halftime lead, but Sandusky chipped away at it during the second half. The Blue Streaks put together an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter and take a 64-58 lead. Elyria’s Promis Cabbil picked up three quick fouls in the stretch, sending him to the bench with four.
“It hurt us a lot to have Promis off the floor,” said Walsh. “(The Blue Streaks) had their guy (Prophet) out there the whole game and boy is he tough. You can’t say enough about that kid.”
Prophet hit 15 of 25 from the floor and found the range on eight of 12 from beyond the 3-point line. At the foul line, he hit his last six throws after missing his first shot. Prophet wasn’t afraid to go inside with dribble penetration, either.
“The thing is I don’t think we played bad defense on him,” Walsh said. “We had someone around him all the time when he scored. His shooting is outstanding.”
Just the same, with Seryrell Davis (18 points, 11 rebounds), Travis Noble (11 points, five boards) and Williams (five points, six boards) keeping it together inside and Dalton (28 points) and Rayshawn Camel (10) controlling the basketball outside, Elyria stayed in the game. The Pioneers scored nine unanswered points to regain the lead, 67-64. Davis’ unbelievable 3-point play with just under a minute left gave Elyria what seemed to be a safe 72-67 cushion until Prophet worked his magic to send it to OT.
“For the most part, that’s a good game to grow on,” Walsh said. “Either team could have won that game. We were fortunate to make a shot just before the buzzer went off.”
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Elyria High’s Demetrius Dalton and Seryrell Davis headed the six-man all-tournament team as selected by the coaches at the Lorain County Holiday Classic. Sandusky’s Cole Prophet and Martell Brown along with Admiral King’s Adrian Casey and Vermilion’s Derek Barbato were also voted to the all-tourney team.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SANDUSKY (78): Cole Prophet 15-6-44, Eric Jordan 0-0-0, Kiewann Collins 1-0-2, Martell Brown 5-1-11, Rick Niehm 4-0-11, Donte Walk 0-3-3, Dominique Harris 1-2-4, Corey Gilbert 0-0-0, Diamond McKinney 1-0-3. Totals 27-12-78.
ELYRIA (70): Promis Cabbil 2-3-7, Demetrius Dalton 11-1-28, Rayshawn Camel 3-3-10, Seryrell Davis 7-4-18, Travis Noble 5-1-11, Michael Higginbotham 0-0-0, Mykel Williams 1-3-5, John Yeaples 0-0-0, Alex McKenna 0-0-0, Ricky Smallwood 0-0-0. Totals 29-14-79.
Sandusky 15 16 22 19 6 — 78
Elyria 11 30 15 16 7 — 79
Three-point goals: Sandusky 12-19 (Prophet 8, Niehm 3, McKinney). Elyria 7-20 (Dalton 5, Camel, Noble). Field goals: Sandusky 27-59 (46 percent). Elyria 29-73 (40 percent). Free throws: Sandusky 12-19 (63 percent). Elyria 14-24 (58 percent). Rebounds: Sandusky 41 (Niehm 9), Elyria 34 (Davis 13). Turnovers: Sandusky 27, Elyria 18. Fouls: Sandusky 19, Elyria 15. Fouled out: Cabbil, Brown.