LORAIN — Elyria coach Brett Larrick pondered the question following his team’s tough 62-61 loss to Sandusky in the Lorain County Holiday Classic consolation game Tuesday night at Admiral King.
“We don’t know what a fire is,” Larrick said when asked if he fired his team up at halftime after a lethargic first half for the second straight night. “We think we do, but our guys right now are not learning fast enough. Maybe center stage is too much for them.”
Just as it did the night before against Admiral King, Elyria dug its way out of a hole against Sandusky only to lose at the end. Larrick can only hope the lesson learned from this week’s experience is his team must play hard for four full quarters. The loss was Elyria’s fifth in six games this year and marked the first time the Pioneers have not won at least once in the Classic since 1998. Sandusky improved to 2-3.
The Pioneers had their chances to win. Josh Brubaker’s clutch 3-pointer from the far left baseline tied it at 61 with less than a half-minute to play. Elyria had the ball after Sandusky’s Josh Harvey split a pair of free throws with 10.5 seconds remaining but the Blue Streaks had a foul to give and used it to knock the ball out of bounds with just four seconds left.
After a time out, the Pioneers got the ball in but were not able to get a good look and misfired from long range.
“We didn’t get a good shot off,” said Larrick. “We didn’t get exactly what we were looking for. We had guys in different spots and Travis (Noble) had fouled out but the game had nothing to do with a last-second shot. The game was won and lost in the first half when Sandusky came out and played harder than we did.”
Elyria trailed 25-22 following Eric Santo Domingo’s free throw with just over two minutes left before intermission, but just as Admiral King did on Monday, Sandusky closed out the half on a nine-point run and a 34-22 lead.
There were too many scoring lapses on Elyria’s part, even though it played harder and with more intensity over the final 16 minutes. The Pioneers were scoreless for nearly a
four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter that allowed Sandusky to take a 57-50 lead with three minutes left. Elyria outscored the Streaks 11-4 to tie the game.
“With (Elyria) coming back, we could have folded,” said Sandusky coach Steve Keller. “But we didn’t do that. We continued to battle. After they tied the game, we got a great offensive rebound by Josh Harvey and he got fouled and went to the line.”
Noble, Elyria’s leading scorer (19 points) and rebounder (11), fouled out sending Harvey to the line for the game-winner.
Mike Cannon wound up with 13 points and Chase Ferris added 11. Four Blue Streaks headed by Kiewann Collins’ 13 points hit double figures. Collins finished with 10 rebounds, Harvey nine.
“Our young men battled and handled the adversity,” said Keller. “I was really pleased at the end of the game to get that defensive stop.”
Contact Tim Genhardt at 329-7135
Sandusky 62, Elyria 61
SANDUSKY (62): Dominique Stovall 5-0-11, Kiewann Collins 5-3-13, Josh Harvey 4-2-10, Jarrod Williams 5-0-10, Cordney Strickland 3-0-7, Jay Page 4-2-10, Zak Esposito 1-0-2, Willie Irby 0-0-0, Taj Dickerson 0-0-0, Isaiah Johnson 2-0-5. Totals 26-7-62.
ELYRIA (61): Mike Cannon 5-2-13, Maurice Woods 0-0-0, Travis Noble 7-2-19, Matt Velazquez 0-0-0, Chase Ferris 4-3-11, Will Rudolph 2-0-4, Josh Brubaker 3-0-9, Brandon Mueller 1-0-2, Eric Santo Domingo 1-1-3, Dimitrius Lovett 0-0-0. Totals 23-8-61.
Sandusky 15 19 13 15 — 62
Elyria 15 7 23 16 — 61
Three-point goals: Sandusky 3-15 (Stovall, Strickland, Johnson). Elyria 7-18 (Noble 3, Brubaker 3, Cannon). Field Goals: Sandusky 26-54 (48 percent). Elyria 23-61 (38 percent).