NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Open Door knew that Lake Ridge’s Devin Gabriel needed to be held in check if the Patriots were going to have a chance against the Lions on Tuesday night.
Gabriel, who transferred from Elyria before the school year, managed to score 21 points and grab 13 rebounds despite the best efforts of the Patriots defense. Those points and rebounds came in spurts, however, as the Patriots clamped down on Gabriel at key moments throughout the game and held off a late rally by the Lions for a 54-50 win.
“I thought we did a great job defensively on Gabriel,” said Open Door coach Todd Wright. “We had Jimmy Filko on him most of the night and he did a tremendous job. We knew that he was going to get points and rebounds but we didn’t want him having a career game against us.
“He had a double-double but his opportunities were limited.”
Gabriel didn’t get his first points until he hit a 3-pointer 36 seconds into the second quarter. It cut the Open Door lead to 18-10. With Gabriel on the board, the Open Door defense ramped up its focus on him, and that opened up things for the other Lake Ridge players. Four other Lions hit buckets in the quarter as Lake Ridge cut the lead to 28-23 at halftime.
Lake Ridge (1-7) came out firing in the third quarter as Matt Plecha (nine points) opened the second half with a 3-pointer. Open Door (2-8) answered with a 5-2 spurt that included a Preston Phillips 3-pointer. Lake Ridge came back with a pair of free throws by Gabriel and a Chris Miller basket to cut the Open Door lead to 33-32 with 4:39 left in the quarter.
Unfortunately for the Lions, Gabriel went scoreless for the rest of the quarter and the Patriots went on a 14-0 run that gave them a commanding 47-32 lead with 7:12 left in the game.
Game over, right?
Not yet, as the Lions came roaring back.
Miller’s second basket of the half started a 6-0 run that cut the deficit to 47-38. Following a basket by Open Door’s Jahleel Moon, Lake Ridge went on a 7-0 run that tied the game at 49 as Gabriel converted two free throws with 2:19 remaining.
But the Lions couldn’t get over the hump.
They missed their next four field-goal attempts and were forced to start fouling.
“They did a nice job on Gabriel tonight,” said Lake Ridge coach Bernie Clark. “They didn’t give him a lot of opportunities but he did capitalize on the ones he did get. We got close a few times but could never get over the hump.
“I liked our effort out there tonight and it’s too bad we couldn’t come away with a win.”
Open Door 54, LRA 50
OPEN DOOR (54): Preston Phillips 3-4-12, Jahleel Moon 6-0-12, Connor Hardt 3-3-9, Nick Cipriano 3-0-8, Jordan Wright 0-4-4, Andrew Patterson 2-0-4, Jimmy Filko 1-0-3, Danny Stintsman 1-0-2. Totals 19-11-54.
LAKE RIDGE (50): Devin Gabriel 5-10-21, Matt Plecha 3-2-9, Scot Chris 1-2-4, Jay O’Neill 2-0-4, Chris Miller 2-0-4, Nathan Lyon 1-1-3, Danny Fulop 1-0-2, Jimi Seidel 1-0-2, Austin Gatchell 0-1-1. Totals 16-16-50.
Open Door 13 15 14 12 — 54
Lake Ridge 7 16 9 18 — 50
Three-point goals: Open Door 5 (Phillips 2, Cipriano 2, Filko), Lake Ridge 2 (Gabriel, Plecha). Field goals: Open Door 19-51 (37 percent), Lake Ridge 16-43 (37 percent). Free throws: Open Door 11-22 (50 percent), Lake Ridge 17-23 (74 percent). Rebounds: Open Door 32 (Hardt 10), Lake Ridge 29 (Gabriel 13). Turnovers: Open Door 13, Lake Ridge 15. Total fouls: Open Door 23, Lake Ridge 19. Technical foul: None. Fouled out: Wright, Patterson, Plecha, Miller.
Junior varsity: Open Door, 46-45.
Contact Hans Schneider at 329-7135 or email@example.com.