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Boys HS Hoops: St.Ed’s Hands Lorain First Loss of Season in 81-75 Win

CLEVELAND – Late in the fourth quarter, the undefeated Lorain Titans were on their way to tying the undefeated St. Edward Eagles.

In a quarter that had 60 combined points from both teams, it took back-to-back defensive plays from the Eagles in the remaining seconds to seal their 81-75 win over the Titans, handing them their first loss of the season.

“I think every coach loves to preach about defense,” St. Edward coach Eric Flannery said after the win.

“You can score on offense all you want, but when you win the game by getting the stop by playing great defense, I think that sends a great message for your team.”

The turnovers were polar opposites for Lorain (4-1, 3-0 in Lake Erie League) and St. Edward (7-0) as the Titans turned the ball over 16 times and the Eagles had four.

“When you have the lead, you have to make sure to secure the ball and value every possession,” coach Flannery said.

“I think that we did a good job. We have some experience guards. Mason Lerch, Shane Macalla the Seniors, Michael Bova the second year on varsity. When you have guys like that with the ball in their hands, you are pretty confident as a coach.”

The St. Edward defense was centered around speeding up the tempo, a game plan that the Eagles do not apply often with the goal of having players other than three-star recruit Seth Wilson make plays for the Titans.

As it turned out, players on the Titans’ squad stepped up along with Wilson catching fire as he seemed to have limitless range draining six threes for 35 points, 9 rebounds.

Lorain’s Jamir Billings (20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) made a crucial and-1 putback to put the Titans behind by one point after he made the free-throw with less than 30 seconds left in regulation.

Titans’ guard De’Vante Jackson caught fire in the fourth quarter as he scored seven straight points for Lorain to trail 63-60.

No matter how many points Lorain could put up, there was always that struggle to stop the Eagles from scoring.

St. Edward didn’t have to look far for players to step up as Bova scored 10 fourth-quarter points (22 total points, 4 assists).

Lerch (15 points), Zyion Freer-Brown, and Danny Lavelle played critical roles in the fourth quarter.

Lavelle, despite scoring 5 points, made those baskets with great timing as he made a three-pointer with two minutes left to put the Eagles up by four points.

Freer-Brown brought the hustle as he grabbed five rebounds, and three steals, which included the game-sealing steal. He did all of it coming off the bench to go along with his nine points.

The game’s first half had multiple lead changes. Lorain came out with a 10-3 run to start the game before the Eagles countered with an 8-0 run of their own. Lorain led 14-13 heading into the second quarter.

The Eagles’ defense came into form in the second quarter as it propelled them to go on a 17-2 run that lasted from the beginning of the quarter to 18 seconds left to give them a 30-22 lead at halftime.

Lorain clawed back in the third quarter as they began it with a 7-0 run in the first two minutes to help them go into the fourth quarter trailing 50-46 after Eagles’ Jair Knight made a dunk before the quarter concluded.

Lorain’s forward Jae Von Manning suffered an eye injury while playing and was sidelined.

Both teams will play their next game on Friday, Jan. 22 as Lorain will face Warrensville Heights on the road, and St. Edward will play University School on the road.

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