by Don DiFrancesco
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OHIO– Cleveland Heights High School welcomed back former coach Jim Cappelletti on Friday night as they formally dedicated the “Cappelletti Court” in his honor. The Tigers then followed up with a hard-fought win over Lorain, 65-55, clinching the Lake Erie League crown in the process.
Heights started quickly, running out to a 15-4 lead, but Lorain responded with a 10-2 run and trailed by only three as the first quarter ended.
The second and third quarters were evenly played. The lead changed hands several times with neither team able to gain an edge greater than six points.
Cleveland Heights finally was able to use a sizable 31-21 rebounding advantage to control the game in the fourth quarter. With 1:38 to play, Grayson Green’s basket gave the Tigers a 10-point lead after receiving a perfect pass from teammate Yahel Hill. Lorain’s Devon Grant quickly responded with a layup, but Heights’ Javon Roberts sank two free throws and the Tigers were able to run off most of the final minute on the clock for the victory.
With the win, Heights (13-6, 10-0 LEL) secured a league championship with three games remaining in their season. Tyreke Smith was the Tigers’ high scorer with 20 points. Hill survived a cold start (only 3 points in the first half) to finish with 15, and Roberts tallied 14.
Lorain (13-6, 7-3 LEL) had the leading scorer in the game as Grant poured home 22 points. The Titans’ Taevon Pierre-Louis also was in double figures with 11 points.
Lorain 14 15 19 7 = 55
Cleveland Heights (home) 17 11 23 14 = 65