Shaker Heights, Ohio – It was a battle for just over 20 minutes, but host Shaker Heights pulled away in the second half to rout Elyria, 72-47.
They did so without the services of senior forward Chris Guess, who got in early foul trouble.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Shaker Heights pulled out to a 22-13 lead before Elyria went on a 14-5 run to tie the game at 29 late in the first half.
After Elyria tied the game early in the third quarter, the Red Raiders stepped up big time on both ends of the court to pull away. On defense, they pressed Elyria into several turnovers, and converted on the other end by making baskets in the paint. They held the Pioneers without a field goal in the fourth quarter until Izaiah Thomas’ layup with 1:36 left, and outscored the Pioneers 40-15 the rest of the game.
Senior forward and Fairmont State commit Dale Bonner scored 20 points to pace the Red Raiders.
“We came together as a team. One of our teammates went down, so we stepped up.” said Bonner.
Senior guard Justin Phillips had 13, and the Red Raiders also got contributions from Kevin Bishop, Dakota Cochran, and Najee Hardaway, who had 11 and ten points, respectively.
“Our biggest adjustment was the press. We forced more turnovers, which led to more possessions, which led to buckets.” said Phillips.
“The guys bought in tonight.” said Shaker Heights head coach Danny Young. “We challenged them defensively and they stepped up and did what we wanted them to do.” he added.
“We did what we were supposed to in the first half, then we stopped attacking and doing what we did. Effort just died. It just totally died.” said Elyria head coach Brent Larrick. “Shaker played really hard and was unselfish. You have to give them credit.” he added.
Senior forward Deviian Williams had 13 points to lead the Pioneers, and senior forward Justin Koepp had ten points.
Shaker Heights improves to 12-6 overall and 8-3 in the Greater Cleveland Conference, and has a big week up ahead as they travel to state-ranked Solon for a rematch on February 13, and Strongsville on February 16th.
Elyria drops to 9-10 overall and 3-8 in the Greater Cleveland Conference, and hosts Brunswick on February 13th, then travels to Euclid on February 16th.