LORAIN — The Titans clamped down when they had to against Clearview.
Leading by three with less than four minutes to play, Lorain utilized long possessions and strong defense to keep the Clippers at bay, securing a 74-63 win against its non-conference rival.
“I thought (Clearview) outworked us, outhustled us,” Lorain coach John Rositano said. “They played really hard. They played like they had something to prove, which they did. I thought the last two or three minutes of the third and in the fourth we got after them a little bit. We forced some bad shots and did the things we were supposed to do. In athletics, when you take someone for granted that’s when upsets happen in sports. One team thinks it’s going to win by stepping on the court and the other thinks it has something to prove.”
The teams found themselves in a back-and-fourth battle for most of the second half — with 10 lead changes in the first 12 minutes. Lorain pushed its lead to 64-59 at the two-minute mark thanks to a David Weatherington layup after a 53-second possession.
Lorain (9-1) stretched things out in the final minutes, forcing Clearview (9-2) to foul. Offensively, the Clippers went into a drought — going 2-of-4 from the free-throw line and being held without a field goal during the final two minutes until Jamir Billings connected on an uncontested 3-pointer as time expired.
It also helped that the Titans had Taevon Pierre-Louis for all of the fourth after sitting out the final four minutes of the third with three fouls. He scored 12 of his 20 points in the final quarter.
“They were pushing us hard,” said Weatherington, who scored 14 points.
“Our coach told us in the locker room to settle down on defense and that was going to win us the game. We played hard on defense and then we saw our score going up. Defense wins you games.”
Lorain’s Devon Grant had a strong game as well, also scoring 20 points, but was shut out in the fourth quarter. He was a big reason the Titans led early, scoring 13 in the first to help Lorain mount a nine-point lead heading into the second.
With Grant in a rhythm, it seemed like the Titans were revving up for a lopsided win, pushing their lead to 27-16 in the opening seconds of the second.
But the Clippers had other plans. Sam Daniels connected on a three and reserve center Anthony Terry converted back-to-back offensive rebounds to cut the Titans lead to four.
“Anthony has been struggling a little bit,” Clearview coach John Szalay said. “A lot of it’s the style we play, but his last three games he’s really contributed. He’s doing everything we ask of him. He’s a big body in there and when he runs the floor he’s really hard to stop inside. I thought he gave us some big minutes tonight.”
Daniels then got hot — scoring 11 of his 16 points in the second. Javon Todd opened the third quarter with an offensive putback and a 3-pointer in what was a barrage of lead changes — occurring on six out of the first seven possessions. Todd led the Clippers with 20 points.
The Clippers also got big minutes off the bench from Josiah Hitchens, scoring nine points and leading the team with seven rebounds. Terry finished with six points and two rebounds. Overall, Clearview stayed with Lorain on the glass — the Titans won the battle by one rebound — but in the fourth Lorain limited the Clippers’ opportunities.
“We were there throughout the whole game,” Todd said. “But they got some rebounds over us because of how athletic they were. We were in the game, they got on a run in the end. They got a lot of rebounds in the fourth quarter on tips.”
Lorain 74, Clearview 63
CLEARVIEW (63): Javon Todd 7-4-20, Sam Daniels 6-3-16, Jaylen Paschel 1-0-3, Gee Newton 0-0-0, Jamir Billings 4-0-9, Josiah Hitchens 4-1-9, Anthony Terry 3-0-6, Darien Jackson 0-0-0. Totals 25-8-63.
LORAIN (74): David Weatherington 6-1-14, Jordan Jackson 4-2-12, Taevon Pierre-Louis 6-8-20, Devon Grant 9-0-20, Jodeci Crite 0-0-0, Kameron Davis 1-0-2, Jaiden Sledge 2-0-6. Totals 28-11-74.
Clearview 16 23 14 10 — 63
Lorain 25 15 12 22 — 74
Three-point goals: Clearview 5-15 (Todd 2, Billings, Daniels, Paschel), Lorain 7-18 (Grant 2, Jackson 2, Sledge 2, Weatherington). Field goals: Clearview 25-48 (52 percent), Lorain 28-46 (61 percent). Free throws: Clearview 8-13 (62 percent), Lorain 11-17 (65 percent). Rebounds: Clearview 28 (Hitchens 7), Lorain 29 (Jackson 8). Total fouls: Clearview 16, Lorain 16. Turnovers: Clearview 10, Lorain 12.
Junior varsity: Lorain, 54-35.