Lorain's Jaiden Sledge shoots against Keith Harris of Warrensville Heights. DAVID RICHARD / CHRONICLE
LORAIN — After Lorain and Warrensville Heights played a quarter Friday night, one thing was clear: the first team to get down and dirty on the defensive end was going to come out on top.
Apparently, Lorain recognized that, as well. So the Titans made a few adjustments that led to a dominant defensive effort in the second quarter and to an eventual 80-49 win.
The Titans improved to 11-2, 5-1 in the Lake Erie League, while the Tigers fell to 8-6, 3-3.
Standout juniors Devon Grant and Taevon Pierre-Louis led Lorain on offense with 19 and 18 points, respectively.
“We picked up on what they were doing and were able to make adjustments to stop that,” Pierre-Louis said. “If we stay solid on defense and get after it, we’re a hard team to beat.”
Though they led 18-17 after the first quarter, the Titans were letting Warrensville Heights senior Shawn Dunnings score at will. Dunnings had 12 points in the first quarter with each one of his baskets coming from within 5 feet.
That changed in the second quarter as Lorain forced the Tigers into more turnovers (seven) than they had points (five) while opening a 33-22 halftime lead.
“We were giving up too many dribble-drive and dump-off scores in the first quarter but we did a much better job of stopping penetration after that,” Lorain coach John Rositano said.
Grant, despite a slow start offensively, used his defense to make a big impact in the first half before scoring 15 points in the second half.
Grant recorded three steals in the second quarter alone and pressured Warrensville Heights’ guards from baseline-to-baseline.
“I always try to bring energy on defense and stop my man from scoring,” Grant said. “I just stayed level-headed on offense and kept shooting with confidence.”
Lorain opened the third quarter strong, scoring the first six points of the quarter to expand its lead to 39-22.
Pierre-Louis and sophomore Jordan Jackson both had highlight-reel dunks in the third quarter. Pierre-Louis jammed a two-handed jam over a Warrensville Heights defender while Jackson had a one-handed dunk after a steal.
Despite all of that, Warrensville Heights continued to fight and chipped its deficit 44-37 late in the third quarter.
Lorain responded with a 9-0 run, however, ending the quarter in a dominant fashion for a 52-40 lead after three quarters.
Grant and Pierre-Louis put the game away in the fourth quarter, combining for 15 straight points.
Pierre-Louis knocked down a three then found Grant for another 3-pointer to extend Lorain’s lead to 69-47 with just over three minutes remaining.
Lorain did the little things well, committing just nine turnovers while shooting 15-for-17 from the free throw line.
Jackson and senior David Weatherington each chipped in 10 points for the Titans.
Dunnings led the Tigers with a game-high 20 points while freshman Ramelle Arnold had 12 points on four three-pointers made.
“Even though we’re young we never get rattled and they do the right things,” Rositano said. “We do a good job of playing through adversity and responding to it.”
Contact Paul Williams at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorain 80, Warrensville Heights 49
WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS (49): Shawn Dunnings 10-0-20, Brandon Rush 2-0-4, Ramelle Arnold 4-0-12, Anthony Wright 1-0-2, Jayvion Williams 0-0-0, Deytin Giddens 0-0-0, Javon Johnson 5-1-11, Daivon Porter 0-0-0. Totals 22-1-49.
LORAIN (80): Jodeci Crite 1-0-2, Jordan Jackson 4-2-10, Devon Grant 5-8-19, Taevon Pierre-Louis 6-4-18, David Weatherington 5-0-10, Levell Hall 4-0-8, Kameron Davis 0-0-0, Brown 1-0-2, Jaiden Sledge 3-1-9, Jaevon Manning 1-0-2. Totals 30-15-80.
Warrensville Heights 17 5 18 9 — 49
Lorain 18 15 19 28 — 80
Three point goals: Warrensville Heights 4-15 (Arnold 4), Lorain 5-14 (Pierre-Louis 2, Sledge 2, Grant). Field goals: Warrensville Heights 22-52 (42 percent), Lorain 30-65 (46 percent). Free throws: Warrensville Heights 1-3 (33 percent), Lorain 15-17 (88 percent). Rebounds: Warrensville Heights 32, Lorain 39. Total fouls: Warrensville Heights 15, Lorain 10. Turnovers: Warrensville Heights 17, Lorain 9.
Junior varsity: Lorain, 58-47