Lorain Titans struggle late in loss to Cleveland Heights Tigers

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Titans guard Alex Harris shoots a layup during the second quarter Saturday at Lorain High School.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Tigers forward Ashanti Abshaw, left, dribbles down the baseline during the third quarter Saturday at Lorain High School.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Titans head coach Mark Feldmann calls a play during the third quarter Saturday at Lorain High School.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Tigers forward Ashanti Abshaw, right, leaps to the basket during the third quarter Saturday at Lorain High School.

LORAIN — Coach Mark Feldmann has a big reason to be concerned about his team because for the second straight week, the Titans took an early lead and failed to close a team out, this time falling to Cleveland Heights 48-36 on Saturday at Lorain High.

The Titans led 21-9 just 41 seconds into the second quarter, but only scored 17 points the rest of the way. Lorain (6-4, 3-2) committed 35 turnovers against an aggressive Cleveland Heights (6-2, 4-0) defense.

“We just don’t know how to win games yet,” Feldmann said. “We’re mentally soft, a mentally soft team. When the kitchen gets hot, we have a number of players that just kind of melt. You can’t do that against good teams.

“I thought we outplayed them most of the game, and we just turned it over.”

Last week in a loss to Shaw, the Titans held a seven-point lead with less than two minutes to go in regulation. The Cardinals came back to tie the game and eventually won 64-59 in overtime.

Lorain outscored the Tigers 19-9 in the first quarter, but only led 26-22 at halftime after Cleveland Heights went on a 6-1 run in the final 48 seconds. The Tigers turned up their defense in the second half, forcing 21 Lorain turnovers and limiting the Titans to just 2 of 14 shooting from the field, including a stretch between the third and fourth quarters when Lorain didn’t score for about 7:56.

Cleveland Heights outscored Lorain 18-3 in the final quarter to take control of the game.

“The second half was just all about us playing our game,” Cleveland Heights coach Kim Hansen said, “doing the right things on the court, playing aggressive defense, rebounding. I think the second half was the Cleveland Heights Tiger team and we just struggled to show that early on.”

Alex Harris led the way for Lorain with 11 points, and added seven rebounds and five blocks. Ashley Malone fell short of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Lorain’s guards had so much trouble dealing with Cleveland Heights’ full-court pressure that the Titans needed Harris, a 6-foot-3 senior, to bring the ball up the court several times in the second half.

“You shouldn’t have to do that,” Feldmann said. “It takes her out of the post. It’s just unfortunate. It’s a shame. The way we played in the second half and the way we melted and folded like a deck of cards, it’s just a real shame.”

Cleveland Heights’ Ashanti Abshaw led all scorers with 19 points, including all nine first-quarter points for the Tigers. She was held scoreless through the next two quarters, but gave her team its first lead by splitting a pair of free throws with 5:43 left in the fourth, the first of her 10 points in the final quarter.

“Down the stretch when it counted, she carried the team on her shoulders,” Hansen said. “She was the one that wanted the ball. She was finishing, she hit her free throws. I told Ashanti, ‘That’s just a sign of a great player.’”

Feldmann said his team is only going to go as far as its young guards take them.

“We don’t improve unless our guards improve,” he said. “I have eight players that I play a majority of the time and I can’t just go down to the J.V. and find more guards. If our guards don’t stop turning the ball over, and getting nervous, then we won’t improve as a team.”

In honor of the victims of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Titans players wore green headbands and the coaches wore green ribbon pins during the game.

Cleveland Heights 48, Lorain 36

Lake Erie League

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS — Darnisha Williams 3-2 8, Daesha Avery 2-0 4, Arion Jackson 4-2 10, Raven Porter 1-2 5, Tiffany Cross 1-0 2, Ashanti Abshaw 6-6 19. TOTALS 17-11 48.

LORAIN — Alex Harris 4-3 11, Angelique Flores 2-3 8, Destiny Wilson 2-1 6, Ashley Malone 3-3 9, Onyx Lopez 1-0 2. TOTALS 12-10 36.

3-POINT GOALS — CH: Williams, Porter, Abshaw; L: Flores, Wilson.

Score By Quarters

Cleveland Heights (6-2, 4-0) 9 12 8 18 — 48

Lorain (6-3, 3-2) 19 7 7 3 — 36

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Cleveland Heights 17 of 54 (31 percent), Lorain 12 of 34 (35 percent).

Free Throws — CH 11 of 23 (48 percent), L 10 of 17 (59 percent).

Rebounds — CH 31 (Abshaw 7), L 26 (Malone).

Turnovers — CH 22, L 35.

J.V. — Cleveland Heights, 53-20.

@Bielik_Tim

Last Updated: 12/22/2012 9:16:20 PM EST

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