Lorain Titans’ defense too much for Norwalk Truckers

NORWALK — The game certainly didn’t start the way Lorain wanted, but its defense was more than up to the task of holding Norwalk in check until the Titans’ offense found their stroke in the second half.

After that, it was all Titans as they cruised to a 41-30 non-conference win over the Truckers.

“We’re an offensively challenged team,” Lorain coach Mark Feldmann said. “Anyone who has followed us this year knows that we struggle to score.”

Those offensive struggles were apparent early, as Lorain scored just three points in the first quarter. Fortunately for the Titans, they were playing a team that has had offensive problems of their own all season in Norwalk.

“I didn’t think we played as hard as we could,” Norwalk coach Brock Manlet said. “We’re not a great offensive team by any means. We’ve got to scrap defensively, and rebound to make up for our lack of size and height. We lost that in the second half.”

The Titans had a horrendous first half shooting the ball, which was in part thanks to the 2-3 zone Norwalk played.

“In our conference, everybody plays us man-to-man, because they can. Everyone in the LEL has enough speed to man us up,” Feldmann said. “We’ve only seen two or three teams play the 2-3 zone against us. I think we ran our offense well and got good shots. In the first half we weren’t knocking them down.”

Those shots that weren’t falling in the first two quarters were suddenly dropping in from all over the court as the Titans matched their 15 first-half points with another 15 in the third quarter alone. With 6:05 left in the third quarter, senior Ashley Malone came up with a steal and took the ball to the hoop for a layup that gave the Titans their first lead of the game. They never looked back.

Lorain was led in scoring by sophomore Gretchen Conibear’s 14 points, most off her four 3-pointers. She was also helped out junior Destiny Wilson, who added 11.

As they’ve had all season long, Lorain had a distinct advantage in the middle in the 6-foot-3 frame of senior Alex Harris, a Penn State commit. While Harris didn’t have her most explosive game, offensively, of the season, her ability to clog up the paint cause the Truckers fits all night.

“Alex only averages 11 points a game. Everybody wants Al to score, but you can’t force it sometimes,” Feldmann said. “She finished the game with 16 rebounds. She blocked six shots, but she also changed about 20.”

Manlet agreed that Harris was a problem for his team the whole game.

“We’re used to it now. We’re 20 games into the season, and every team we play seems to have somebody that height,” Manlet said. “It makes it hard for us. It’s hard for us over the top, especially when we’re not hitting shots from outside and have to try to go inside.”

It wasn’t just the Titans’ defense that looked different in the third quarter, as their defense stepped it up as well. The Truckers scored 17 points in the first half, but were only able to muster four in the third quarter, and 13 in the entire second half.

“Because we weren’t able to scrap for rebounds and defense in the second half, Lorain was able to spread the lead on us,” Manlet said. “To top it off, were weren’t shooting the ball well, so the further they got ahead, the harder it was for us to get back in it.”

The Truckers were led in scoring by Kailee Flowers, who had seven points, and Jocelyn Thomas’ six. Feldmann feels that as long as his team can play the kind of defense they played Wednesday night, they can be successful despite their less-than-potent offense.

“Our mantra all year has been defense. We held Norwalk to 30 points,” Feldmann said. “If we can hold people to 31 or 32 points a game, we’ll be OK. This year we’ve been averaging about 36 points a game. That’s been our thing.”

The Titans finished the season with a 14-8 record and will take on Olmsted Falls in tournament play this weekend. Norwalk dropped to 9-11 with the loss and still have two games left in the regular season before they begin postseason play.



Lorain 41, Norwalk 30

Non-Conference

LORAIN — Gretchen Conibear 5-0 14, Alex Harris 2-0 4, Angelique Flores 2-3 9, Destiny Wilson 3-3 11, Onyx Lopez 1-0 3. TOTALS 13-6 41.

NORWALK — Hanna Souslin 2-0 4, Kailee Flowers 3-0 7, Carly Osborn 1-0 2, Alicia Lortcher 1-0 2, Sydnie Fetherolf 1-2 4, Jocelyn Thomas 3-0 6, Makayla Cook 2-0 5. TOTALS 13-2 30.

3-POINT GOALS — L: Conibear (4), Flores (2), Wilson (2), Lopez; N: Flowers, Cook.

Score By Quarters

Lorain (14-8) 3 12 15 11 — 41

Norwalk (9-11) 7 10 4 9 — 30

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Lorain 13 of 45 (29 percent), Norwalk 13 of 39 (33 percent).

Free Throws — L 6 of 21 (29 percent), N 2 of 6 (33 percent).

Rebounds — L 34 (Harris 16), N 26 (Souslin 13).

Turnovers — L 15, N 17.

J.V. — Lorain, 29-27, OT.



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Last Updated: 2/13/2013 11:22:22 PM EST

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