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Lorain Titans' Devon Andrews gives ‘new life’ in comeback win over Avon Lake Shoremen
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Lorain’s Rashod Berry makes a layup during the second quarter in a Division I Grafton District sectional final between the Titans and the Shoremen at Midview High School on Friday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE The Titans celebrate as they take the lead late in the fourth quarter in a Division I Grafton District sectional final between the Titans and the Shoremen at Midview High School on Friday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Lorain’s Louis Cheers drives to the basket during the second quarter in a Division I Grafton District sectional final between the Titans and the Shoremen at Midview High School on Friday.
MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon Lake head coach Eric Smith draws up a plan with time for one last play during the fourth quarter in a Division I Grafton District sectional final between the Titans and the Shoremen at Midview High School on Friday.
Friday, however, it needed what senior Andre Phillips called “new life.”
Down two in the dying seconds of regulation, Devon Andrews’ game-tying basket with two seconds left gave his team just that and the Titans beat Avon Lake in overtime, 66-59 in the Division I Grafton Sectional Final.
Despite being outrebounded by 16 and only shooting 13 of 31 from the free-throw line, Lorain made the plays it needed to late in the game to win its second sectional title in three years.
“I don’t know how we won,” Lorain coach Andy Bastock said. “The kids were very resilient. We made a couple of big plays down late in that fourth quarter to send it to overtime. That really energized our kids.”
Andrews led the way for Lorain with 21 points, but the Titans got a big boost from Phillips who had 15 of his 19 points in the second half, including three 3s.
“I didn’t want to go home,” Phillips said. “I was just telling myself, ‘I ain’t going home. I ain’t going home.’ So every shot I took, I just wanted to make sure it was going in. And I was just feeling it.”
The Titans (11-12) outscored the Shoremen (14-9) 15-7 in the final quarter despite losing both Louis Cheers and Rashod Berry to fouls in the final minutes. After Cheers fouled out with 1:50 to go and his team down by one, his sub, Gerald Howard, hit a jumper with 1:18 to go for his first points of the game to give his team a 52-51 lead.
The Shoremen shot 74 percent from the line, but two crucial misses late opened the door for Andrews’ game-tying tip-in.
“Sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat to the guys when they make the play,” Avon Lake coach Eric Smith said. “You tip your hat to a kid like Andrews that goes, and makes a play (late) to tie the game. Big momentum swing right there.”
Three Shoremen had double-digit rebounds, including Jimmy Hessel and Mitch Gabanic who each had double-doubles. But the Shoremen committed 14 turnovers after the first half that allowed the Titans to hang around.
When Andrews forced the game to overtime, it was all Lorain as the Titans outscored the Shoremen 12-5 in the overtime period.
“I think we’ve got winners on this team,” Bastock said. “We’ve got kids who don’t quit, kids who are team players. They know what the strengths of the team are, and they’re not selfish about it. They want to get the ball to Devon or Louis and get them to score.
“Then Louis had a bad game today and Andre picked it up. I think what it says about my team is we’ve got a group of good kids that’s doing the right thing and working hard, and it’s paying off for them.”
On two fronts, the win was a little measure of revenge for the Titans. They had lost to the Shoremen back in December in the Lorain County Holiday Classic final, and saw their season end a year ago in a double-overtime loss to Olmsted Falls in the sectional tournament.
After coming back from a 13-point deficit on Monday to beat Avon, the Titans had to overcome an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime. When Andrews tied the game and sent it to overtime, Phillips knew his team could complete its second comeback of the week.
“Once we got that new life, once we got that second chance, we knew we weren’t going to let it go,” Phillips said. “And we just pulled through, got the win.
“This is the second time in the tournament where we had to fight back. We just battled through and got it.”
Lorain led by six after the first quarter, but the Shoremen grabbed the lead back in the second with a 14-1 run, and led 29-26 at halftime.
Even though the Shoremen’s season came to an end, Smith couldn’t say enough about how proud he was of his team’s effort.
“The thing that maybe I’m the proudest about anything in this group is that they play extremely hard,” he said. “If you play extremely hard on the defensive end of the floor, you always give yourself a chance. We’ve always given ourselves a chance.”
Next up for Lorain is top-seeded Brecksville in a district semifinal on Wednesday. Like the Titans, Brecksville needed overtime to stay alive as it held off upset-minded Olmsted Falls 62-61.
Last Updated: 3/2/2013 12:19:54 PM EST