Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Elmwood Royals top Lake, take charge of Suburban Lakes League

The opportunity to move into a tie for first place with Elmwood in the Suburban Lakes League standings presented itself Thursday night to Lake.

However, an abysmal night shooting the basketball ultimately betrayed the Flyers as the Royals streaked to a 60-43 victory at Owens Community College.

The Flyers, who were averaging 70 points per game on their temporary home court this season, went 18-for-58 (31 percent) from the field against the Royals. They were 2-for-14 (14 percent) on 3-point attempts.

"When you miss 40 shots in a game, you're not going to win," Lake coach Ryan Bowen said. "We had some really good shots, and they just didn't go in."

The Royals (10-3, 6-1 SLL) claimed the win on an evening when they sank 22-of-46 shots (48 percent), many of which came from close range inside the foul lane.

Kevin Hammer led the Royals with 23 points, and T.J. Waldock pumped in 16 to help ruin the Flyers' plans of trying to tighten the league race.

"Give them credit, they did play hard, but I don't think Lake shot as well as they could," Elmwood coach Ty Traxler said. "We'll take that break."

Josh Tantari and Ra'Shad Smith paced the Flyers (8-6, 4-3 SLL) with 10 points apiece, while Dylan Hirzel added nine points.

Lake opened Flyers Parents' night by jumping out to a 7-2 lead. It looked like the Flyers were out to avenge a loss earlier in the season against the Royals.

However, Elmwood closed the opening quarter by outscoring Lake 16-6 to take an 18-13 lead into the second quarter.

Hammer scored nine points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer to put Elmwood in front 11-9 with over three minutes to play in the period.

The Royals never trailed the Flyers for the rest of the evening.

"Kevin is definitely developing into one of our go-to guys," Traxler said. "Kevin has a knack for scoring. If his shots are not falling, he can attack the basket."

Elmwood led by as many as seven points in the second quarter before taking a 27-21 lead into halftime.

The Royals put together an 8-2 run midway through the third quarter and owned a 35-25 lead when Jay Hannah (eight points) scored with over four minutes left in the period. Elmwood closed out the quarter with a comfortable 45-33 advantage.

"I don't think we really came out and played well in the first half," Hammer said. "In the second half, we knew if we could jump on them early we could put them away."

The Flyers continued to shoot poorly in the second half and never really found their shooting touch. It led to the Royals holding on to a double-digit lead throughout the fourth quarter.

In the end, the Flyers may have missed out on a chance to put themselves in position for a league title.

"We tried to get that into our kids' heads," Bowen said. "Hopefully it wasn't a little too much for them and they weren't overwhelmed.

"But we'll bounce back."

NOTE: Cleveland Browns representative Matt Yunker presented a check to Lake Schools representatives worth $20,000 at halftime. The donation from the Browns and the NFL will be used to help with the construction of locker rooms at the new high school, according to Lake Schools superintendent Jim Witt.

Contact Donald Emmons at: or 419-724-6302.

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