Lake's Josh Tantari shoots a basket over Elmwood defender Aaron Arnold. Tantari finished with 24 points for the undefeated Flyers.
Lake completely controlled the boards to create second chances and built a 15-point lead over Elmwood at the half on Thursday night.
The Flyers dominated in the paint to post a 67-55 victory at Owens Community College.
Lake remained undefeated and finished with a 39-22 advantage on the boards. The Flyers (4-0 overall, 2-0 Northern Buckeye Conference) used a 16-5 run midway through the second quarter and took a 37-22 lead at the half.
Lake senior Dylan Hirzel recorded a double-double. The 6-foot-5 forward scored 11 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
The Flyers' Josh Tantari led all scorers with 24 points. Tantari scored 13 in the first half to help Lake build an insurmountable edge. Lake senior RaShad Smith totaled 10 points.
Elmwood senior Tyler Rosendale scored a team-high 22 points. Junior Zach Foster tallied 13 and sophomore Aaron Arnold chipped in with 10 for Elmwood (1-2, 0-2).
Of the 39 rebounds for Lake, 21 come on the offensive end. Hirzel had nine offensive boards.
"When you get that many offensive boards, you get second opportunities to shoot, and we have shooters that can make it," Hirzel said. "We worked on rebounding all week because we knew Elmwood crashed the boards hard, and they have some big boys. We just crashed them harder."
Hirzel had four offensive rebounds in the second quarter when Lake extended a 17-9 lead into a 15-point cushion at halftime. Tantari hit a 3-pointer to give his team a 28-13 lead with four minutes left in the first half.
"Our instinct once we get up is to not let up at all and keep building the lead," Tantari said. "We definitely came out with more energy there."
Elmwood's Mat Zyski (34) and Austin Hoiles (23) struggle for a rebound with Lake's Jayce Vancena (33) and Nathan Pennington (12) during a game at Owens.
Lake coach Ryan Bowen said the game turned on the play in the paint.
"We scouted Elmwood, and they were monsters on the board. So all week long we told our big guys we need to rebound. Hirzel and all our post players rebounded great tonight," Bowen said.
Elmwood limited Lake's leading scorer, Smith, to two points in the first half. But the Flyers found other options, including Jayce Vancena who had six point in the second quarter.
"The kids started to trust our offensive system, and then we started going to the glass more," Bowen said.
Elmwood, which won the Suburban Lakes League title last year in the final season of that conference, trailed by as many as 24 in the second half. But the Royals rallied and outscored Lake 23-11 in the fourth quarter.
"Hirzel just killed us," Elmwood coach Ty Traxler said. "The one thing we tried to pound into their heads is that you can't let a good basketball team get second shots. It came down to the fact that we couldn't stop them. But give us credit, we didn't roll over and die."
The game was marred by 51 fouls and it had little flow. Lake was whistled for 25 fouls and Elmwood for 26. At one point Elmwood had three starters on the bench with two fouls.
The Royals took an early 4-3 lead but Lake went up 8-4 on Jared Rettig's 3-pointer and never trailed again. Rettig nailed three 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
Elmwood used a 13-3 run to take a 17-7 lead in the first quarter.
Hirzel grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled with 42 seconds left in the first half. He hit both free throws to give Lake a 16-point cushion.
Hirzel pulled down three offensive rebounds in the first 40 seconds of the third quarter.
He then scored inside and was fouled with 6:31 left in the quarter. Hirzel's three-point play gave his team a 40-22 lead.
Only Elmwood has finished within 30 points of the Flyers.
"We're happy, but we're not satisfied," Tantari said.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354, or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.
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