PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The Lake Erie College basketball team concluded their regular season with a 70-64 win over Malone.
Head Coach Kyle Conley said, "My team played with tremendous effort defensively today. They really stepped up and made things tough for a very good Malone team."
The Storm opened the scoring as Kyle Hagey (Mentor, Ohio / Mentor) made a layup on the opening possession of the game. The teams traded baskets for the opening four minutes, and Lake Erie led 7-5 at the first media timeout of the game. Out of the timeout, the Storm went on a 10-0 run that stretched their lead to 17-5. The run was led by Erron James (Westerville, Ohio / Westerville Central) as he scored six of the 10 points during the run. The teams battled until the under eight minute media timeout, as the Storm led, 21-15. Out of the break, a quick 5-0 run by Lake Erie saw them regain a double digit advantage. The run was started with a pair of foul shots from Ryan Middendorf (West Chester, Ohio / Lakota East) and was capped by a three pointer from Michael Morris (New Palestine, Ind. / New Palestine). After two minutes of scoreless action the Pioneers broke the drought with a layup, but the Storm led 26-17 with just under five minutes remaining in the half. The teams traded buckets for the final four minutes of the half, and Lake Erie entered the intermission ahead, 33-24.
Lamont Rhodes (Bedford, Ohio / Bedford) opened the second half scoring with a jumper, but Malone responded with a 9-3 run, which cut the Storm lead to 38-33 at the under 16 minute media timeout. Out of the timeout, Lake Erie went on a quick 5-0 run as Gabe Kynard (Toledo, Ohio / St. John's) capped off the run with a layup. The Storm continued to play solid basketball as they held a, 45-39 edge at the under 12 minute media timeout. After the break, the Storm went on a 5-0 run as Kyarnd notched all five of the points during the run, to give Lake Erie a 50-39 advantage. The Storm led 53-44 at the under eight minute media timeout in the second half. Out of the timeout, a 7-2 run by the Pioneers cut the Storm lead to 55-51, but Lake Erie led 60-51 lead at the final media timeout of the game. The Storm held off all of Malone's attempts to make a run and won the game, 70-64.
The Storm was led by Kynard as he had a team leading 19 points, and four rebounds. Morris added 16 points, on 4-6 shooting from behind the arc. James added 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Storm.
Coach Conley concluded, "This game was important for a variety of reasons, most importantly our guys wanted to send out Kyle Hagey, Jordan Michael (Fairborn, Ohio / Fairborn), and Michael Morris with a win in their final home game. This program is also thankful for the positive impact our seniors have had on and off the court."
Lake Erie will be back in action Thursday (March 1) when they play Walsh in the quarterfinals of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference tournament, with the game set to tip at 12 p.m. The Great Midwest tournament will be played at the University of Findlay.