By SCOTT COTTOS
FOSTORIA — Elmwood boys basketball coach Ty Traxler wondered what he’d get out of his team at Fostoria High School on Saturday, one night after a tough home loss to Genoa.
As it turned out, Traxler got what he’d to hoped to see.
The Royals established a double-figure lead by halftime, finished with a 56.2-percent shooting night from the floor and headed home with a 72-57 Northern Buckeye Conference victory over the Redmen.
Elmwood battled first-place Genoa to the end in a 46-35 loss on Friday night, and like many teams making up weather-related postponements, played on little rest.
But Traxler came away pleased after his club improved to 8-12 overall and 4-9 in the NBC.
“I thought we came out and did what we needed to do, obviously, to get a solid victory on the road,” Traxler said. “Third game in four days — I was very nervous about how we would come out and perform tonight. We had a real emotional game at home last night, homecoming with Genoa and we gave them everything they wanted. We had a chance down the stretch against the best team in the league.
“I didn’t know how much energy we had expended last night and how our legs would look today. But I thought we came out fired up. We were making extra passes, getting easy shots early, which we talked about before the game. Credit to the kids. They did a great job tonight.”
Matthew Cline pumped in 26 points, 13 in each half, and grabbed four rebounds for the Royals. Zach Weiss added 22 points and five rebounds.
Aneas Cousin scored 24 points and grabbed five rebounds, and Alex Sierra had 10 points, five boards and three steals for the shorthanded Redmen, who fell to 3-16 overall and 1-11 in the NBC with their 10th consecutive loss.
Fostoria paid for committing nine of its 14 turnovers in the first half and found itself down 35-23 at intermission.
Redmen coach Thom Loomis said Elmwood’s physicality and his team’s inability to match it enabled the Royals to gain the upper hand early and follow through with the win.
“They’re extremely, extremely physical, and they were allowed to play very, very physical, and that caused us to dig ourselves too deep of a hole in the first half,” Loomis said.
The Redmen, who have had trouble scoring all season, shot reasonably well at 46.8 percent (22 of 47) overall, including 52.9 percent (18 of 34) from inside the 3-point arc.
But along with the problem of physical strength, the Redmen could offer little resistance in the way of depth after losing starting guard Karsen Bemis to an ankle injury in Friday night’s loss to Woodmore.
“We had nine turnovers at halftime, they scored on almost all nine turnovers and we were climbing uphill the rest of the night,” said Loomis, whose team began a five-games-in-eight-days grind on Friday night. “I had seven healthy, eligible bodies of varsity kids to play the game tonight. Seven. That’s all I had. And we can’t dig ourselves that big of a hole and then expect that we’re going to have enough energy out of seven guys to be able to climb out of that hole with the stops that we had to try to get defensively.”
The burly 6-foot-3 Weiss is an effective inside compliment to the slender 5-10 Cline, who can put the ball in the basket from all over the floor and did that as his team made 56.2 percent of its shots (27 of 48).
“He’s an explosive scorer. In the second half of our season, really just in the last two or three weeks, he’s become much more of a patient scorer,” Traxler said of Cline. “Early in the season, when we played teams we should beat, he was able to score at will, but when we played good teams, he was not able to score at will. We’ve been working with him to just be more patient, and he’s really responded. He’s had a great three-game stretch here this week and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come, come tournament time.”
Mason Lentz’s 3-pointer and Cline’s conventional 3-point play sandwiched around a Sierra basket boosted Elmwood to a 20-13 lead with 5:06 remaining in the second quarter. A 10-4 burst later in the period helped the Royals up the count to 28-19, and Weiss knocked down a trey with 29 seconds remaining for the 11-point halftime margin.
A 9-2 spurt in which 5-foot-5 point guard Jonathan Duvall scored five points helped Elmwood boost its lead to 44-29 in the first five minutes of the third quarter.
The Royals’ biggest lead came at 70-49 with 2:51 left in the game.
Duvall ended up with eight points and eight assists and Lentz passed for four assists for Elmwood.
Maalik Tucker scored eight points and Trae Anderson had seven points and three steals for Fostoria.
ELMWOOD (8-12, 4-9 NBC)
Duvall 3-1–8, Cline 10-5–26, Stearns 2-1–5, Weiss 6-6–22, Jon. Childress 2-0–4, Snow 1-0–2, Lentz 1-0–3, Jos. Childress 1-0–2. TOTALS: 27-48 13-17 — 72.
FOSTORIA (3-16, 1-11 NBC)
Anderson 3-0–7, Sierra 5-0–10, Cousin 9-5–24, Ward 1-0–2, Tucker 2-4–8, Sheets 2-0–6. TOTALS: 22-47 9-13 — 57.
Elmwood 12 23 14 23 — 72
Fostoria 8 15 12 21 — 57
3-Point GOALS: Elmwood 5-10 (Weiss 2, Duvall & Cline 1); Fostoria 4-13 (Sheets 2, Cousin & Anderson 1).
rebounds: Elmwood 17 (Weiss 5); Fostoria 16 (Cousin & Sierra 5).
turnovers: Elmwood 13, Fostoria 14.
junior varsity: Fostoria, 41-39.
FRESHMEN: Elmwood, 39-25.