ERIE — Sparked by a 13-0 run in the opening quarter, the Erie Royals got to celebrate senior night in a regal fashion, rolling past Meadville to close Region 7 play.
On Tuesday night at Erie High School, Erie beat Meadville 65-40.
“(Erie) shot the ball real well early,” said Meadville head coach Mark McElhinny. “They made a lot of threes and they were beasts on the boards. We couldn’t handle them on the boards all night.
“This was their night. They shot the ball well. They defended well. They crashed the boards well, and they made it tough on us.”
Meadville falls to 11-11 overall and 0-8 in region play. Erie also is at .500 at 11-11 and improves to 2-6 in Region 7.
“Things have been going well for us lately. We’re hoping we can get it together for the playoffs on Friday,” said Erie head coach Tom Koval.
Both teams began the game with a nice gesture of sportsmanship. Erie let Davyon Butler score a layup so that injured senior Rashawn Dean could get a basket at the other end to tie it up.
“I just spoke with Mark before the game, told him we had a kid that tore his ACL. He’s a senior. We’d like to get him a bucket. And Mark being the great guy that he is, the team allowed that to happen,” said Koval. “Which was nice to get him some points before his career ended.”
After that, there was more fun for Erie and not so much to enjoy for Meadville.
After Butler scored again, Erie followed with a 13-0 run. Jeremiah Camp and John Woodward both knocked down treys to begin the stretch. Camp hit another and added a layup to make it 15-4.
Baskets inside from Lemaro Husband and Savior Hughes cut it to 19-10 before the end of the first quarter.
In the second, Meadville only managed seven points as Erie expanded its lead.
Off the bench, Jamie Smith was a force scoring eight points including a dunk off a backboard pass from Jhamien Smith to make it 25-13.
Erie closed with a 10-4 run to push the lead to 35-17 at the half.
“It’s hard when you are playing that caliber every night,” said McElhinny. “There are those teams that are athletic, that are fast and defend very hard.”
Erie didn’t rest at all and continued imposing its will on the game.
The Royals forced five turnovers from the Bulldogs in the third and came away with seven offensive boards — three of which were in the final seconds that ended in a Jhamien Smith lay-in for the 47-23 lead.
“We’ve been stressing energy in the games and in practices and in the last several games, they’ve been really picking it up,” said Koval. “That helps us play better. We’ve been asking guys to share the ball.
“They’re not selfish, a lot of people are scoring and that makes it fun and a lot easier to play.”
The game concluded with Erie cruising to the finish.
Camp led the way with 14 points. Jhamien and Jamie Smith each had 12.
For Meadville, things got worse with Butler leaving the game injured after scoring a team-high 11 points in the game.
“Hopefully, Davyon is going to be alright,” said McElhinny. “It sounds like his hip was a concern, but we’re going to get it checked out and see what’s going on.”
Sam Burchard added eight for the Bulldogs, who’ll next play Cathedral Prep for the District 10 Class 5A title.
“That makes the season if you can do it,” McElhinny added. “We’ll give it our best shot.”
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.