Garfield Heights hosted Lorain High School on Saturday in a highly-anticipated battle in Northeast Ohio. Lorain was able to come away with the victory 87-78 to improve to 17-1 on the season.
Lorain is in the midst of a phenomenal season. The team’s only loss came on the road to St. Vincent-St. Mary’s on January 6th. The Titans are led by 6-foot-2 senior guard Devon Grant (Miami (O.H.) commit) and 6-foot-6 senior guard/forward Taevon Pierre-Louis.
Here’s a look at the two Lorain standouts:
Grant is a throwback guard, of sorts, and gives Lorain go-to scoring in tight ball games. On Saturday, Grant finished with 19 points against one of the best backcourts in Ohio, regardless of class.
What makes Grant such an old school point guard is his ability to control the pace. Grant thrives in transition. He often relies on changing the speed, displaying great ball-handling and an ability to penetrate and get to the rim.
On Friday in an 87-70 win over Shaw, Grant surpassed 1,300 career points.
At the high school level, it’s extremely common to see guards play at a speed which leads to frenetic play and unnecessary turnovers. That’s not the case with Grant, he takes care of the ball and provides the head coach with an extension on the floor.
In a game that featured several highly-recruited players, Taevon Pierre-Louis easily stole the show. He dominated on the interior as he matched-up with 6-foot-9 forward Brison Waller.
Pierre-Louis was relentless in attacking the basket, often making plays above the rim. He was on the receiving end of several passes which led to dunks, including this one…
Pierre-Louis is a player that’s fallen under-the-radar. It will be interesting to see if that changes by the end of the season. With West Virgina head coach Bob Huggins in attendance, Pierre-Louis put on an eye-opening performance.
He finished with a game-high 32 points and lifted Lorain to victory in the second half.
As for Garfield Heights…
The Bulldogs started the season with some inconsistent performances as the young group attempted to figure out its formula for success. Over the last four games, that formula has been pretty simple: Go on big runs to finish games.
Those late charges have typically been led by Meechie Johnson, who is putting together an extraordinary sophomore season.
It wasn’t a big scoring night for Johnson on Saturday. He finished with 15 points as the Lorain defense put significant pressure on the young guard; however, he was able to find success in other ways.
Early in the contest, Johnson recognized the objective of the defense, and he shifted his focus to picking apart the defense with his passing. Garfield Heights ultimately came up short, but the fact that the Bulldogs nearly pulled-off the upset against a legitimate state title contender in Lorain— that’s a good sign moving forward.
Don’t overlook the development of freshman Sonny Johnson Jr. either.
Already with a handful of Divison-1 offers, Sonny has recently been putting together a tremendous stretch of games.
Sonny led Garfield Heights in scoring with 22 points against Lorain, and was a great pressure reliever for Meechie Johnson.
Sonny is an excellent ball-handler and thrives in catch-and-shoot situations, displaying range from a couple feet beyond the arc.
Garfield Heights will be a tough out in the state playoffs.
Darnell Jones is a contributor for Mars Reel based in Northeast Ohio