ERIE — Facing off a red-hot opponent that loves to be a thorn in their side, the Erie Red Devils downed the Cherryvale Chargers 60-52 on Tuesday night. It was the Red Devils’ third straight win after their first and only loss of the season to Riverton at the Lancer Classic Championship less than two weeks ago.
“We struggled at times defensively which is something we need to clean up,” Erie head coach Nick Pfeifer said. But we did a good job attacking the rim, getting to the basket and getting over the hump late.”
Mark Bogner and Eric Dillinger both paced Erie with 15 points apiece while Garrett Ruark added nine.
“It wasn’t easy for either one of them,” Pfeifer said. “They worked at it tonight. We had contributions around the floor. Those guys are the ones we lean on offensively and we’re seeing that on a consistent basis.”
Devin Sawyer led Cherryvale with 17 points. Landon Bennett, the Chargers’ leading scorer, was held to five points.
“We didn’t run our offensive sets well though to get Landon the looks that he needed,” Cherryvale head coach Rodney Vigil said. “They had a good defender on him. But it comes down to running the little things in your sets like setting screens and waiting for them.”
Pfeifer credited Dawson Lehman and Ruark for a gritty defensive assignment.
“We put Dawson on (Bennett) and he’s a really good defender,” Pfeifer said. “We told him he had a challenge tonight and he stood up to it. Garrett Ruark also guarded him tonight and he comes off the bench as our defensive stopper.”
Erie and Cherryvale spent much of the game within two possessions of each other but the Red Devils pulled away late as the Chargers’ offense went stagnant.
“I think discipline was the separation,” Vigil said. “Erie is a very disciplined team. That was the difference. Their team played more disciplined ball than we did.”
Cherryvale dropped to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in Tri-Valley League play with the loss. The Chargers return to Montgomery County for a homecoming matchup against Fredonia on Friday night.
“I look at it from the perspective of growth,” Vigil said. “These are two teams that always play each other tough. There is growth that you gain from being in games like this. You have to if you want to be a team that has success.”
As for Erie, it improved to 13-1 overall and 3-0 in the league. The Red Devils face Bluestem on Friday.
“It does get harder,” Pfeifer said. “Teams that don’t get off to great starts get better thought the year. So every game is a challenge. I’m pleased that we’re winning some close ones and we’ve got to continue to do so.”
Erie 60, Cherryvale 52
Erie: 19 15 11 15 — 60
Cherryvale: 15 15 12 10 — 52
Cherryvale: Landon Bennett 5, Devin Sawyer 17, Stetson Schafer 2, Briggs Adkison 8, Kolbyn Hooper 10, Rayden Wright 10
Erie: Garrett Ruark 9, Mark Bogner 15, Tyler Duding 7, Tyler Pasquarelli 6, Eric Dillinger 15, Dawson Lehman 8