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Ernst scores career-high 41 points in Warriors win over Lancers

Mar. 2—ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Before the start of Friday night's Division II sectional championship boys basketball tilt between Gilmour Academy and Edgewood tipped off, Jacob Ernst was honored for surpassing the 1,000-point barrier in his high school career.

In the 32 minutes that followed, Ernst gave the Lancers what amounted to a recap of his past four years.

Ernst scored a career-high 41 points, including 14 in the first quarter, as the Warriors jumped on the Lancers early and were never seriously threatened on their way to a 77-57 win at Edgewood High School.

The Warriors (18-5) will now await the winner of tonight's contest between Geneva and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin, and play in a district semifinal Thursday at Warren Harding High School.

Against the Lancers, Ernst wasted no time taking charge of the postseason.

On Edgewood's first look offensively, he drove right to the basket for a hoop and a trip to the foul line to make it a three-point play.

Two possessions later, he scored in the paint again.

Then it was time to show off the long distance artillery as he knocked down three straight 3-pointers to give his team a 16-4 advantage after the opening eight minutes.

Team leaders are expected to shine in the postseason and Ernst knew what he needed to do.

"Coach always stresses to me that I need to be the team leader, not just with my shooting ability and attacking," the Edgewood senior said. "I try to just lead by example."

Quite an example he set.

Ernst's hot hand in the first quarter gave the Warriors the early margin.

But, when Gilmour turned up the defensive intensity in the second quarter, Ernst responded by scoring six straight points.

Then in the third quarter, if the issue wasn't settled yet, he put the nail in the coffin with 10 more points, including a pair of 3-pointers as the Warriors went up by as many as 30.

Edgewood coach John Bowler said Ernst's performance will go down as one of the great ones in school history.

"I've seen a lot of good players come through this gym," Bowler said. "Jacob, he's up there at the top, there's no doubt. He played hard, he played smart, he scored 41 points but he wasn't selfish. He passed, he moved the ball around."

The early energy frpm Ernst sparked the whole team, the coach said.

"When we came out like we did that first quarter, and we knew they'd make a run in that second half, but our confidence level was so high," Bowler said. "It wasn't just Jacob shooting well, it was everyone shooting well. We knew they'd make a run and we were ready for it."

As good as Ernst was, the Warriors defense matched it. They held the Lancers to just 37 percent shooting through the first three quarters.

Gilmour, which finished the season at 15-9, made a run in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors had already put the game out of reach by that point.

"It was a huge game," Ernst said. "We stressed on the defensive end for sure. We had a great offensive game obviously, but the defense was where it was tonight."

Aside from Ernst's historic night, Edgewood received 14 points from Peyton Williams. Brady Anderjack and Logan Kray each had five rebounds.

The Lancers were led by Jimmy Lawless with 10 points.

including eight in the fourth quarter.