Ellet used a full-court press defense to frustrate Tallmadge, forcing 26 turnovers in a 66-58 home victory on Tuesday night.
The Orangemen had 10 steals, led by guards Dionte Williams and Maurice Mackey who each had four.
The Blue Devils knew what was in store, but had difficulty adjusting to the in-game pressure.
“We do the best job in practice to mimic what we’re going to see come game time,” Tallmadge coach Mike Bluey said. “But we have to do a better job. We’ve got to get to the right spots on the floor and be strong with the ball.”
The Orangemen (2-0) led by double-digits for the majority of the second half, but the Blue Devils (1-1) were able to cut the lead to four with four minutes remaining in the final quarter.
“We went a little stale there,” Ellet coach Mark Fisher said. “I think we were trying too hard to protect instead of just play. We’re learning still.”
Tallmadge guard Jarrett Ross had a steal that he converted into a layup to cut Ellet’s lead to 55-51.
But the Orangemen quickly responded with three consecutive baskets. Mackey, who had all of his eight points and four steals in the second half, led the surge with two baskets.
“We play him up top there and he’s able to do whatever he wants,” Fisher said. “A couple of his steals were tips from other people and he gets run-outs for layups. We use that as an offense a little bit.”
The turnover issue was present all game — the Blue Devils committing seven in the first quarter.
The Orangemen had a hard time converting on turnovers until late in the second quarter. They trailed 10-9 at the end of the first quarter, but went on a 7-0 run to close out the half with a 31-23 lead.
Bluey called that run to end the half “the difference-maker.”
“It was excellent,” Fisher said. “That tells us what we can do for the rest of the game.”
The Orangemen carried that momentum and extended their lead in the third quarter.
Blue Devils guard Colten Stricker kept them in it with three third-quarter 3-pointers, but the Ellet defense and Mackey’s four steals in the third quarter kept the Blue Devils from getting any sort of momentum.
“We changed our defense a little bit,” Fisher said. “Got a little more aggressive, got tips, got run-outs. Once we did that, it made them sprint back and get in different positions where we can move the ball.”
Partially as a result of the 26 turnovers, the Blue Devils played much of the game in foul trouble which hurt late.
The Blue Devils finished with 22 fouls, with leading scorer Stricker and Anthony Miller both fouling out.
“When you’re trying to defend in transition you’re going to commit some fouls trying to hustle back and defend your basket,” Bluey said.
Dionte Williams led the Orangemen with 13 points. Jake Williams added nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Jake Fisher tacked on 11 points and three assists.
Andrew Francesconi was Tallmadge’s top player with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Stricker led all scorers with 18 points.