BAY VILLAGE, Ohio -- Rocky River returned to Great Lakes Conference play Tuesday, dropping a hard-fought 60-50 decision against the Bay Rockets.
Playing a GLC foe for the first time since Dec. 15, the Pirates battled back from an early-third-quarter deficit of eight points (40-32) and entered the fourth quarter tied with their long-time rivals (44-44). A strong fourth quarter sealed the win for the host Rockets.
"I thought our kids played hard," said Head Coach Mike Murray. "We missed some defensive assignments early and got in a hole. But I thought we battled back and in the second and third and played well."
Defensively, Rocky River (2-4, 1-3 GLC) seemed to have an answer for every part of Bay's attack not named Ashton Price. The senior guard had his outside shooting dialed in early and his 16 points fueled the Rockets bursting to a 22-14 lead by the end of the first quarter. Senior guard Charlie Hudson countered with a couple 3-pointers as part of a 10-point quarter in leading the Pirates.
Hudson wouldn't score after the first, but other River guards stepped up big-time in getting the visiting five back in the game after a rough start to the second period. Bay (4-3, 3-2) scored the first six points of the second to run its lead to 28-14. The Sons of Blackbeard would strike back from beyond the arc.
Two triples by senior guard Nathan Robertson and one each from juniors Tommy Bebie and Braedon Spies keyed a solid run for the Pirates who brought their deficit down to six (33-27) by halftime.
The Rockets would defend the perimeter better in the third, but Rocky River continued its climb back into the game. By the end of the third quarter, River and Bay had scored 88 points overall, and they were split right down the middle -- 44-44.
Bay wrested way the game's momentum by scoring the first six points in the fourth quarter. Mid-period jumpers by Bebie and Spies got the Pirates as close as two points. Spies' effort was drained at the 3:30 mark.
Rocky River would be held scoreless the rest of the way.
Back-door cuts and sharp passing led to three easy Rocket field goals; those buckets and a pair of free-throw tosses were the final nails in the coffin, as Bay held on to win, 60-50.
Ashton Price finished the contest with a game-high 32 points. Rocky River was paced offensively by Bebie (17 points) and Spies (12). [Full game stats unavailable at time of publication.]
With the loss, River failed in a bid to collect back-to-back wins over Bay for the first time since 2014. The Pirates beat the Rockets, 54-49, in the second of two meetings last season (Feb. 4).
The Pirates' next game -- another GLC tilt -- is slated for Friday evening, when the Roundball Raiders welcome the Valley Forge Patriots to the Cozy Hardwood confines of Rocky River Gymnasium.
CANNON FIRE ...
YOUNG BUCS: In Tuesday's junior varsity game at Bay, the Pirates lost, 53-45. Sophomore guard Gavin O'Brien (nine points) and freshman guard Julian Patti (eight) le the Double-R in scoring.
TREY BIEN: As a team, the Pirates tied a season-high with 10 3-pointers on Tuesday. They have drained 29 from distance over their last three games. River went into the Bay game shooting 36% (33-of-92) from three-point-land.
by Skip Snow
# # # pirates # # #