Ohio -- The third was the word in the Pirates' swashbuckling effort to snap a
losing streak against the rival Rockets, as Rocky River rode a big
third-quarter surge in beating Bay, 54-49, on Tuesday night.
effort on offense was complemented by dogged determination on defense, a
marvelous performance by a senior guard in his last regular-season game against
Bay, and a bevy of clutch plays down the stretch. It all culminated in the
Pirates defeating the Rockets for the first time since Dec. 16, 2014.
attempted a season-low 30 field goals in the game -- that total was tamped down
by long possessions at both ends of the floor and by 24 Pirate turnovers. But
the Pirates were efficient, shooting 53.3% (16-of-30) from the floor. Tommy
Ruma was the vanguard of that effort: the senior guard went 6-of-11 from the
floor (including a 5-of-8 performance from beyond the 3-point arc). Ruma
finished with a game-high 21 points, and his accuracy from distance was key in
the Maroon & White snapping their 12-game losing streak to the Bay Rockets.
outscored River, 10-7, in a defense-oriented opening quarter which saw the
visitors forced into 12 turnovers. The Pirates got within one (24-23) late in
the second, but the two rivals went into halftime separated by four after a
buzzer-beating Rocket three.
Bay held a
2-to-3-point lead through much of the third, but a late-period surge led by
Ruma vaulted the Pirates into the lead. The senior sharpshooter buried three
triples in as many possessions as part of an 11-2 run which put River in front
by six (41-35) by the end of the quarter.
held strong on its six-point advantage over the early minutes of the fourth.
But the host Rockets then made a move. Bay whittled its deficit to two (49-47)
by the 2:32-mark.
(9-7, 7-5 Great Lakes Conference) called a timeout. And the Sons of Blackbeard
came out of that respite ready to defend a lead they had worked hard to build.
And defend a program they had worked hard to build. One that for too long had
come up short against their rivals.
was fouled after the Rocky River timeout and would make one free throw in two
attempts. The Rockets countered with a bucket to cut their deficit to one point
(50-49). A rock-solid Pirate defense would see to it that Bay's big bucket
would be its last of the contest.
balance of play, the Rockets went 0-for-3 from the field. Solid defense and
rebounding by Ruma, junior forward Charlie Hudson and sophomore forward Robby
Lang loomed large in the Pirates' protection of the lead. Ruma and Hudson
knocked down two clutch free throws each, giving the visiting five its final
five-point margin of victory.
of elation was much wider.
BOX TOPS: Rocky River's defense held Bay to a 14-of-49 (28.6%) mark from the field. Both teams shot over 75% from the foul line. The Rockets were a plus-14 (10 to 24) in turnover margin. The Pirates were a plus-9 (29-19) in rebounding margin. ... Bebie (4-of-6 from the field) and Hudson (7-of-8 from the free-throw line) each tallied nine points in the winning effort. Senior guard Connor O'Toole (2-or-3 from the field, 2-for-3 from the line) added seven. O'Toole (who added four steals on the night) and Ruma (who logged six rebounds) played nearly every second of the game after being on the losing end of many a game -- and many a close game -- against the Rockets.
BAY'S ARC ENEMY: Ruma has now logged six 20-point games this season. His five triples against Bay tied a single-game high this season (Jan. 10 vs. Fairview).
ON DECK: River isn't finished with tough road games this week. The Pirates will travel to Elyria, Ohio, to take on the Panthers of Elyria Catholic High School on Friday (7:30 p.m. opening tip).