ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Rocky River’s Senior Night was as
successful on the scoreboard as it was in spirit, as the Pirates defeated the
Kennedy Fighting Eagles, 65-33, on Friday night.
An energetic home crowd paid tribute to three senior cheerleaders and three senior players and was then treated to River’s largest margin of victory in a game since Feb. 2, 2019 (36-point win over Oberlin). The trio of Pirate seniors – Connor O’Toole, Tommy Ruma, and Jack Schill – loomed large in Rocky River’s dominant victory.
A 3-pointer by Ruma on River’s first possession of the night was a portent of things to come. The son of Vince and Mary Lou Ruma would bury three triples on the night and, with 20 points, finish as the game-high scorer. Rocky River bracketed the first period with treys: it was a junior – Nathan Robertson – who connected from beyond the arc for the final points of a first quarter that saw the home five jump to a 19-7 lead.
A Robby Lang steal and a lay-up got the scoreboard re-started in the second. The Sons of Blackbeard methodically built their lead to 20 points (37-17) by halftime with swarming defense and sharp passing. O’Toole was front-and-center in both facets of River’s strong play. The son of Pat and Carol O’Toole played his typical suffocating style of defense while collecting two points, three rebounds, and four assists in a game that marked the 70th
of his career.
Jack Schill was the feature attraction in the third. The son
of Will and Lisa Schill drained a pair of 3-pointers and was the lead edge of a
Pirate sword that cut its way to another six points in the River lead with a
15-9 period. Schill would finish the game with eight points and two steals; he led
the team in plus-minus, logging a plus-27 in 15 minutes of playing time.
The fourth quarter was played out to much the same advantage, and the Pirates finished with their most points in a single game since Dec. 27 (66 vs. Avon Lake). The Eagles’ 33 points marked River’s best defensive total since the same February date against Oberlin last season (28 points allowed).
Ruma logged 20 points and five steals in his final
regular-season home game. In the middle of that march to 20 points, the
sharp-shooting veteran registered his 600th career point. So many of those have been on the receiving end of a pass from Connor O’Toole, who closed out Friday’s game as the owner of 155 career assists.
Junior forward Charlie Hudson added 16 points and five rebounds in a contest that saw the Pirates out-rebound the Eagles 36-29. Sophomore guard Braedon Spies logged an impressive floor game, totaling two points, six boards – all on offense, five assists, and three steals. Rocky River carded 15 steals in the game, the team’s most since Dec. 21 (20 vs. Collinwood). For the game, the Pirates were a plus-12 in the exchange of turnovers, committing 11 to JFK’s 23.
The victory for the Pirates (13-9) sends them into the postseason
(River will host a district tournament game on Friday, 7 p.m., opponent TBD) on
a three-game winning streak.
And it sends them into next season missing three talented
players, but in a program better overall thanks to their commitment and effort.
by Skip Snow
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