ELYRIA, Ohio – Rocky River dropped a Great Lakes Conference game on the road Friday, falling to Elyria Catholic, 61-56.
The host Panthers shot a robust 50% (25-of-50) from the field for the game, and they rode a sharp 21-point third quarter to a second-half comeback. The EC victory avenged a Pirate win (59-52 at Rocky River Gymnasium on Jan. 3) in the front half of the two-game GLC season series.
Rocky River (9-8, 7-6 GLC) trailed, 8-4, in the early going but then went on a 14-6 run to get up by a couple scores by the middle of the second quarter. The Pirates led by as many as five in the second, but the home five closed the period strongly and River went into halftime leading by just one (26-25).
A 9-0 run early in the third helped the Panthers take control of the game. River evened the score at 40-40 late in the third. The Pirates did so on a three-ball. But the Panther answer was swift and decisive.
EC would outscore Rocky River, 14-2, over the next six minutes of play. A strong Panther rebounding effort helped EC control the scoreboard the rest of the way. Or the game, the Panthers out-rebounded the Pirates, 34-23.
Rocky River shot 39.6% (19-of-58) from the floor, which included a 28.6% (6-of-21) performance from 3-point range. The Panthers outscored the visiting five, 19-8, on second-chance opportunities and 46-24 on points in the paint.
Edward Wright (23 points, 13 rebounds) and Branson Taylor (23 points, 11 rebounds) were a one-two punch that figured to be a punch-and-a-half more than River could handle.
The Pirates were led by Tommy Ruma (21 points, six rebounds), Robby Lang (11 points) and Charlie Hudson (10 points, three assists).
“After we go it to 40-40, we missed on some free throws,” said Head Coach Mike Murray. “Then we came up empty on some shots from the floor. They took advantage of that stretch, and that was the difference.”
by Skip Snow
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