ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – The Pirates were game in a late bid for a comeback, but the Bay Rockets prevailed over Rocky River, 62-60, on Friday.
After a sloppy second quarter, River rebounded with a solid
third and went into the fourth trailing by 10 points (51-41). The Sons of
Blackbeard gradually whittled away at the Bay advantage, and when sophomore
forward Robby Lang converted on a put-back at 1:45 the Bay lead was down to
four (60-56). Charlie Hudson knocked down a pair of free throws 41 seconds
later, and that got the Pirates within two (60-58).
Both defenses appeared to come up with monster steals in the final minute of play. The Pirates’ theft, however, was whistled dead as a foul. Each side scored two more points in a wild exchange of emotions and timeouts. A desperation trey by River at the buzzer was for naught, preserving the hard-fought victory for Bay.
Friday’s Great Lakes Conference battle between old foes began with a surge for Rocky River. Junior guard Nathan Robertson drained a pair of treys in lifting the Pirates to a 16-7 lead by the end of the opening period.
Stout, pressure defense applied by the Rockets gave the home five fits in the second quarter. River went 2-of-12 from the field and committed five turnovers. The visitors capitalized and went 8-of-15, including a pair of 3-pointers, to post a 21-point quarter. Bay went into halftime leading, 28-24. The Rockets’ 21 points in the second marked the most River had given up in a quarter since the team’s Nov. 29 season opener.
Bay extended its lead over the early minutes of the third.
The Pirates fought back to get within four (43-39), but a pair of triples then
led to an 8-0 Rocket burst; the visitors went into the final frame leading,
Bay would finish the contest outshooting River, 50% to 35%. The
Rockets struggled at the free-throw line, going 12-of-25 (48%); Rocky River
went 20-of-29 (68%). Rebounds were an even exchange (33-33) courtesy strong
work on the offensive glass by Charlie Hudson and Robby Lang. River finished
the game as a plus-1 in the turnover battle (15 to 16); the Pirates forced six
Bay miscues in their fourth-quarter comeback bid. Senior guard Tommy Ruma
(block, four assists) was particularly active on defense.
Hudson finished with 18 points and six rebounds. He got the
free-throw line 14 times, hitting 10 throws (71.4%). Lang totaled 16 points and
eight boards. He went 6-of-8 from the field and was involved in big momentum
swings on more than one occasion. Ruma finished with 10 points, six rebounds
and three assists.
With the Friday-night road win, the Rockets have now taken 12 in a row from the Pirates. River’s last win in the rivalry series was on Dec. 16, 2014.
The loss for the Pirates marks their first in GLC play this
season. Rocky River (4-2, 4-1 GLC) will host Collinwood in a non-conference
home game on Saturday (7:30 p.m. opening tip).
by Skip Snow
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