ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- The Pirates ended up on the right side of a non-conference home game with 11 ties and lead changes on Saturday night. Despite being outshot and out-rebounded by a talented and athletic Collinwood Railroader squad, River prevailed, 55-51.
The Pirates logged a season-high 20 steals -- the program's most in a single game since Jan. 17, 2014 -- en route to forcing 32 Collinwood turnovers in the game. The Railroaders were tagged with 13 turnovers in the second quarter alone. The second frame proved key: it was the only of the four in which River and Collinwood were split by more than one score. The Pirates got to the free throw line nine times in the eight-minute period that saw them outscore the visiting five, 17-12.
Rocky River (4-2) went into halftime leading by five (29-24) and into the fourth leading by six (43-37). Collinwood started the fourth stanza with a 7-0 run, but the Maroon & White rallied to close out the win with a four-point cushion.
For the game, the Sons of Blackbeard went 19-of-60 (31.7%) from the floor and 15-of-23 (65.2%) from the line. River was out-rebounded, 50-29, but Collinwood still only managed 51 field-goal attempts due to its many possessions short-circuited by turnovers. (The Railroaders made 19 -- 39.2% -- of those 51.) Collinwood went 8-of-11 (72.7) in the free-throw department. Both teams struggled mightily from 3-point distance.
The 20 Pirate steals would lead to a 15-8 River advantage in transition points and a 26-5 cushion in points off turnovers.
Braedon Spies and Charlie Hudson led the Buccaneer theft brigade -- both had six in the contest. Spies went 5-of-9 from the field and finished with 14 points and five boards. His 14 points marked a career-high. Hudson finished with 16 points and three assists. The junior forward got to the line 10 times, knocking down eight uncontested 15-footers.
River also got solid contributions from senior captains Connor O'Toole (two assists, four steals) and Tommy Ruma (13 points, two steals).
CANNON FIRE ...
STEAL-Y-EYED MISSILE MEN: River's 20 steals Saturday marked the program's most in a single game since Jan. 17, 2014, when they fored the Rockets into 21 miscues in a 55-53 win over Bay. The Pirates have 58 steals through six games this season. Connor O'Toole (14), Charlie Hudson (11), and Tommy Ruma (10) are the early-season individual leaders.
GIFT BASKETS: The Pirates will host a holiday tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Sons of Blackbeard will take on Avon Lake in a 7 p.m. game on day one (Friday).
by Skip Snow
# # # pirates # # #