MEDINA, Ohio – Only a remarkable 29-point overtime session stood between the Pirates and Bucks in Rocky River’s first Great Lakes Conference meeting with new league member Buckeye. The home five outscored the Maroon & White, 16-13, in the four-minute frame, as Buckeye defeated River, 56-53, on Tuesday.
The overtime session was by far the highest scoring stretch in a game otherwise dominated by defense. Rocky River held Buckeye to five points in the game’s second quarter, and the Pirates held a 24-15 lead at the half. The visiting five would manage only six points in a third quarter that saw the Bucks whittle the advantage to four (30-26).
The Bucks outscored the Pirates, 14-10, in the fourth. Rocky
River (6-4, 4-2 GLC) had the basketball and a set play in the waning seconds of
regulation time. A questionable charging foul against Charlie Hudson nixed the
play, and the two GLC foes went into overtime.
Baskets flowed freely in the extraneous four-minute stanza. And they flowed both ways in a trade of buckets. River was up, 53-52, with 28 seconds remaining, but a Buckeye trey vaulted the home side to a two-point lead. The Pirates had two legitimate cracks at tying the score and then a third try on a desperation heave from half court after a Bucks free throw. But the shots didn’t fall, and the host Bucks prevailed, 56-53.
Tommy Ruma scored 23 points to lead the Pirate offense. The senior guard has scored 20-plus in each of River’s last three games. On Tuesday, Ruma drained four 3-pointers – three in the first quarter and one in overtime. Rocky River hit seven triples as a team; Buckeye hit nine.
Buckeye scoring was balanced with six players scoring six points or more. River, meanwhile, got 23 points from Ruma and 14 more from Hudson, who eventually fouled out in overtime. The host Bucks took advantage of getting to the foul line 21 times – Buckeye made 15 free throws (71%) to River’s 10 (of 13, 77%).
With Tuesday’s taut battle at Buckeye, Rocky River has now played five consecutive conference games decided in the final minute of play. Among the team’s six GLC games, only the Pirates’ Dec. 3 game against Normandy – a 51-35 victory – has been decided by more than seven points.
River’s next game is scheduled for Friday when the team gets a look at the GLC’s other new member, the Fairview Warriors, in a 7:30 p.m. game at Fairview High School.
by Skip Snow
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