LAKEWOOD, Ohio (Feb. 14, 2023) -- A surging Rocky River offense stayed on a roll, and the Double-R withstood a furious flurry of 3-balls in the final stanza, as the Pirates defeated the Lakewood Rangers 69-62 Tuesday.
A River squad which averaged just 40 points per game over a three-game losing streak from Jan. 31-Feb. 7 has scored 65-plus points in each of three straight victories since. On Tuesday at Lakewood Gymnasium, the Pirates tallied 14 points or more in each of four quarters and shot 52% (26-of-50) from the field. Only a monster 30-point fourth quarter by the Rangers kept the the visiting five from prevailing by near-20 in the Great Lakes Conference Tournament consolation tilt.
The final frame saw the Rangers knock down five triples and get two points on a rare own goal -- a bucket scored off a wild backcourt carom as the Pirates were trying to cut to break a press -- in a clutch-and-grab marathon that included 19 River free throws.
The Pirates had gone into that final quarter leading 49-32 despite having problems at the free-throw line. The Maroon & White might've tallied a season-high in points if not for a lackluster 14-of-27 (51.9%) performance on its uncontested 15-footers.
For the game, Rocky River (12-9) outshot Lakewood (10-13) 52% to 39%. Rebounds and turnovers were a near-even exchange, but the Pirates leveraged seven LHS miscues in opening a 17-12 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The second period included a lengthy, two-sided scoring drought, but a couple late-quarter buckets by Jamaal Mansour helped the Buccaneers get to halftime with a 14-point cushion (35-21).
A strong River passing game set up center Will DeClerck for a big third period. The senior netted 11 of his eventual game-high 17 points in that eight-minute session.
The host Rangers shot a robust 58% from the floor during a commendable counterattack in the fourth.
For the game, the Pirates got 17 points, nine rebounds, and three steals from DeClerck. Julian Patti scored 12 first-half points on the way to a 15-point, nine-rebound night. Jaden Charney, who went 7-of-8 from the line in the fourth quarter, had 13 points.
River got impressive microwave minutes from both Censier Williams (9P in 12 minutes) and Mansour (plus-16 in 14 minutes).
Lakewood got 13P, 5R, and four steals from Luke Vannucci. Chrishaun Graham had a 12-and-11 night.
With the win, Rocky River is now 3-1 over its last four games against Lakewood.
The Pirates will close out GLC consolation play with the Friday night home game against Normandy (7 p.m.).
CANNON FIRE ...
YOUNG BUCS: The JV Buccaneers logged a 46-45 win in a tight game against the Rangers. Joe Schill drained four triples en route to an 18-point entry in the scorebook. Jeff Maslar added 7P.
SCORING SURGE: Rocky River has scored 210 points over its last three games. That marks the program's highest-scoring three-game stretch since Feb. 2-9, 2019, when the Pirates tallied 213 points. ... River has scored 65-plus in each of its last three wins against the Rangers. Since 2005, Rocky River is 9-4 against its neighbors to the east.
by Skip Snow
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