NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (Dec. 9, 2022) -- Rocky River opened Great Lakes Conference West Division play Friday, and strong rebounding and free-throw shooting vaulted the Pirates to a 51-48 win over the North Olmsted Eagles.
The Double-R went just 1-of-13 from the floor in a fourth quarter that opened with the visiting Pirates leading by nine points (43-34). The Eagles (0-4, 0-1 GLC West) got as close as two points but never overtook Rocky River. Free throws loomed large for the Maroon & White. The Pirates went 6-of-7 from the stripe in protecting their advantage in the fourth quarter; they went 12-of-14 (85.7%) for the game.
River rebounding also loomed large in helping the squad earn a road win despite shooting just 33.3% (17-of-51) from the field. Paced by Will DeClerck's 12 rebounds overall and by the team's dozen hauls on the offensive glass, the Pirates out-rebounded their hosts 37-27. In both the second and fourth quarters, Rocky River logged offensive rebounds on more-than-a-third of their shot misses.
In the second stanza, that edge on the glass helped the Pirates get to halftime leading 29-24. A 5-of-8 shooting performance helped River push its advantage to nine by the the end of the third quarter.
For the game, DeClerck turned his 12 boards into his second double-double in as many games by scoring 11 points. Fellow senior Gavin O'Brien clocked three triples as part of a 13-point, six-rebound night. Senior Censier Williams added nine points and five boards and was a plus-16 in 20 minutes of floor time.
North Olmsted's Miles Ciulla led all scorers with 20. Ciulla went 4-for-8 from distance and also added seven rebounds and three steals. The Eagles shot 38.8% (19-of-49) from the floor. They were hurt by a 4-of-10 performance at the foul line.
Rocky River (2-0, 1-0) -- which went 4-6 across 10 West games last season -- is now 6-0 against North Olmsted since 2013.
Friday's contest marked the front half of a Friday-Saturday double: the Pirates will host a non-conference game against the Lincoln West Wolverines Saturday at 6 p.m.
by Skip Snow
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