CLEVELAND -- Rocky River played a Great Lakes Conference game in a great venue Friday. Taking on Westlake in a special GLC West matinee at Gund Arena, the Pirates were defeated 49-41.
The Demons leveraged 27 points from Derek Occhipinti in avenging a Rocky River 56-48 overtime win at RRHS Dec. 16. Westlake had a vice-grip on the lead most of the afternoon. The Demons led by seven (15-8) after one quarter and by six (27-21) at the half. River did push back to get within two (34-32) by the end of the third quarter, but Westlake finished out the win with the help of a monster advantage at the free-throw line. For the game, the Pirates went 5-fot-6 at the stripe. But they sent the Demons to the line 23 times; Westlake capitalized, knocking down 17 throws (73.9%).
Occhipinti's good work at both ends of the floor was also difficult for the Pirates to overcome. He was backed up on the Westlake (8-6, 4-4 GLC West) scoresheet by Will Ostrowski, who logged 15 points.
The Pirates were led by Will DeClerck (eight points, nine rebounds, three blocks), Julian Patti (7P), and Hakeem Zayed (8P, 7R). The River five was undone by a minus-8 in turnover margin (17-9).
With the loss, the Double-R is 1-3 across its last four games. But tab Friday's experience as a season highlight for the Sons of Blackbeard.
"It was a great experience for our guys to get to play at the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers," said coach Mike Murray.
The shooting background will be a more familiar one for Murray's troops when they return to the hardwood next week. The Pirates (8-6, 4-4) will be at home for their next two games. The first of those contests will be a Jan. 27 GLC West game against Elyria Catholic (Rocky River Gymnasium, 7 p.m.).
by Skip Snow
# # # River # # #