ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (Jan. 3, 2023) -- A late shooting slump proved costly as the Pirates dropped their first Great Lakes Conference West Division game of the season Tuesday. Rocky River lost to the Fairview Warriors 56-50 (overtime) in a hard-fought Battle-of-Wagar/210 tussle at Rocky River Gymnasium.
River shooters went just 2-for-their-last-16 in the contest. If looks were rushed and off-kilter, that might be understandable: the Pirates were likely trying to avoid having shots blocked. Fairview went into the fourth quarter with six blocks; it finished with 10, the most for a Rocky River opponent in any game the last four years.
What had been a River advantage of 2-to-3 possessions for much of the game melted into a 7-point Warrior lead by the midpoint of the fourth frame. Only a big 3-pointer from Jaden Charney and some well-timed tosses from the charity stripe got the Pirates into an overtime session that was to be dominated by the visitors. River went 0-for-4 from the field in that extra session.
For Rocky River (6-2, 2-1 GLC West), the loss marks the team's second in a row after having won six straight games to start the season. A Buccaneer defense that allowed just 39.3 points per game in the win streak has now allowed 121 points over its last two games.
On Tuesday, a big chunk of those points came from forward Jacob Rehor. The Fairview senior had 21 points on an 8-of-17 shooting night. Rehor hit three triples on a night that saw the Pirates yield a season-high eight. He also led the Warrior swat team, blocking five shots. Also, notching nine rebounds, Rehor was a team-high plus-10 in 33 minutes of action.
Fairview's Wesley Fletcher, Jr., added 10P. Colin Meany and J.R. Beato chipped in with nine and eight points, respectively. For the game, Fairview (4-4, 2-1) shot 38.2% (21-of-55) while logging an effective field-goal mark of 45.5% The Warriors went 8-of-24 (33.3%) on 3-pointers.
Rocky River shot 31.7% (20-of-63) from the field, including 22.2% (4-of-18) from distance (34.9% eFG). Both teams struggled on free throws (RRHS 6-of-10, FHS 6-of-12). Rebounds and turnovers were near-even exchanges, but Fairview made the most of River miscues; it outscored the Pirates 17-11 in points off turnovers.
Individually, the Roundball Raiders got a career-high 13 points from Julian Patti. The junior guard also had four rebounds and four assists. Will DeClerck clocked in with 8P, 14R, and three blocks. Gavin O'Brien had 8P and 3A; Censier Williams had 9P.
Rocky River and Fairview will meet again Jan. 17 in Fairview Park. The two foes separated by 2.3 miles of Wagar/West 210th pavement split a pair of games last season, and each side claims three wins across the last six meetings.
Tuesday's Battle of Wagar/210 kicked off a stretch of four consecutive GLC West tilts. The Pirates will continue that stretch with a Friday road game at Elyria Catholic.
CANNON FIRE ...
MEN OF STEAL: The Pirates have added more thievery to their hardwood exploits in 2022-23. Heading into Tuesday's contest, Rocky River had averaged 9.9 steals per game, up from 6.7 per contest last season. The ball-hawking Buccaneers had logged four double-digit steal totals in seven games. They registered a season-high 16 thefts Dec. 10 vs. Lincoln West. Individual leaders heading into the Fairview game were Gavin O'Brien (12), Jaden Charney (10), Hakeem Zayed (nine), Will DeClerck (eight), and Ryan Ricketti (eight). ... Rocky River had five steals Wednesday against Fairview.
DOUBLE-R GUARD HITS DOUBLE FIGURES AGAIN: Julian Patti has now scored 35P over the team's last three games. For the season, the three-sport (football-basketball-baseball) standout has averaged 8.9P, 4.9R, and 2.0A per game.
by Skip Snow
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