Rocky River City Schools News Article

A bridge too far: Double-R comeback bid falls short in tussle at Lakewood

Jaden Charney

LAKEWOOD, Ohio (Feb. 6, 2024) -- Rocky River nearly pulled off an impressive comeback in a tense battle at Lakewood Tuesday. The Pirates held the home five without a field goal in the final period, but the Rangers held on for a 55-50 victory.

Lakewood shot a robust 59.5% (effective field goal) for the game (68.8% through the first three quarters) in winning its third straight contest and snapping a two-game skid against its neighbors from across the Detroit Rocky River Bridge.

A late-first-early-second-quarter 11-0 run by the home side loomed large in the Rangers (13-5) toting a 36-26 lead into halftime. River pushed back over the middle minutes of the third, but when forward Drew Jablonowski converted on a 3-point play at 1:24 of the third Lakewood had built up a 14-point edge. The Rangers went into the fourth leading 49-35.

But in that fourth, Lakewood went into a slowdown, both in terms of its pace and its success rate in shooting the basketball. The Maroon & White countered and tenaciously battled their way closer. When Danny Berg knocked down a trey at the five-minute mark, the Roundball Raiders had already cut halfway into that 14-point Ranger lead.

Strong defensive plays by Julian Patti, Ryan Ricketti, and Hakeem Zayed were complemented by buckets scored by Jeff Maslar and Jaden Charney. A basket by Patti at the 46-second mark brought the Pirates (8-8) within two (50-48). From that point on, Lakewood would go 5-of-6 at the free-throw line while holding River scoreless until a basket scored at the buzzer. The Rangers prevailed despite being outscored 15-6 in the fourth, with all of their six points being netted on uncontested 15-footers.

For the game, Lakewood outscored Rocky River 41-26 on free-and-threes -- combined points at the line and from beyond the arc. The Rangers went 10-of-23 (43.5%) on 3-pointers and 11-of-16 (68.8%) from the charity stripe.

Luke Vannucci paced LHS with a 17-point night. Vannucci (four 3-pointers) and Luke Bonvissuto (three) combined to knock down seven of Lakewood's 10 shots from distance. Bonvissuto finished with 11 points. Drew Jablonowski added eight points and five rebounds.

The law firm of Charney, Patti & Ricketti filed 10 points each for the Double-R, which was playing the back half of two games in as many days. Charney added five rebounds, six assists, and four steals and was a plus-2 in 27 minutes of play.

The Battle of the Bridge marked River's second stop in a four-game stretch of contests on the road. That stretch will continue Friday when the Pirates close out their season series with Great Lakes Conference West Division foe Bay. Tip time in the front end of a boys-girls twin bill is slated for 6 p.m.

by Skip Snow

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