Rocky River City Schools News Article

Double-R hits shots in OT and Double-M earns 350th career win

RR Boys Basketball

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (Feb. 20, 2024) -- Tuesday's affair at Rocky River Gymnasium was a Great Lakes Conference cross-over battle with crisscrossing momentum swings and solid efforts, five across on both sides, the whole way. And in hard-fought fashion in a game that crossed into an overtime session after 32 level minutes, the Pirates crossed the finish line with a 64-56 triumph over the Buckeye Bucks.

Winning its third straight game overall and its fourth in a row on home hardwood, Rocky River (12-9) survived both its own 3-of-9 performance at the free-throw line and a monster third quarter by the Bucks. The visiting five erased an eight-point River edge (30-22) at halftime and vaulted in front by shooting 55.9% in the third. They outscored the Pirates 23-9 over the bulk of that period.

The Roundball Raiders rallied, scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter. Senior forward Hakeem Zayed had a big fourth frame for the Pirates, who have now defeated the Bucks in overtime games each of the last two years. Zayed was instrumental in getting River into overtime, making heady plays at both ends of the floor and making 7-of-11 shots in the contest. He finished with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals.  

The Pirates and Bucks (7-14) -- a team that had won five of its last six games -- closed out regulation with the score knotted at 52-52. The overtime was all-River, with the Buccaneers going 5-of-6 from the floor and the Bucks going 2-of-6.

Rocky River finished the game as a plus-4 in rebounding (33-29) and a plus-5 in turnovers (11-16). The Pirates shot 45.8% (27-for-59) from the floor, including 7-of-15 (45.5%) from 3-point range. The Double-R has connected on 40.3% (27-of-67) of its beyond-the-arc looks over its last four games.

Buckeye shot 41.7% (20-of-48) from the field. Turner Dolata went 8-of-11 from the floor -- including 3-of-4 on triples -- to lead the Bucks in scoring with 24 points. Carter Burgess added eight points and four rebounds.

Julian Patti had 18P, 7R, and four steals. Danny Berg filed 7P and eight assists. The Buccaneers had 22A as a team.

Coach Mike Murray, who coached River Girls Basketball from 1998-2010 and has coached the boys' team since, earned his combined 350th win with the overtime triumph over a Buckeye squad the Pirates have been neck-and-neck with over recent years.
Each of the last four River-Buckeye games has either been decided by three points or less or has gone into overtime.

The Pirates have won two of those last four contests. And 348 other games attached to the Murray name in the last 25 seasons.


Rocky River will close out its 2023-24 regular season with a GLC West home game against Elyria Catholic on Friday. Tip time at the Buccaneer Barn is slated for 7 p.m.

ON THE HORIZON: The Maroon & White will open district tournament play at Firelands Feb. 27. The Pirates are the No. 36 seed in the 62-team Northeast District of Division II. The all-in format of the OHSAA's state tournament has the NE District split into five brackets. River's bracket -- Northeast 4 -- is attached to DII Region 6. The Feb. 27 contest at No. 29 Firelands is slated for a 7 p.m. tip. The winner of that game will travel to No. 15 Brookside on March 1. The top seed in the Northeast District is Lutheran West. ... The final four of the Buckeye State tournament will be held March 22-24 at venerable UD Arena in Dayton.

by Skip Snow

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