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On target and onward in the brackets: Pirates down Scarabs 75-50
RR Boys Basketball
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (Feb. 24, 2023) -- The Pirates registered their best single-game shooting performance in over three years, tying a season-high in points and advancing to a DII Region 5 Northeast 3 District semifinal in the Buckeye State playoffs, as they defeated East Tech 75-50 Friday.

Rocky River knocked down six treys in a first quarter that saw the Maroon & White take a 24-8 lead. The Scarabs bounced back in the second quarter, but River then reprised its fast start with a near carbon copy -- a 23-8 drubbing in the third -- en route to the postseason triumph on home hardwood. The final tally had the Pirates equaling a 75-point game against Kennedy Feb. 11 while posting their highest effective field goal mark since Feb. 4, 2019 (65% in a 54-49 win over Bay). River clocked a 64% mark Friday.

When East Tech scored the first bucket of the second half, the Scarabs had worked their deficit down to four points (37-33) after falling prey to the Buccaneer barrage of triples in the first. Twenty-two of the game's next 23 points were scored by the home five.

Rocky River (14-9) -- which has now won five in a row (scoring 66-plus points in four of those games) -- toted a 59-39 lead into the fourth quarter. The Sons of Blackbeard played out that lead with discipline, never letting it slip into the teens.

Junior guard Julian Patti paced the Pirate effort with a career-best-tying 21 points, but most of the River roster was dialed in throughout. Patti, Jaden Charney, Gavin O'Brien, and Ryan Ricketti all hit multiple 3s in a game that saw the Double-R go 9-of-19 (47.4%) from distance. Patti went 9-of-14 from the floor, grabbed seven rebounds, and was a team-best plus-34 in front of a fired-up student section at the Pirate Palestra.

The Pirates outscored the Scarabs 19-6 in points off turnovers and 44-26 in points in the paint. And River out-rebounded East Tech 36-22.

Charney (12 points), Will DeClerck (15 points, 11 boards), and Ricketti (13 points, four assists) all finished with double-figures in the scoring column.

Malike Bennett (13P, 5A) and Johann Gaines (16P) led the Scarabs (14-11).


Rocky River will play in a district semifinal Thursday at James G Tyree Gymnasium at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. The Pirates -- the No. 10 seed in DII R5 -- will face the winner of Saturday's No. 18 Villa Angela-St. Joseph/No. 8 Elyria Catholic game. Tip time is slated for 7 p.m.

THRICE IS NICE: River's nine triples Friday tied a season-high. The Buccaneers also drained nine 3s on Jan. 17 vs. Fairview. The 2022-23 Pirates have shot 27.6% (107-of-388) from distance. The team's leaders from beyond the arc have been Gavin O'Brien (26 3-pointers), Jaden Charney (33%), and Censier Williams (33%). ... With his 15-and-11 game Friday, senior center Will DeClerck has recorded five double-doubles this season.

by Skip Snow

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