ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (Jan. 10, 2023) -- Tuesday evening marked a rebound for Rocky River Basketball. The Pirates bounced back from a three-game losing streak to earn their first win of the New Year. And they did it with an artful, aggressive, and determined effort on the offensive glass. The Roundball Raiders hustled and muscled their way to a 61-44 triumph, their second straight over the Bay Rockets.
River hauled down 17 offensive boards as part of out-rebounding the Rockets 35-20. The offensive glass-work led to 18 second-chance points, the Pirates' second-highest total of the season. On the scoreboard, the rebounding-led but solid-all-around Pirate effort made for leads of three points (12-9) by the end of the first quarter and 17 (38-21) by halftime. A Censier Williams 3-ball at the 3:30-mark of the first quarter got the perimeter party started for the Maroon & White. Rocky River would hit five 3-pointers in the last 12 minutes of the first half in building that 17-point cushion, one that would essentially make its way safely to shore without much drama. Williams hit two of those treys as part of an eight-point night at the Corner of Wagar & Detroit.
The Pirates' second quarter was a near-master class in basketball analytics: take care of the ball (one turnover), knock down 3-pointers (four treys), get to the free-throw line (three attempts), and hit the offensive boards (rebounds on 7-of-10 misses). That and forcing a couple extra miscues from the Rockets amounted to a 26-12 frame for the Sons of Blackbeard.
River would withstand any mini-runs the rest of the way to earn its second straight win over its neighbors to the west. In a series that has had lengthy streaks one way and then the other in recent vintage, the back-to-back wins for the Pirates are their first since 2014.
For the game, Rocky River shot 46.3% (25-of-54) from the floor and 35.7% (5-of-14) from 3-point range. The Pirates went 6-of-8 at the line. Bay shot 42.5% (17-of-40) from the field and 38.5% (5-of-13) from beyond the arc; the Rockets went 5-of-9 from the charity stripe. The hustle stats are where the box score fractures in two.
Rebounds, turnovers, percentage of baskets with an assist, points in the paint, transition points, second-chance points, and points off turnovers were all swung in River's favor. The Pirates had 11 transition points, their most in a game since Dec. 16. They had 13 steals, their second-highest total of the season.
Junior forward Ryan Ricketti logged four of those thefts and had a box-score line emblematic of his team's play on the evening: five points, three rebounds (two on offense), three assists, and four steals. In 15 minutes, he was a plus-11. Other Pirates registered similar entries, and for the night Rocky River was a plus-17 in 36 minutes.
Senior center Will DeClerck went 6-of-11 from the field and 5-of-5 at the foul line in piling up a game-high 17 points, his most in a single game since Dec. 2 (20 vs. Willoughby South). DeClerck added six rebounds (3 OR), three assists, two steals, and a block. Junior forward added a career-high nine points.
The Pirates (7-3, 3-2 Great Lakes Conference West Division) also got key contributions from Jamaal Mansour (6R in 13 minutes), Gavin O'Brien (6P, 2A, 2S), Julian Patti (8P, 6A), and Hakeem Zayed (4P, 4R, 4A).
Carson Gergye (8P, 5R, 3S) and Augie Payne (15P, 4A, 3S) filed solid games for the Rockets (1-8, 1-4).
Tuesday's game was the first of three this week for the Pirates. Rocky River will host GLC West foe North Olmsted Friday at 7 p.m. The Pirates will then travel to Elyria for a non-conference affair Saturday evening.
CANNON FIRE ...
GLASS IN SESSION: Rocky River went into Tuesday's game averaging a robust 13.4 offensive rebounds per game, a mark that figures as the program's best across the last several years at least. Leading the Pirates in offensive boards prior to Tuesday were Will DeClerck (33), Hakeem Zayed (19), and Julian Patti (13). ... At the other end of the floor, the Double-R had been on a roll, allowing just 8.7 offensive rebounds per game during the team's six-game win streak to open the season. In three straight losses since (Dec. 28-Jan. 6), the Pirates were undone by 19.0 ORPG.
ARC-ED IMPROVEMENT: The Pirates broke out of a slump from distance in netting five triples on 14 attempts Tuesday. The Double-R went just 10-of-51 (19.6%) from 3-point-land over its three straight losses.
SERIES UPDATE: The War by the Shore rivalry has had some long streaks over the last 15 years. Rocky River took nine straight from the Rockets from 2010-13. Bay won 12 in a row from 2015-19. But with the Pirates' two straight wins, the series is now nearly level since 2006. Since that year, Bay has won 21 games; Rocky River has won 20. The Buccaneers will have a chance to level that number when they visit the Rockets in Bay Village Feb. 3.
by Skip Snow
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