ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Distance shooting woes plagued Rocky River in a 53-49 loss to Lutheran West in a non-conference home game on Saturday. [RR game stats]
The Pirates, who entered the game shooting over 30 percent from beyond the arc, went just 3-of-21 (14.3 percent) from distance in a game controlled throughout by a strong Longhorns team which is now 7-1 on the season.
Rocky River (5-5) fell behind early but worked its way back to a one-point deficit (9-8) when junior guard Lauren Cain knocked down a trey from the right flank at the 3:10-mark of the first. With a strong start to the second quarter, the Longhorns extended their lead to as many as six points, but again a resilient Pirate squad battled back into the game.
Late-quarter buckets by Cain, Rachel Moeller and Bridget McCue evened the game’s score at 21-21. The visiting five went into halftime leading 23-21 on a buzzer-beater by senior Raiyah Johnson who finished with 10 points in the opening half.
The third quarter proved to be River’s undoing. A slew of Pirate turnovers fueled a fast-break attack that netted Lutheran West 22 points in the period. The Longhorns’ Abriana Rondin scored half of her team’s points in a 22-10 quarter that lifted Lutheran to a 14-point lead (45-31).
Rocky River took better care of the basketball and had a few more shots fall in a fourth-quarter comeback attempt. A McCue put-back at 3:40 whittled the Longhorn lead to nine (51-42). A Samantha Miller jumper at 1:40 got River within seven (53-46), and a pair of successful free-throw tosses by McCue at the 55-second mark got the Pirates within five (53-48).
But overall, Rocky River’s free-throw shooting was lackluster (8-of-14, 57.1 percent), and a pair of late turnovers proved costly in a fizzled rally over the final minute.
The Longhorns got a big performance at both ends of the floor from Johnson and senior six-footer Carleen Ellerbruch. Lutheran West shot a respectable 38 percent from the floor, doing much of their damage in the paint and on 14-to-16-footers near both elbows at the top of the lane.
Rocky River was led by Bridget McCue, who tallied 16 points and seven rebounds. Anne Beirne added four points, eight boards and six assists. Samantha Miller scored nine points; Cain and Moeller added six each.
With the loss, Rocky River has now dropped three straight. All have come in non-conference play. The Pirates will now be off for 10 days before returning to Great Lakes Conference play on Jan. 10 (road game at Elyria Catholic).
CANNON FIRE …
A VICTORY: Rocky River downed Lutheran West in Saturday’s junior varsity game. The Pirates were led in the scoring column by Lainey Hueler (11 points) and Maria Potts (eight).
… AND A VISIT: Saturday marked Alumni Day for the Pirate program. A number of former River Girls’ Basketball players were on hand for the game and a postgame reception.
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