WESTLAKE, Ohio – Rocky River opened its 2018-19 season in fine fashion Friday night, as the Pirates plundered the Westlake Demons, 76-50.
The visiting Maroon & White dominated quarters one and four in snapping a three-game losing streak against their neighbors to the southwest. Senior Luke Coyne (19 points) and junior Cristain Dean (20) combined to score 39 points. Both returning starters knocked down multiple threes on a night that saw the Pirates shoot 44.0 percent (11-of-25) from beyond the arc.
Both Coyne and Dean scored nine in a fast-paced bolt to a 22-13 River lead by the end of the first quarter.
Westlake rallied to get within one (28-27) by the 4:24-mark of the second. The Demons’ Anthony Rego had a 10-point second frame in getting the home five back in the game, but the Pirates did manage to get to halftime with a multiple-score lead of 38-31.
The front half of the third was a back and forth exchange of momentum. Rego committed his fourth foul of the contest at the 1:50-mark of the third, and the Pirates went on to extend their lead to 13 (54-41) by the start of the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was all-River. The Pirates outscored the Demons, 22-9, in the final period, closing out their first win over Westlake since Dec. 6, 2014.
Rocky River shot 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the field for the game. With Coyne and Dean each knocking down three 3-pointers – and Grant Eversman pouring in three of his own – the Pirates did most of their damage from distance. Junior point guard Connor O’Toole helped lead the Pirate attack at both ends of the floor, dishing out seven assists and finishing the night with a block and five steals. O’Toole was tagged with just one turnover on a night whereby the Pirates committed just 10 as a team.
O’Toole and Tommy Ruma each went 4-of-4 at the free-throw line as part of a team effort that saw the Pirates knock down 77.3 percent (17-of-22) of their uncontested 15-footers. Ruma and Eversman each finished the game with 11 points.
“Our defense hustled all night,” said Head Coach Mike Murray. “I though our kids did a nice job in causing turnovers. On offense, we moved the ball well and found open guys.”
Rocky River is now 5-9 against Westlake since 2005.
CANNON FIRE …
ON DECK: River’s 2018-19 schedule now rolls into December, a month that begins with a game at Rocky River Gymnasium (vs. Wellington, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday). The Pirates’ home opener will mark the front half of twin contests at home on the week – the Maroon & white are scheduled to host Parma on Dec. 7. That game against the Redmen will mark River’s Great Lakes Conference opener.
PIRATE GREYBEARDS: Rocky River’s opening-night roster included a trio of seniors. Luke Coyne, Grant Eversman and John Ruma are all returning lettermen who were key contributors as juniors.
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