ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — The Pirates gave a game effort, battling to overcome an early 20-point deficit and a shaky shooting performance, but the Maroon & White came up short as the Pirates fell to the Copley Indians, 51-41, on Wednesday night.
Copley (3-8) scored the game’s first 17 points and would build a 20-point lead by the 4:45-mark of the second quarter. Defense and rebounding vaulted Rocky River (5-4) back into the game: the Pirates got as close as seven points (29-22) in the third. But late Copley free throws and River shooting woes loomed large in the final 10-point deficit.
Junior forward Emily Dente knocked down three treys, and the Indians took advantage of early Pirate turnovers, as Copley raced to a 17-0 lead and an eventual 20-6 lead after one quarter. The Indians edged their lead to 20 by the 4:45-mark of the second. A swarming Pirate defense wouldn’t allow another point until after halftime.
With Julia and Maria Potts leading the way, Rocky River closed out the half with a 10-0 run; the Pirates trailed the Indians, 26-16, at the break.
River chipped away at the Copley lead a bit further early in the third, but the Indians closed the third in strong fashion. They found themselves in front by 12 (40-28) at the conclusion of the third.
A Taylor Spies triple got the Pirates within eight by the mid-fourth, but again the Indians finished a quarter strong and they closed out the 10-point victory at Rocky River Gymnasium. Copley’s free-throw shooting — especially in the second half — stood out as a difference maker on a night that saw the visitors out-shoot the home five at every turn. The Indians went 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from the free-throw line for the game, but they went a robust 9-of-12 over the final 16 minutes of action.
For the 32-minute contest, the Indians shot 31.5 percent (17-of-54) from the floor and 36.8 (7-of-19) from beyond the 3-point arc. Rocky River was credited with a 21.9-percent (16-of-73) mark from the floor, the team’s lowest single-game mark since Nov. 26. The Pirates went 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) on threes and 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) on foul shots.
On the strength of five triples, Emily Dente scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Indians. Senior forward Alexis Heap added 13 points; senior guard Paige Brenner tallied nine.
The Pirates were led by Julia Potts (12 points, six rebounds), Kelsey Murphy (10 points, 17 rebounds), Maria Potts (nine points, nine rebounds, four assists) and Spies (eight points, four steals). Murphy’s 17 boards stand as a single-game high for River this season. The freshman pivot has registered 41 rebounds over River’s last three games. As a team, the Pirates were credited with a 19-rebound edge (45 to 26) against the Indians.
Copley’s victory snapped a four-game Indian losing streak and it marked the Indians’ first road win of the 2018-19 season. Copley has now defeated Rocky River in back-to-back seasons: the Indians downed the Pirates, 58-49, on Feb. 5, 2018.
CANNON FIRE …
YOUNG BUCS: Copley topped River, 33-22, in Wednesday’s JV action. Junior Arden Berg and freshman Taylor Byall each scored six points to lead the River offense. Sophomore Maria Bakir and freshman Ryan McDonough gave the Pirates solid minutes at each end of the court. The River JV squad is now 4-5 on the season.
ON THE REBOUND: Copley’s 51 points mark the most Rocky River has yielded in a single game since Dec. 7, a stretch of six games. The Pirates had allowed just 37.3 points per game over their previous four. … Kelsey Murphy was credited with 12 offensive boards as part of her 17-rebound night. On the season, Murphy has already grabbed 101 rebounds (11.2 per game); 45 of those have come on the offensive glass.
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