ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Time for bracket-ball. Rocky River closed out its regular season with a 68-49 loss at the hands of the rival Bay Rockets on Friday night.
Playing before a big Rocky River Gymnasium crowd on what marked Senior Night for the River program, Bay (16-5, 8-4 GLC) jumped out to a 17-2 lead and never looked back.
That initial 15-point deficit for the Pirates (14-8, 6-6 GLC) would grow to 17 (38-21) by halftime, 21 (50-29) by the end of the third quarter and 30 (59-29) after an early-fourth 9-0 run by the visitors.
Turnovers and an off-night shooting plagued River throughout. The Pirates shot 35.3 percent (18-of-51) from the field and an uncharacteristic 19 percent (4-of-17) from 3-point distance. The Rockets time-and-again capitalized on Pirate turnovers en route to shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from triple territory.
Seniors Erik Painter (17 points) and Cade Gergye (14) led the Rocket attack.
Rocky River seniors Luke Coyne (seven points, four rebounds, four assists) and John Ruma (12 points) and junior Cristain Dean (six points, six rebounds) were the Pirate leaders on a night when points were tough to come by. River’s 49 points scored marked the squad’s lowest single-game total in 10 games (Jan. 25: 45 vs. Normandy).
The Pirates were tagged with a season-high 21 turnovers in what marked the team’s third home loss (8-3) this season.
With Friday’s victory, Bay has now defeated Rocky River in 10 straight games dating back to Jan. 30, 2015.
The Pirates will now turn their attention to postseason play. Rocky River is the No. 6 seed in the North Ridgeville District of the Northwest Region for the upcoming 2019 Ohio Division II Championship Tournament. The Maroon & White will host No. 11 Firelands on Tuesday (7 p.m., Rocky River Gymnasium).
CANNON FIRE …
SENIOR SALUTE: Coyne, Ruma and Grant Eversman were honored in a pregame Senior Night ceremony. The program also said farewell to junior forward Finlay Stamer, an exchange student who will be returning to his native Germany after the school year.
FINE FINISH: John Ruma has averaged 14 points per game over River’s last three contests. A four-year member of the program, the son of Vince and Mary Lou Ruma notched a season-high 20 at Lutheran West earlier this month (Feb. 9). He’s averaged 7.2 points per game in 2018-19.
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