It was a feisty matchup of two teams fighting for positioning in the Great Lakes Conference between the Buckeye Bucks (1-4) and Rocky River Pirates (2-1). Rocky River was coming off their first loss of the season while Buckeye was riding some momentum from their first victory after starting 0-4.
Rocky River came out with a point to prove jumping out to an 11-4 run forcing the Bucks to call a timeout. It did not get much better from there for the Bucks as the Pirates led 15-4 after the 1st Quarter.
The Pirates barely allowed Buckeye to breath all night with their intense defense, and plays on the ball resulting in 9 steals in the first half. Ava Patti was a perfect 9/9 from the field for 18 first half points. She also had 4 steals and 2 rebounds. Combined with senior guard Natalie Swallow's 6 points that was enough for the Pirates to head into halftime with a comfortable 37-11 lead.
Buckeye came out very aggressive in the second half hoping to make a run. Things did not go their way tonight as the Bucks only scored 7 points the rest of the game. They did not do themselves any favors going 1-10 from the free throw line. Rocky River took this one 58-22.
I asked Rocky River first year head coach Jamey Pfahl about his team's defensive effort tonight.
"I was so proud of the girls, they just bring it. We've been preaching relentless, and they just define it".
A big emphasis early in the season for the Pirates has also been on playing a full 32 minute complete game. Coach Pfahl was happy with the way his team matched the intensity the Bucks came out with in the 3rd quarter.
"I told them don't just play a half. I told them don't get comfortable, and I thought we came out in the second half and finished strong."
The point leader for the game was Ava Patti with 20 points. Coach Pfahl had this to say about Patti.
"She gets in a rhythm and she is just unstoppable".
Rocky River improves to 3-1 on the year and will face Bay Village on Saturday in another Great Lakes showdown at home at 2 pm. The Buckeye Bucks fall to 1-5 on the year. They prepare for a matchup with the Lakewood Rangers on Saturday at 2pm.
Here is what coach Jamey Pfhal had to say after the game.
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