By Ryan Kaczmarski
After a sluggish first half by both teams, North Olmsted attacked the basket and hit some timely three-pointers to go into Bay and beat the Rockets, 52-47, in the season opener on Friday night.
The game started off very sloppy, with many turnovers and not much aggressive play on either side as there were only two foul shots taken in the entire first half.
“It’s really early in the year, and the defense is ahead of the offense,” said North Olmsted head coach Matt DeMain. “I thought we defended really well, especially in the first half.”
The focus of the North Olmsted offense is senior post player Darvin Freeman, and the Rockets knew it. They had him covered all night, opening up opportunities for senior point guard Marc Remy to drive the lane and senior shooting guard Patrick Needles, who sunk five shots from beyond the arc on his way to a game-leading 19 points, to hit from the perimeter.
“Obviously our offense starts with Darvin, and everybody knows it,” DeMain said. “They were running two and three guys at him every time he caught it, but if Pat and Marc knock down shots, it’s hard for a team to do that.
“Pat’s probably not going to shoot like that every game, but the fact that he can will make teams have to adjust to that,” he added.
The other top scorers for the Eagles were Remy with 12 points and Freeman with 11 points.
The only consistent offense for the Rockets came from senior guard Bryan Lowrie, who led Bay with 14 points.
“The second half was a game of runs,” said Rockets head coach Jason Frolo. “North Olmsted came out of the gate in the third and scored nine, we came back and took the lead, and then they closed it out with a run.
“It’s frustrating, because we were right there,” he added. “It was just little things here and there, and we could have come away with a win.”
The Rockets are a very young team and have only two players with any varsity experience coming into this season.
“I’m proud of the way we played as far as effort, composure and fighting back after getting down,” Frolo said. “We have work to do, and every team that plays after tonight will find out what type of team they have.
“I’m encouraged, but the road doesn’t get any easier for us,” he added.