All season long, Rocky River had racked up wins with its combination of clutch shooting, team depth and stingy defense.
Saturday afternoon in Bowling Green, the Pirates finally met their match in all three.
Toledo Rogers, making its first regional tournament appearance, needed all three attributes to hold off a vicious River rally and come away with a 78-68 win to win the Bowling Green Division II regional championship.
The loss, which halted a 13-game winning streak, was just the third of the season for the Pirates. River left the floor of Anderson Arena with a record final record of 22-3, one win shy of a trip to the OHSAA state tournament in Columbus.
Jimmy Corrigan finished his final game for the Pirates with 23 points. Joey Kinsley came off the bench to contribute 15 points and five rebounds, while James Meyer and Brian Thorn both added eight points. But that wasn’t quite enough to overcome the Rams’ offensive onslaught.
Rogers was up, 32-27, in the final moments of the hotly-contested first half. But the Rams gained momentum heading into the halftime break on when Clemmye Owens drilled an NBA-range 3-pointer for a 35-27 advantage.
The Rams rode that momentum into the first few minutes of the third quarter. They went on a 12-2 run that was sparked by bookend treys from Jacree Rayford and Owens, who made it 47-29 on another long-range bomb.
Rocky River bounced back, getting back to within seven points four times in the last 2:50 of the game. But the outside shots of the Pirates weren’t falling as they went just three of 22 from beyond the arc and wound up shooting 42 percent from the floor for the game.
River got into the bonus late in the third quarter, but Rogers’ depth helped get the Rams through their foul troubles. The Rogers defense was a factor as well by forcing 22 River turnovers, 14 of those in the first half.