NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Never let a first impression fool you.
Rocky River came out on fire in the first quarter Tuesday night against West Shore Conference leader North Ridgeville and it looked like a great game was shaping up. Then everything turned sour for the Pirates and the Rangers ended up with a 64-48 blowout.
Rocky River (4-9, 3-5) scored 22 points in the opening period, thanks to a 5-for-8 performance from 3-point range, and led the stunned Rangers 22-18.
But North Ridgeville (10-3, 8-1) turned things around, outscoring River 14-7 and then 20-8 in the third quarter to coast home.
Trailing just 30-29 with only a minute left in the second quarter, the Pirates missed their next seven shots (all to start the third period) and were outscored 16-0 in a Ranger run that switched the game from a competitive battle to a romp.
Drew McGhee, the Rangers’ 6-foot-11 senior center, was dominant, scoring a season-high 24 points on a variety of inside shots (including two nifty jump hooks) and pulled down 11 rebounds.
The Rangers, much taller than the Pirates, had a 44-20 edge on the boards.
McGhee admitted he and his teammates were sort of shocked by Rocky River’s fast start.
“I was thinking, ‘Hey, we better pick it up,’” he said.
As for his big night, he said: “I started giving what they gave me to get inside. At first they double-teamed me hard, but eased up after the first quarter. It really helped that my teammates were hitting from outside.”
The Rangers hit 42 percent from the field, including 6 of 11 3-pointers. Rocky River shot only 35 percent, hitting just two of its final 13 3-point attempts.
“Drew had a great game, but the other kids also played well,” North Ridgeville coach Bill Noggle said. “I wasn’t surprised by River’s fast start. I knew they would come in here and play hard. We had some breakdowns on our zone in the first quarter and they hit everything they threw up. But thank goodness for us they cooled down. And our kids never hung their heads after trailing. They kept fighting.”
As nice as those outside shots were in the first quarter, Rocky River coach Tom Thompson said they ended up hurting more than they helped.
“We hung our hats too much on shooting threes,” Thompson said. “They (the Rangers) adjusted and we didn’t. But give all the credit to North Ridgeville. They have a great team. They earned that win tonight.
“And, Drew, well he’s just a solid player, a good rebounder, passer and scorer. We’ve been trying to stop him for four years. He’s going to make a great college player. I was real happy tonight being able to shake his hand for the last time.”
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
North Ridgeville 64, Rocky River 48
ROCKY RIVER (48): Ryan Arnold 7-0-19, Ryan Gallagher 5-3-14,Barry Goepfert 4-0-9, Nate Kopechek 1-0-2, Jimmy Corrigan 0-2-2, James Meyer 1-0-2, Eric Schade 0-0-0, Bruno Nuro 0-0-0, Tyler Steen 0-0-0. Totals 18-5-48.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (64): Drew McGhee 10-4-24, Jake Rigsby 5-0-14, Keene Cockburn 4-2-12, Dan Montgomery 3-1-7, Ryan McNamara 2-0-4, Jason Ice 1-0-2, Mark Szylakowski 0-1-1, Nick Rodgerson 0-0-0. Totals 25-8-64.
Rocky River 22 7 8 11 — 48
North Ridgeville 18 14 20 12 — 64
Three-point goals: Rocky River 7 of 21 (Arnold 5, Gallagher, Goepfert), North Ridgeville 6 of 11 (Rigsby 4, Cockburn 2); Field goals: Rocky River 18 of 51 (35 percent), North Ridgeville 25 of 59 (42 percent); Free throws: Rocky River 5 of 7, North Ridgeville 8 of 13; Rebounds: Rocky River 20 (Gallagher 3, Arnold 3), North Ridgeville 44 (McGhee 11, Cockburn 10); Turnovers: Rocky River 10, North Ridgeville 16; Fouls: Rocky River 11, North Ridgevile 11.
Junior varsity: North Ridgeville, 47-33.