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Rocky River hangs tough against Fairview 

By Mike Peticca 
on January 12, 2008 9:54 p.m.
  • 01/12 - 2:30 PM Girls BasketballFinal
    Rocky River
    35
    Fairview
    34
Complete Box Score »
Things have a way of working out for Rocky River’s girls basketball team. The Pirates played below their standards on Saturday. They played on the road, and they played a difficult opponent, West Shore Conference rival Fairview. And still, they won. “We couldn’t find a rhythm,” Rocky River coach Mike Murray said after the Pirates’ 35-34 win. “We missed layups We missed free throws. We knew it would be a tough game. Fairview always plays us well.” Rocky River, ranked 15th in The Plain Dealer’s seven-county poll, is 12-0. With a 7-0 WSC record, the Pirates are seeking their second straight league championship. Usually a prolific offensive team, Rocky River struggled, being held to two points in the game’s first five minutes and no points in the entire third quarter by Fairview’s man-to-man defense. “I liked the way we were able to pressure them,” said Warriors’ coach Jessica Tafe, “and our post players played so hard.” Rocky River center Kristen Strang scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and forward Maureen Kessler totaled eight points and six rebounds. Fairview (9-4, 5-2) was led by forward Molly Troxell’s 11 points and 14 rebounds and guard April Homolak’s eight points and six rebounds. Megan Wolansky canned two free throws to give Fairview a 32-31 lead with three minutes to go, before Strang and guard Brooke Towner combined to make two critical plays for the Pirates. Strang stole a Warriors’ pass, setting up Towner, who hit a 12-foot jump shot off the dribble for a one-point Rocky River lead. Next, Towner foiled a Warriors’ trap along the left baseline, finding Strang with a nifty bounce pass. Strang’s layup boosted the Pirates’ lead to 35-32 with 1:45 to go. “Brooke was about to get trapped,” Strang said. “She passed the ball, Fairview went for it and missed, and I grabbed it.” Homolak’s steal and breakaway layup pulled Fairview to within one point with 37 seconds left, but the Warriors couldn’t score on their final possession. Rocky River’s aggressive man-to-man defense didn’t force turnovers and subsequent transition points as it typically does, but the Pirates’ defenders were still solid in the halfcourt. “I think we made it tough on their guards,” said Murray, “tough for them to enter into their offense. They’re a good team.” 
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