NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OHIO– The Bay Rockets defeated the Fairview Warriors, 66-46, to advance to the district title game.
It was a slow start as neither team scored for the first 2:15 of the game. In that span, Fairview’s Luke Howes drove in twice and got swatted by RJ Sunahara both times. Sunahara finished with six blocks. Bay went up 5-0 early but Fairview hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 6-5 lead midway through the first quarter. The Rockets led 13-10 at the end of the quarter.
“That’s a little disheartening,” said Bay coach Jared Shetzer referencing RJ Sunahara’s blocks. “You go in there and you’re probably used to all year getting those layups. He did a great job of being a great help side and altering shots even if he didn’t block it. I thought our guys did a great job of coming and cleaning it up.”
Bay went on a 7-0 run to start the second quarter and took a 20-10 lead. Fairview pulled to within seven points with less one minute left in the half but Bay scored five points in that minute to take a 31-19 lead into halftime.
Bay came out firing to start the second half. The Rockets attempted an alley-oop to Sunahara but he just missed. Sunahara finished with 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting. The Rockets started the quarter on a 9-0 run giving them a commanding 40-20 lead. It seemed like Fairview was gaining momentum as they cut the lead to 44-29. A 3-pointer from Erik Painter sucked the life out of the Fairview student section. The Rockets took a 50-34 lead into the fourth quarter and looked to be in full control. Bay extended their lead and won 66-46.
“I thought that’s one of the best defensive performances we’ve had all year,” said Shetzer. “That’s a team that has a lot of guards, a lot of guys who can drive and shoot. That’s a 20 win basketball team, that’s a good squad no matter who they played or what conference they’re in it doesn’t matter.
“I feel like our guys really got after it defensively and I think that was the difference tonight.”
Bay will take on Holy Name on Saturday at 4 p.m. at North Ridgeville for the district championship. These two teams are very familiar as they have already played twice this season. Holy Name won the first matchup 89-79 while Bay took the second matchup 104-95. It should be a great game at a neutral site.