Rough Riders force the issue

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

MAYFIELD - Everyone knows about Ernie Cobbin's offensive explosiveness. His defensive prowess, though, sometimes gets overlooked thanks to his eye-catching ability to put the ball in the basket. But even if you had your head buried in a bag of popcorn, you couldn't help but notice the defensive number Cobbin and his Kent Roosevelt teammates did on the host Mayfield Wildcats Tuesday. Cobbin registered nine steals _ four in the first quarter _ and the Rough Riders harassed the Wildcats into 29 turnovers en route to a 70-59 victory in a Western Reserve Conference cross-division contest. Cobbin finished with a game-high 26 points and snared 11 rebounds, many on the offensive end off his own misses, but it was his defense that stood out on this night. With Cobbin leading the charge, Roosevelt forced Mayfield to turn the ball over on its first four possessions of the game. The Rough Riders wasted no time taking advantage at the offensive end, quickly breaking out front 10-0 in leading from wire to wire. "I've seen a few of their games, and I was pretty positive we could disrupt their offense with not only our fullcourt press but also from trapping in our halfcourt set," said Roosevelt coach Tom Larkin, whose team improved to 5-5 on the season. "We executed real well. The kids trapped and the guys off the ball were aggressive getting into the passing lanes, and I think that set the tempo all night." Cobbin scored eight points as the Rough Riders took a 21-14 lead after the first quarter. A few minutes later, the 6-foot-2 senior made the defensive play of the night. Shortly after nailing a 17-foot jumper that gave his team a 27-16 advantage early in the second period, Cobbin blocked _ with authority, mind you _ a shot by 6-9 Mayfield senior center Tim Kazimir (15 points). But Cobbin wasn't finished. As the ball sailed out of bounds, he leaped, caught it in mid-air, and blindly threw the ball behind him _ right into the arms of a waiting teammate to ignite a fastbreak opportunity. The Rough Riders failed to convert that particular chance into points, but the sequence illustrates the defensive intensity they displayed throughout the contest. Somehow, though, the Wildcats (5-5) managed to stay in the game. The Rough Riders led 39-27 at the half, but Mayfield scored the first eight points of the third period, four by Kazimir, and eventually got the lead down to one point (40-39) midway through the quarter. Roosevelt senior Matt Burns then turned the momentum for good when he hit a layup and drew Kazimir's third foul in the process at 3:47 of the third period, sending Kazimir to the bench. Burns converted the three-point play for a 43-39 lead, and with Mayfield's inside game sitting next to coach Jim Nally, the Rough Riders raced out to a 53-40 lead before settling for a 53-44 advantage after three quarters. "Matt got in foul trouble and wasn't able to get the minutes he's used to, but he played hard when he was in there," said Larkin. By the time Kazimir returned just over a minute into the fourth period, Roosevelt led 57-45. The Wildcats made one last run, cutting the deficit to 59-53, but an 8-0 Roosevelt spurt pushed the lead back out to 67-53 with just 2:27 left in the game. "Any time they made a run, we stepped it up and put a run of our own together," said Larkin. "That was definitely the key. We kept our composure, and offensively I thought we did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball and getting a lot of guys involved." Eddie Kendrick and Colin Gentry backed Cobbin with 14 and 13 points, respectively. _____ Kent Roosevelt 70, Mayfield 59 (At Mayfield) KENT ROOSEVELT (70) _ Colin Gentry 6 0-1 13; John Cegledy 2 2-2 7; Eddie Kendrick 7 0-0 14; Ernie Cobbin 10 4-8 26; Matt Burns 1 1-1 3; Mitch Hutchison 2 0-0 4; Joe Taylor 0 0-0 0; Chris Banks 0 2-2 2; Sheldon Triplett 0 0-0 0; Evan Morgan 0 0-0 0; Spencer Payne 0 1-2 1; Robbie Wright 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 10-16 70. MAYFIELD (59) _ Jason DeSatnik 5 2-2 12; Derek Hawranko 3 0-1 6; Noah Alpern 3 0-0 6; Victor Yefremenko 3 2-2 8; Tim Kazimir 6 3-3 15; Pasq Lallitto 0 2-2 2; Warren White 0 1-2 1; Corrie Trouw 0 0-0 0; Robert Choromanski 3 0-0 6; Ryan Byrne 0 0-0 0; Rich Ranells 0 1-2 1; Justin Clampitt 0 2-2 2. Totals 23 13-16 59. KENT ROOSEVELT 21 18 14 17 _ 70 MAYFIELD 14 13 17 15 _ 59 Three-Point Goals _ Kent Roosevelt (4-14): Gentry 1-3, Cegledy 1-6, Cobbin 2-4, Joe Taylor 0-1. Mayfield (0-3): Hawranko 0-1, Trouw 0-1, Choromanski 0-1. Total Fouls _ Mayfield, 15-14 Total Rebounds _ 26-26 Total Turnovers _ Mayfield, 29-18 JV Score _ Mayfield, 62-32. Leading Scorers: (M) Brian Sullivan, 19 points; (KR) Spencer Payne & Robbie Wright, 7 points each.

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