Riders bend, don't break

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Time seemed to be moving backwards for the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders. What had been a 19-point third-period lead over visiting Kenston had evaporated to a precarious one-point advantage with still over two minutes left in the game, and the surging Bombers appeared ready to steal a game they had never really been in most of the way. But, although staggered, the Rough Riders somehow regrouped, regained their composure and, behind key baskets by John Cegledy and Colin Gentry, stemmed the Kenston tide and posted a 75-68 Western Reserve Conference cross-division victory on Tuesday. The Rough Riders (6-6) held leads of 34-15 and 36-17 in the second period and took a 42-25 cushion into halftime, and even led 50-31 in the third period. But the gutsy Bombers whittled the deficit to 58-46 after three quarters and closed to 65-64 with 2:20 to play. Cegledy (12 points) then sank a clutch 16-foot jumper from the baseline and Gentry banked in a tough shot from eight feet to start a 10-0 Roosevelt run that sealed the game. "I give Kenston a ton of credit," said Roosevelt coach Tom Larkin. "They had a lot of fight in them, especially in that third quarter. When you think a team has control of a game you'd think the other team would be a little down, but they just came at us. "And the way they did it, it wasn't exactly pretty. It was great work ethic, getting a rebound here, forcing a bad shot there, forcing a turnover here. That whole stretch in the third quarter when they made their run they didn't have one 3-pointer, it was just working hard to get good looks. I give them a lot of credit." Larkin also praised his own team, which showed remarkable poise and maturity in holding off the Bombers in crunch time. "Any time you can hold the lead from tip to buzzer, that's nice to have," he said. "In the fourth quarter we stepped up when we had to. We made 6-of-7 free throws down the stretch and we tightened up the 'D' a little bit in the last three minutes. "We didn't have our poise towards the end of the third quarter-early fourth quarter. We need to have that consistency. If we do, we're a darn good basketball team." The Bombers simply couldn't handle Rough Rider senior Ernie Cobbin, who had a monster night with game-highs of 34 points and 15 rebounds, five of his boards coming at the offensive end. Cobbin had 19 points and 10 rebounds by halftime. The Rough Riders also got solid minutes off the bench from 6-foot-7 junior Ryant Clark, who finished with nine points, six rebounds and one blocked shot. Kenston's second-half comeback was paced by junior forward Joe Motley (27 points) and junior guard Matt Phillips (22). Displaying quickness and touch in the paint, Motley scored 16 of his points in the second half _ 11 in the third period, while Phillips scored 15 of his total in the final two quarters. Clark's two-handed dunk had given Roosevelt a 65-60 lead with two-and-a-half minutes left, but he was whistled for a technical on the play for hanging on the rim. Phillips sank the ensuing free throws to narrow the gap to 65-62, and Motley hit a layup shortly thereafter to make it 65-64. But that was as close as the Bombers would get thanks to the big baskets by Cegledy and Gentry and a strong showing from the foul line in the final minute. "A point of emphasis we've had all year is our free throws, and knocking those 6-of-7 down the stretch is very key for us in building confidence," said Larkin. _____ Kent Roosevelt 75, Kenston 68 (At Kent Roosevelt) KENSTON (68) _ Matt Phillips 8 4-4 22; Tyler Downing 1 0-1 2; Josh Tevepaugh 3 0-0 6; Joe Motley 11 5-7 27; Brian Barthelmes 2 0-2 4; Robert Dubovec 3 0-1 6; Benjamin Wilson 0 1-2 1; Darnell Rondo 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 10-17 68. KENT ROOSEVELT (75) _ Colin Gentry 4 1-2 9; Eddie Kendrick 2 2-2 6; John Cegledy 4 2-2 12; Ernie Cobbin 14 4-6 34; Matt Burns 2 0-1 4; Richard Foster 0 1-2 1; Joe Taylor 0 0-0 0; Ryant Clark 3 3-4 9; Chris Banks 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 13-19 75. KENSTON 13 12 21 22 _ 68 KENT ROOSEVELT 17 25 16 17 _ 75 Three-Point Goals _ Kenston (2-12): Phillips 2-8, Downing 0-1, Tevepaugh 0-2, Dubovec 0-1. Kent Roosevelt (4-9): Gentry 0-1, Kendrick 0-1, Cegledy 2-3, Cobbin 2-3, Burns 0-1. Total Fouls _ Kenston, 19-15 Total Rebounds _ Kent Roosevelt, 38-28 Total Turnovers _ Kent Roosevelt, 23-21 JV Score _ Kent Roosevelt, 57-42. Leading Scorers: (KR) Chris Banks, 27 points; (Ken) Tevepaugh, 8 points.

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