By Eric Clutter | Correspondent
Ben Dunlap is probably going to win a lot of games as coach of the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders. However, he will not have trouble forgetting his first-ever game on the bench.
Playing one of the better teams in the area Friday night at Barberton, the Magics easily disposed of the Rough Riders 69-31 in a non-league season-opener.
"Barberton is one of those special programs," he said. "As a guy that has been around, played here in the old gym, I told the guys this is a special place. It is a tough place and a tough environment. We knew they had a lot of guys coming back with a lot of key experience.
"Fortunately, that is where we are at: first-year head coach, a lot of guys getting their first taste of varsity basketball. That is how you get to a 38-point deficit. But our kids never (quit). I encouraged them to fight to the final buzzer and they didn't quit on us."
Roosevelt (0-1) turned the ball over on its first three possessions, and before they knew it, they were down 19-6 after one quarter.
Barberton, which outrebounded the Rough Riders 51-32, led 44-15 at the half and by as many 44 points in the second half.
Sophomore Josh Williams, who scored 27 points in the Magics' overtime win at Roosevelt a year ago, led his squad with 16. Scott Sabol swished five 3-pointers to account for his 15 points and Jerry Williams chipped in with 13.
Corey Mitchell paced the Rough Riders with 16 points. Myles Wright had six.
"We play a quality non-conference schedule, but Barberton is the highest-ranked so far," said Dunlap. "We just have to look to build on this. It's tough but like I said, the guys never gave up, and I'm proud of that."