tall and the short of it, West wins battle of Rocky River
WEB POSTED 12:40 AM FEB. 15, 2006
West . 64
Rocky River . . . 46
River senior Kyle Frohnapple is called for an intentional foul
against Lutheran West senior Richard Semrau. (Photos by Larry
during the magical 1997-1998 season when Lutheran West made their
only boys basketball state final four appearance, the Longhorns
had only one regular season hiccup.
coach Phil Argento Sr. remembers the game well, since his son Phil
Jr. was the engine that drove those Longhorns.
an inbounds pass, Sean Kennedy came hard to his left and since he
didn't have a left cranked it up with his right and banked it in,"
Argento said."If you let teams stay around, things can get crazy
at the end of the game and anything can happen."
did not want to see a repeat and
wanted to keep momentum away from the Pirates. It helps to have
the tallest player on the court, but the key to this game may have
been the smallest player on the court.
teams showed their cards right off the bat. Rocky River opened the
scoring on a long-range three from junior guard Joe Caruso, who
had fonder memories of that win since his brother was a guard on
that team. West answered right back with a post-up from 6-10
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appeared the game would be Lutheran West's post play against Rocky
River's perimeter shooting, and after one quarter the score was
Lutheran West seven and Joe Caruso nine.
have two pretty good guards in Caruso and Frohnapple," Argento said."I
respect Caruso as a player and we needed to do something to slow
Nick Epifano. The Longhorns switched their defense to a triangle
and two and the 5-7 senior
was given the task of shadowing Caruso.
West senior Nick Epifano dribbles past Rocky River junior Joe
worked his butt off," Semrau said."He did a fantastic job and really
helped us out."
he ever. Caruso scored just two points in the game's last three
quarters, and you can't blame Epifano for that basket. It was the
final basket of the first half. Lutheran West had just rebounded
the ball when Rocky River senior Zach Haudenschild ripped the ball
away and found Caruso moving to the basket cutting West lead to
28-15 at the half. Otherwise, Caruso was kept off the scoreboard
after his torrid first quarter.
just got up in his face and I tried to create some turnovers," Epifano
said."He is the key point of their team. If we could stop him ,
we knew it would be easier to stop the rest of the team."
the triangle-and-two defense limiting Caruso and senior teammate
Kyle Frohnapple, it left Haudenschild open on the wings. He delivered
back-to-back threes that cut the score to 29-28 with 5:19 remaining
in the third quarter. He was wide open as well on the next possession,
but senior Scott Rea chose to drive the crowded lane and traveled.
On the ensuing possession, Semrau missed a layup but tracked down
the ball on the perimeter and then drained a three.
ended the quarter on a 15-1 run. Their the plan was pretty basic.
said just keep throwing the ball to me," Semrau said. "He said just
run 41 and get the ball to Richard in low post."
Pirates did make one last run to start the third quarter and cut
the lead to nine twice, the last time at 49-40 with 7:17 left. Lutheran
West would not score for almost five more minutes, but neither did
the Pirates. The Longhorns went eight for eight from the line in
the final minutes and pulled away for a 64-46 victory.
is the first time in a long time we have gone a full hard four quarters.
It was good to see the guys responded to that," Argento said.
finished with 28 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and four blocked
shots. Rocky River coach Tom Thompson said the Illinois recruit
came as advertised.
is a ball player, and we did not have an answer for him," Thompson
said. "The good thing about their team is when Richard gets it going
they don't have to rely on their perimeter game. I thought he worked
really hard for those 28 points. He is a complete player and he
deserves all the attention and notoriety he has gotten."
said the triangle and two was made even more effective because of
there is a 6-10 kid standing
in the middle of the lane and you are trying to drive the lane,
it is tough to shoot over that," he said. "It is also tough to pass
off of it because he is so long. That is why that defense is so
effective. When we did go inside, we would hesitate to take it up
and we had four or five travels underneath the glass. That doesn't
show up in the statistics because that is what he creates with his
loss was Rocky River's third straight after a 14-1 start. The Pirates
can clinch the WSC title outright on Friday with a win at Bay.
the win, Lutheran West is now 18-0 and has won 44 straight regular
season games. Argento said his team only worries about the next
one. In this case a visit to Walsh Jesuit on Friday.
joke about the streak," he said. "It is a great thing for the fans
and alumni, but for the players our next game is the big game. We
have a goal every game. We want to just get better. We just beat
the one number seed in a D-II sectional, our D-III sectional might
be tougher than the D-II sectional. It is going to be tough and
that is all we are focused on. Walsh is going to be ready for us
Friday night. It will be a great atmosphere to play in."
game was the final battle of Rocky River for at least the foreseeable
future. Argento said he is sad to see the rivalry end.
will miss playing these guys," he said. "I am sad they have dropped
us from their schedule. It is good competition and both sides have
good fan support. If I had anything to do with it, we would still