Speed, quickness, jumping ability and depth. Not to

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Speed, quickness, jumping ability and depth. Not to mention enough talent to stockpile two teams.

To beat the Solon Comets and their seemingly limitless athleticism, Larkin knew everything had to go just right for Roosevelt.

Instead, everything went just right for Solon.

The host Comets scored the first nine points of the game and were never threatened, leading comfortably the entire way in defeating Roosevelt 98-44 in a Western Reserve Conference cross-division boys basketball game.

The loss dropped the Rough Riders to 0-14 on the season, while the Comets improved to 11-2.

Solon had leads of 23-8 after one quarter, 49-21 at the half and 69-31 after three quarters in gaining the victory.

The tone of the night was set in Solon's 9-0 run to start the game. Four different players scored baskets in that opening burst, with each bucket coming courtesy of an offensive rebound as the Comets Windexed the glass clean all game.

"We knew how athletic they were, how strong they were inside and their leaping ability," said Larkin, whose team was outrebounded 40-25. "Our defensive strategy coming in was to keep the ball on the perimeter and make them shoot from outside. We did that to an extent and they weren't hitting their outside shots.

"But the other part of that is to get the rebound, and that's where they killed us. And they also got some baskets in transition."

The main culprit was 6-foot-4 sophomore Eric Sanders, an explosive, bullish forward who has the body of an outside linebacker and plays more like he's 6-8. Sanders finished with a game-high 18 points _ seven in the first quarter _ and highlighted his efficient evening with a two-handed fastbreak dunk in the fourth period.

Sanders led a group of six Comets to score in double figures. Junior forward Rico Henderson was next with 16 points, followed by 6-4 junior point guard Drew Carter with 14 (including a dunk), junior guard Chris Tuning with 11, and senior forward Derrick Adams and junior forward Sean Quay with 10 each.

Senior guard Matt Smith was Roosevelt's lone double-figure scorer, finishing with 11 points.

"The scary thing about them is they're still a young team," said Larkin of the Comets, who start three underclassmen and feature eight total underclassmen in their 10-player rotation. "I think they're the most athletic team we've played so far. Most of the teams in the (WRC) South are good fundamental teams, but these guys are just athletes and they're 10 deep."

After Solon bolted to its 9-0 lead, junior point guard Matt Kane stopped the streak with a 10-foot jumper three minutes into the game.

After a 3-pointer by junior forward Aron Weston increased the Comets' lead to 13-2, Roosevelt junior Matt Milcetich canned a 12-foot jumper to cut it to 13-4.

That was the last time the Rough Riders trailed by single digits.

Solon pushed its lead out to 23-8 at the end of one period, then started the second quarter with a 12-3 spurt to blow the game wide open at 35-11. Smith's 3-pointer accounted for Roosevelt's only points in that run.

The Comets continued to add to their lead the rest of the night.

"Obviously, I wasn't very pleased that we were down 20," said Larkin of his team's quick early deficit. "But at the same time, I knew they weren't exactly stroking the ball (from the perimeter), and if we could start controlling the boards there was an opportunity for a comeback. But they did a great job on the boards the whole game."

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.