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OTTAWA — The Ottawa boys basketball team was efficient at both ends of the court Tuesday night in the opening round of the Dean Riley Shootin’ the Rock Thanksgiving Tournament as the Pirates cruised to a 74-54 victory over Marengo.
Ottawa started out strong with senior John Carroll leading the way offensively.
Carroll’s first 3-pointer of the evening was from NBA range and then his floater in the lane gave the Pirates a 12-5 lead.
“It was a good first night,” Pirates coach Mark Cooper said. “We have a couple veteran guys on the team so we should be able to get some things started early like we did. Good things happen when you take quality shots and take care of the ball, but we can play better at both ends than we did tonight.”
Sophomores Isaac Gassman and Keating Rombach both played well off the bench for the Pirates. Gassman’s strong move to the basket helped Ottawa take a 20-8 lead into the second quarter.
“With games being called tighter this year, bench play is going to be big,” Cooper said. “We had several guys play well. We had to play well to win, and if not, Marengo could’ve beat us. They are a solid team who is going to win some ball games this year, so to get production from so many guys is a good start.”
Gassman’s stick back and Luke Long’s hook shot extended the Ottawa lead to 24-12.
The Indians responded with two fast break layups to make it a 24-16.
But after an Ottawa timeout, the Pirates got back to business again with Carroll and Chase Hill along with solid play from several off the bench as Ottawa’s lead grew to 40-20 at the intermission.
“We only had four turnovers in the first half,” Cooper said. “Anytime you can take care of the ball like that you put yourself in a very good position.” Our bench made a lot of contributions as well. Not just in terms of scoring, but rebounding and defense.”
In the third quarter, Ottawa quickly pushed the lead to 21 points (46-25) as Jacob Draper got a stick back and then Hill stole an inbounds pass and converted the quick layup.
After that, Zach Knobloch caught fire for the Indians, collecting 15 of his team-high 18 points in the third period.
His three long-range shots and three shots inside the arc cut the deficit to 53-39 heading into the final eight minutes.
However, Knobloch was held scoreless in the fourth by the Pirate defense.
Carroll fed the ball into Schuyler Parks for a basket and Romback followed with three putbacks, while Gassman added a layup as the Pirates went on to win 74-54.
Carroll led all scorers with 21 points and added 10 rebounds, while Gassman had 10 points in his varsity debut.
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