The only thing better than Gaston Day’s start was its finish.
The Spartans used an overwhelming fourth-quarter run to beat Rocky River 86-69 Friday in the Charlotte Hoops Challenge at Myers Park High. The first four minutes of the fourth were decisive, with Gaston Day (5-1) going on a 13-0 blitz to increase its lead to 70-56.
“I think we defended well in the fourth quarter,” Spartans coach Kenny Burr said. “We were inconsistent the whole game, and I think part of that was due to the (holiday) break and not being able to practice to be consistent.”
Gaston Day was very consistent when it mattered, with Derek McKnight and Nate Hinton combining for 15 of the Spartans’ 29 fourth-quarter points. Hinton, who led Gaston Day with 19 points, scored five of the Spartans’ 13 points during the momentum-turning rally. The Spartans also turned up the defense, holding Rocky River (0-4) scoreless on its first seven possessions, three of which ended in turnovers.
“We got better as the game went on,” Burr said. “The fourth quarter we just pulled away just because our conditioning is our style of play.”
Five Spartans scored in double digits, with McKnight adding 16, Trevor Anderson 12, James Lewis 11 and Adam Kozial 10. Three Rocky River players hit double figures, with Anthony Salley tossing in a team-high 19 to go with Keyon Wesley’s 15 and 12 from Leito Holloway.
Gaston Day sprinted to a 28-16 lead after a quarter, but Rocky River rallied behind Wesley’s 10 points in the second to force a 42-all deadlock at halftime. The Ravens pulled ahead 47-46 on Salley’s 3-pointer in the third but never led again as the Spartans turned the tide.
“We’re extremely young, and one of the things we’re working through is playing through adversity,” Rocky River coach Oscar Walker said. “When things are going right, they’re fine, but whenever things get tough, they have a hard time playing through the adversity.”