Rockets flare up, down Red Devils
CAMPBELL — Some evenings, you just catch on fire and can’t stop.
After taking the season opener against United, and dropping their next two contests, the Lowellville Rockets strung together a pair of wins over Sebring and Heartland Christian.
They now have a three-game winning streak following a 76-41 rout of the host Red Devils, in a game where four Rockets scored at least 12 or more points and limited Campbell to just eight field goals in the second half.
“I thought it was good,” Rockets coach Matt Olson said following the matchup “Taking it one day at a time with this COVID stuff, we’ve been playing one day a week, it’s hard to get into a good rhythm.
“But, I thought we came out strong. Campbell is struggling right now a little bit having some younger players, so we just wanted to not let them hang around kind of force the tempo a little bit and I thought the kids did a good job.”
Lowellville took an early advantage with a quick 8-0 run to start the game, as sophomore Vinny Ballone helped set the tone early with 12 first quarter points to help guide the Rockets to a 20-10 advantage going into the second quarter.
Ballone felt it was a team effort on the offensive end of the floor.
“Passing the ball, getting open shots with everybody, working the ball around making shots,” he said “(For me), driving to the hoop, kicking for open shots, driving, making layups and a couple open shots I made.”
Campbell junior Skevos Kouros and senior Collin Michaels each scored to cut it to single digits at 22-14 early in the second, but Lowellville kept the Red Devils at bay leading 33-22 at halftime.
The Rockets doused the Red Devils with an imposing 12-0 run to open up the second half, with four different players contributing to push the lead to 45-22. Campbell junior Christian James broke the run with a layup off a miss with 5:03 to go in the quarter, as he would go on to score all six of the Red Devils points in the third, as they’d trail 56-28 going into the final period.
“At halftime our coach talked to us, and said we got to put this away right now,” Ballone said. “We came out firing, making shots, going hard.”
Ballone ended with 17, but it was fellow sophomore Anthony Lucente who took the game-high in scoring with 18.
“Defensively I picked up a couple fouls early, I wish I didn’t do that, it was all right, I could have done better.” Lucente said. “Offensively, I think we moved the ball well and looked for open shots.
Lowellville (4-2) had two other players hit double figures in the form of senior Johnny Michaels (15) and sophomore Brady Bunofsky (12), which is all a part of Olson’s game plan.
“We’re trying to be well-rounded offensively, so it’s hard for us to be guarded,” he said. “We played a solid ten guys tonight, so the more guys that can contribute and score, the harder its going to be to guard us.”
Meanwhile, Campbell drops to 0-7 on the season, and coach Nick Canterino felt that errors hurt his the Red Devils.
“We were a little outsized, but I mean we worked our butts off, we just made too many mistakes.” he explained “Lowellville is a good team, they made us pay for our mistakes, but too many mistakes on our end, there’s things we can get cleaned up, just a little disappointed with the mistakes, but we’re always there battling, we always work hard, just gotta play a little bit smarter sometimes.”
Kouros and James paced Campbell with 12 and 11 points respectively.
With Trumbull Country being brought into the fold soon, both teams find themselves at home next Tuesday against teams from across the border as Lowellville will face-off against Warren John F. Kennedy, and Campbell will encounter Liberty.