BAY VILLAGE -- It doesn’t require an NASA animation to know what results when a comet strikes a rocket at full velocity.
There was a sufficient example provided Tuesday night by the Amherst Comets, who used a devastating fourth-quarter explosion to demolish the Bay Rockets 72-55 in a non-conference battle.
The night didn’t begin with fireworks, as both teams engaged in a cold-shooting, somewhat sloppy first quarter that Amherst won by the thin margin of 11-10. The usually high-scoring Rockets picked up the pace somewhat to propel themselves to a 30-26 halftime lead on a night when they shot just below 35 percent from the field.
There were still no fireworks after the break as both teams engaged in a cold shooting, somewhat sloppy third quarter that Amherst won by the thin margin of 11-10.
As Yogi Berra once said, “It was deja vu all over again.”
Enter Adam Srnis.
With the Comets (11-10) trailing by three after three quarters, the sharp-shooting junior guard nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to flip the three-point deficit to a three-point lead. Those two were the first of seven Amherst 3-pointers in the quarter that shell-shocked Bay.
The Rockets (9-12) fell off the Amherst pace and their panicky defensive reaction dissolved into lunges and slaps that compounded the issue by sending the Comets to shoot free throws as part of Bay’s 12 fouls in the second half.
While Srnis, 21 points and and 6-of-9 shooting threes, was bombing away from the hinterlands, his fellow junior Rees Rua was pounding away inside throughout the first three ho-hum quarters.
Rua, at 5-foot-8, teamed with Danny Fortney inside to battle Bay’s 6-5 pivot Rex Sunahara and logged 20 points of his own, with four rebounds and a couple of steals.
Rua was like the guy in the old Western movie with the last rifle, trying to hold Amherst’s fort, until the fourth-quarter cavalry’s arrival.
"They both did what they do best, Adam spotted up his shots and Rees played around the basket,” Comets coach John Srnis said. “And Garret (Klekota) found both of them tonight. Any time we can do that. It’s good. When we do that, we are hard to defend. It took us a while to figure out what we were going to do tonight, but defensively we did a good job of defending their two best players (John Koz and Jonathon Brajdic). Adam and Rees chased those guys all night and made it tough on them.”
And it wouldn’t be an Amherst victory without a big effort from senior guard Klekota, who led all scorers with 22 points and added five steals and eight rebounds.
"Adam and I, our jobs were just to try and shut down (Koz and Brajdic) their best scorers,” Rua said. “We were fine but then everyone else stepped up and played great ‘D’ for us. It (the 3-pointers) pumps us up, that’s what Adam does. He shoots threes and when he makes them, it’s nothing but net all the time.”
Brandon Morris (13 points) and Sunahara (15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks) led Bay on a night when the Rockets had no answer for the Amherst final charge.
“We couldn’t make a shot tonight," Bay coach Jared Shetzer said. "We usually hit a lot more shots. We had open looks but it just comes down to we don’t defend very well. It comes right back to the fact that our guys just haven’t bought into defending for four quarters.”
Contact Fred Steiner at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amherst 72, Bay Village 55
AMHERST (72): Adam Srnis 6-3-21, Antonio Serrano 1-1-3, Danny Fortney 0-4-4, Rees Rua 9-2-20, Garrett Klekota 7-5-22, Matt Kneisel 0-0-0, Shane Derricotte 0-0-0, Casey McConhie 1-0-2. Totals 24-15-72.
BAY VILLAGE (55): John Koz 4-0-9, Jonathon Brajdic 1-0-3, Danny Heideloff 0-0-0, Brandon Morriss 6-1-13, Rex Sunahara 5-5-15, Tyler Jones 1-0-3, Alec White 2-0-4, Jack Kyle 0-0-0, Will Wilson 1-0-2, Colin DeBarr 2-2-6, Matt Orr 0-0-0, Jack Aleksandrovic 0-0-0. Totals 23-8-55.
Amherst 11 15 11 35 -- 72
Bay Village 10 20 10 15 -- 55
Three-Point goals: Amherst 9-22 (Srnis 6, Klekota 3), Bay Village 3-22 (Koz, Brajdic, Jones). Field goals: Amherst 24-58 (.431), Bay Village
23-66 (.348). Free throws: Amherst 15-23 (.652), Bay Village 8-10 (.800). Rebounds: Amherst 32 (Serrano 10), Bay Village 44 (Sunahara 11). Total fouls: Amherst 13, Bay Village 19. Turnovers: Amherst 11, Bay Village 14.
Junior varsity: Bay Village, 69-59.