by Sara Welch | Correspondent
Mantua -- Senior guard Jordan Matusik stepped into the realm of unforgettable athletic performances Jan. 11 in Crestwood's sold-out gymnasium after knocking down eight three-pointers and tying Streetsboro's school record for the most three-pointers in a single game.
Matusik's lights-out shooting helped the Rockets defeat their rivals 63-54 in a Portage Trail Conference Metro Division matchup in Mantua, following a big win against Norton Jan. 8.
"It felt good to tie the record," Matusik said. "I wouldn't want to do it in any other place. The gym was packed. All of our rowdies were here. We had a lot of fans here to support us. It felt really good to do it here against Crestwood, our rival."
"Jordan has been on quite a hot streak as of late," Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini said. "I think he's had 20 three-pointers in the last three games, so obviously he's been carrying us offensively.
"Crestwood did a great job of coming out in the second half and taking him out of the game.
"He's been our leading scorer the whole season. He's doing a great job and he's carrying us right now.
"He was trying to get that last one right there at the end to break it. Although he wasn't able to break the record, he played a great game."
Matusik finished as the high scorer of the game with 25 points. He drained seven of his eight three-point attempts in the first half. Matt Cipra also knocked down eight three-pointers during the Rockets' 65-61 win over Rootstown in 1997.
"It felt like the rim was double size for me," Matusik said. "If I was open and I had a little bit of space, I was going to shoot it because I felt unconscious, like I couldn't miss, like anything I threw up went in. I knew we were struggling in the first half with our offense and our defense so I knew it was going to help us out."
Streetsboro (6-6, 5-2) started the game in rare form, trailing the Red Devils 9-0 with 5 minutes, 17 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Picking up the pace, the Rockets managed to tie the score with 39.8 seconds before the second quarter when Matusik hit his fourth three-pointer. Jacob Graves put the Crestwood back ahead when he drained a three-pointer of his own before time expired.
Brandon Gency was able to tie the score at 25 from the charity stripe with 6:55 left in the second quarter and Matusik followed up with another three, giving Streetsboro its first lead of the game.
The Rockets weren't able to break away until only 2:13 remained before halftime. The Rockets led 33-32 and Matusik kicked off a seven-point run from behind the three-point ark. They managed to end the half leading the Red Devils 40-35.
"I like being the go-to guy on offense," Matusik said. "I see it as a challenge and I want to overcome it. I like the challenge of having that kind of pressure on me every game."
Crestwood (6-5, 2-5) took away Matusik's outside shooting in the second half, limiting him to one final three-pointer. But the Rockets managed to maintain their lead and found other ways to score.
"Every game we go into in our conference, we're outsized," Marcini said. "So we need to have options. Jordan did a great job knocking down shots from outside. Devin [Rencher], Paul [Jenkins] and Dorian [Williams] did a great job of attacking the basket and getting to the foul line.
"We had to work in the post to get points and they did a good job of battling and taking advantage of our quickness."
Jenkins had 14 points for Streetsboro. Gency finished the game with nine points and eight rebounds, going 7-of-8 from the foul line. Rencher also had nine points and Paul Jenkins had 14 points.
Crestwood's offensive effort was highlighted by performances from Trevor Sweet, who had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jacob Graves, who led the Red Devils with 18 points.
"This win was huge for us especially coming off of a big win [Jan. 8]," Marcini said. "Coming down here, it's really easy for the kids to get nervous. We were fortunate enough to come down to play our archrivals and follow up that win against Norton with a win against Crestwood. This is always a big game for us especially on their court."
The Rockets rolled to a 66-19 win in the junior varsity contest. Reggie Dublin led Streetsboro with 17 points.
The Rockets are scheduled to visit Metro Division rival Springfield Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.