by Jim Manion
Mantua -- The Streetsboro boys basketball team earned a 72-57 victory over Portage Trail Conference rival Crestwood in its season debut Dec. 3 in Mantua.
The Rockets also made a sterling PTC County Division debut after posting a lopsided 60-27 win over Rootstown Dec. 6 on the road. With the wins, Streetsboro improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the County Division.
Paul Jenkins led the Rockets' scoring attack with 18 points and the 6-foot-4 forward also led the team with five rebounds. Reggie Dublin and sophomore Jerry Judd each scored 16 points for Streetsboro.
Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini was the first to admit that it wasn't all pretty, but any time you can walk out of the Crestwood gym with a win, it was worth the trip. The Rockets appeared ready to pull away on several opportunities, but the pesky Red Devils didn't go away and kept the game interesting until the final two minutes.
"We came into this opener with not a lot of varsity experience on the floor," said Marcini. "I thought senior Reggie Dublin stepped up big for playing in his first game and Paul [Jenkins] came through also."
With the scored tied at 27-27 in the final minute of the first half, the Rockets (1-0) scored six straight points for a 33-27 halftime advantage and never trailed, holding a 10-point lead or more for the second half.
Jordan Fabry led Crestwood with a game-high 19 points.
Fabry also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Matt Czerny tossed in 13, while Austin Usher tallied 10 points.
Fabry hit a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter to give Crestwood (1-1) an early lead, but Dublin countered for the Rockets with a three at the three-minute mark for a 12-10 edge.
Devin Rencher scored a fast-break basket off a Crestwood turnover with 2 minutes, 27 seconds left in the quarter and was fouled.
He converted the three-point play for a 15-10 lead. Streetsboro had a 17-13 advantage after the first eight minutes. Both teams committed seven turnovers in the opening quarter and totaled a combined 40 turnovers for the game.
Austin Usher hit a three for the Red Devils with two minutes remaining in the half and the next time down the floor, he grabbed an offensive rebound and dished off to sophomore Jake Lieberth for a layup, which gave Crestwood its first lead of the game at 26-25
He was fouled on the play and converted for a 27-25 score.
The Rockets scored the final eight points of the half to take a 33-27 advantage when Judd tossed in a basket at the halftime buzzer.
A pair of Judd threes in the third quarter appeared to give Streetsboro a comfortable lead entering the final eight minutes at 53-41.
However, Crestwood had other ideas and after falling behind by 15 points (64-49), went on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 66-57 before committing four straight turnovers as the Rockets closed the game with the last six points.
Streetsboro also posted a 66-46 victory in the junior varsity contest.
Against Rootstown, the Rockets had a 27-12 lead at halftime and a 44-19 advantage after three quarters of play.
Jenkins led Streetsboro with a game-high 18 points and Rencher added 12 points.
The Rockets earned a 56-39 win in the JV game. Jared Tucker led Streetsboro with a game-high 18 points.
The varsity team was scheduled to visit County Division rival Southeast Dec. 10 in Ravenna. Results were not available at press time. The Rockets are set to return home to play Mogadore in a County Division showdown Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.