RCS boys down rival Blue Devils

Staff report
In Kyle Ciaravino the Roxbury boys’ basketball team has an anchor, a rock solid senior leader who has been a part of the varsity program for four years. Ciaravino proved the value of strong senior leadership Thursday night in Roxbury, scoring 22 points to lead his Rockets past Margaretville, 53-44.

The Roxbury roster doesn’t command a great deal of space in a basketball program. Only seven guys play on the varsity squad. Thursday night the Rockets played without the services of their junior strong forward, Dakota Corona who was sidelined with a foot injury. That left six players available for action. As he has all season long, Ciaravino was a constant, holding off the Blue Devils by lending a steady, calming hand to the young Rockets’ squad and clutch play with the game on the line.

Roxbury’s senior forward is the total offensive package. An accurate three-point set shot, the ability to drive to the basket and finish with either hand, and a propensity to stop on a dime and nail a pull-up jump shot make Ciaravino a defender’s nightmare. Most importantly, Ciaravino plays the game going forward, averaging over eight trips to the foul line.

Thursday night was no different. Ciaravino’s nine-of-12 performance at the foul line was a huge part of Roxbury’s success.

Free throws key
Margaretville held Ciaravino without a field goal in the final quarter, but with little distance separating the two teams during the game’s final eight minutes, Ciaravino began a steady parade to the line. Down the stretch, the clutch senior calmly dropped five of six foul shots.

Ciaravino’s contributions were not limited to defense. Roxbury coach Tom Faraci assigned his senior to slow down Margaretville’s high scoring junior center Mitch Hull. Ciaravino was up to the task, limiting Hull to 10 points, seven below his season’s average. Concluding Hull would be difficult to contain once he had the ball, Ciaravino worked overtime limiting the Blue Devils’ center from touching the ball.

Roxbury got a huge boost from junior swingman Derek Cowan. Cowan was everywhere in the first half, pounding the glass relentlessly and scoring 14 points to help keep his team in the game. Roxbury took a narrow 13-12 lead after one period that they extended to 28-26 at the half.

Cowan, who would register his first ever varsity double double, cooled down in the second half but still finished with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Cowan turned the offensive output over to Ciaravino in the second half, and his senior teammate answered with 13 of the Rockets’ 25 points.

Margaretville has to be encouraged with the play of a pair of young guards. Sophomore point guard Kyle Short and freshman shooting guard Matt VanValkenburg both scored in every quarter, sharing team-scoring honors with 14 points each. Short went six of seven from the free throw line.