After two games, the Rome Free Academy boys basketball team remains a work in progress after falling to visiting Tri-Valley League foe Notre Dame of Utica, 68-47, on Friday night.
The Black Knights, which fell to 0-2, opened the scoring right off of the opening tip. Manny Salas knocked down a corner three for the first points, then the two teams traded buckets in the early minutes of the contest.
With Notre Dame trailing 9-8 after a Hunter Frisch bucket for RFA, the Jugglers ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run, fueled by Levi Spina, who scored eight first quarter points.
Leading 18-9 to start the second quarter, Notre Dame’s run continued. Mohamed Magano scored the opening points of the quarter after he stole the ball and went to the other end and finished off with a transition layup to increase the Jugglers lead to 11.
After another Notre Dame bucket, Spina knocked down a corner three to make it a 25-13 contest with just over six minutes remaining in the first half.
Ayden Adzajlic made a three-point play the old fashioned way, getting to the basket for a layup and converting the free throw to make it a 27-15 game with 4:24 to go before the break. After that three-point play for the Black Knights, the Jugglers ended the first half on a 16-7 run to go up 43-22 at halftime.
“We didn’t execute,” RFA head coach Nick Medicis said. “I thought the game plan was there. We prepped the last couple of days for the press and we did not do a good job. We threw it away, we were careless with the ball. Everything that we want to do to the other team, they did to us.”
The Black Knights began the third quarter with Isaiah Smith splitting a pair from the free throw line, but the Jugglers answered right back by getting stops and converting on the other end on consecutive possessions to bring their lead to 47-23. Notre Dame added two more buckets before Adzajlic provided a quick spurt for RFA, leading the Black Knights on a 7-0 run himself to make the score 53-32 with under a minute to go in the third quarter, but the deficit was too much for the Black Knights to overcome.
Adzajlic led RFA with 10 points off the bench and both Frisch and Kaiden McCaskill finished with nine. Mohamed scored a game-high 25 for the Jugglers and Spina added 13.
“We’re going to make some adjustments and go from there,” Medicis said. “It’s a six-game season and we just got to out there and win the next game. We did not do a lot of things and we did not play very well. We just have to get back to the drawing board. We have (Notre Dame) at least once more and we need to make adjustments. I think we can play with that team. I think we can compete with that team and I think we’re fairly even, but to their credit, they played much better than us today.”
The Black Knights take the floor again on Tuesday night when they travel to TVL foe New Hartford. Tip-off is set for 7.
The Jugglers improved to 2-0.
HP cruises past VVS
In other boys basketball action, Holland Patent defeated visiting Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, 81-56, on Thursday.
James Wheeler and Jackson Horodnick led the Red Devils with 10 points apiece. Matt Hicks and Bryce Palmer added eight points each for VVS.