Saline’s 6’3” senior guard Matt Rosati put on a highlight show Tuesday night, scoring 23 points, grabbing eight rebounds and adding eight assists to lead the Hornets to a convincing 68-45 victory on the road over the Lincoln Railsplitter. The Hornets raised their season record to 5-6.
Rosati, Saline’s modern version of the classic “Man of Steel” comic super-hero, starting the game strong scoring six of the Hornets’ eight first quarter points by converting on both three point shots he took.
“We are a different team when Matt (Rosati) gets going early,” Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick noted after the game. “When he scores early, it ignites the entire team. His teammates are eager to get him the ball, forcing the other team to cover him, sometimes double-team him, and then Matt gets the ball to the open person and we score, as a team we score. Matt makes everyone on the floor better.”
Saline started tentatively, turning the ball over seven times in the first quarter, while trying to figure out the Railsplitters’ pressure defense. The Hornets were applying some defensive pressure of their own to keep the score close through the first quarter, down by four, 12-8. Coach Fosdick settled his team down, reminding them of the night’s game plan. And whatever he said during the break between quarters worked as Saline outscored Lincoln 24-14 in the second quarter to take a 32-26 lead into the locker room at the half.
Sophomore forward Calder Pellerin provided some fireworks of his own in the quarter, hitting a three point shot two minutes into the quarter. Pellerin, who scored 17 points in the game, was fed the ball under the basket and drew fouls as he drove to the basket.As Lincoln put their 6’7” center out to guard Rosati, with help from a guard, it left other Hornets open who scored at will. The second half was all Saline, who outscored their opponent 36-19, to put the game out of reach.
“Both teams were feeling each other out during the first half and it was a close, competitive half of basketball,” Coach Fosdick said. “We stuck to our game plan, Rosati was on fire and we kept running our offense. We just wore them down in the second half.”
Rosati put the exclamation mark on the victory with 3:08 left in the game. He blocked a shot, picked up the loose ball and raced down the court to score on a lay-up, getting fouled, converting the foul shot to make it a three point play, to run the score to 56-42.
In addition to the score, the Saline varsity hoopsters won the game statistics as well. Lincoln committed 14 turnovers to Saline’s 13, while the Hornets out rebounded the Railsplitters 27-20. This game was the culmination of a lot of hard work for the team. They got off the team bus wearing a look of determination on their faces and with grit in their hearts. And in a classic display of old-fashioned leadership, Rosati showed his teammates, his coaches and the JV and freshmen players, that you give 100 percent effort and sacrifice, and most of all, you play like Patti Fosdick (Coach Fosdick’s mother) always says, you “Play Tough."
Tuesday night, he did, and so did the entire Saline team. It was 32 minutes of tough, focused play by everyone on the court.
The Hornets get back into action on Friday as they play host to Dexter. Tip off time is 7 p.m.
The Saline Post Three Stars:
1st Star: Matt Rosati (23 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists)
2nd Star: Calder Pellerin (17 points & 8 rebounds)
3rd Star: Ryan Foley (9 points, 1 rebound and playing fiery, in your face defense)