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The Rochester RazorSharks ushered in a new era for the franchise on Thursday the same way much of the previous one went - with a victory.
With new head coach Cliff Levingston replacing longtime coach Rod Baker and a roster that had just two players back from last year's team, the RazorSharks tipped off the Independent Basketball League-Premier Basketball League season with a 103-91 victory over the Indiana Splash at Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester Community War Memorial.
Rookie guard Darin Mency led the way for Rochester with six 3-pointers and 25 points, while Brian Barkdoll complemented with an inside game, scoring 19 points.
"It's our first game and we didn't really know how to scout this team, but we adjusted on the fly and the guys were really receptive to what I wanted them to do on the floor," said Levingston, who played 11 seasons in the NBA and won two titles.
There weren't many scoring flurries from Rochester, but it used a persistent offense and opportunistic defense to gradually pull away in the second half.
The RazorSharks led comfortably much of the first half before Indiana whittled that down to just a two-point edge heading to halftime.
Rochester opened the second half with a 7-2 spurt to widen the margin again and outscored the Splash 26-15 in the third quarter.
"We just had to finish the game," said Mency, who scored nine straight points for the RazorSharks bridging the third and fourth quarters. "Just be poised and know we had the advantage."
Barkdoll also had a big hand in the third quarter, scoring eight points and grabbing several offensive rebounds.
"He just played big," Levingston said of the 6-foot-11 center. "He went to the basket and to the offensive boards because he knew nobody could stop him."
In one sequence in the third, Barkdoll and Jessan Gray combined for four offensive rebounds in one possession that ended with Barkdoll getting to the free-throw line.
The fourth quarter saw Fairport graduate Kyle Downey get his first minutes in a RazorSharks uniform.
Downey turned the ball over on his first touch, but followed that with four points, a rebound, an assist and a steal.
"I wasn't really (anxious), I've played here quite a few times," said Downey, who played his college ball at Siena. "I just wanted to relax and let the game come to me. We were up so we were trying not to blow a lead. It was a simple job at that point."
The backcourt got Rochester started in the first quarter, with guards Tony Bennett and Keith Friel scoring seven of the team's first nine points.
Mency made his first mark on the game late in the first when he knocked down three straight 3-pointers to open up a 31-17 lead.
"Mency is one of those young guys that is hungry," Levingston said. "He is just trying to get a chance to show what he has."