KENT: An explosive third quarter and stifling defense led Copley to a 75-51 Senior Night win at Kent Roosevelt on Friday, securing at least a share of the Suburban League American Conference title for the Indians.

“It was a good crowd, and we knew they were going to give us their best effort, and they did,” Copley coach Mark Dente said. “But we weathered the storm.”

Copley jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, but Kent Roosevelt slowly chipped away. A lay­up from Rough Riders freshman Jeremiah Jones in the final seconds of the half cut the Indians’ lead to 33-25 at halftime.

Dente said his team turned up the defensive intensity in the second half.

Copley’s full-court press gave Roosevelt (23 turnovers) fits all night, but the Indians’ defense allowed them to pull away with a 24-1 run in the third quarter.

Copley outscored Kent Roosevelt 24-6 in the third quarter to take a commanding 26-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“I thought we came out a little sluggish to start the game,” Dente said. “We talked about going to a full-court press to speed up the game. There was about a four-minute span there in the third quarter where [Roosevelt] didn’t even attempt a shot.”

Senior guard Brian Roberts led the Indians with 27 points, including three 3-pointers and 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. Roberts also played at the front of the Indians’ full-court press, creating turnovers and setting his teammates up for easy baskets in transition during Copley’s third-quarter barrage.

“Brian’s one of the best guards I’ve ever coached,” Dente said. “He’s lightning quick, a great shooter, a great ball-handler and sees all kinds of different defenses. He’s very difficult to guard whether it’s in the half court or in open space. We’re very fortunate to have him on our team.”

Senior guard Aamir Solomon and junior center Sam Emich (7-for-9 from the free-throw line) each scored 12 points for the Indians, and senior guard Anthony Dente contributed nine.

Senior guard Tyler McKown led Roosevelt with 12 points, and junior Michael Heintz drilled three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points.

Copley, which won the conference the past two years, shares the title with Highland and Revere with 9-3 records. The Hornets beat Barberton and the Minutemen topped Tallmadge on Friday night.

Dente said his team, especially its four seniors, likes the idea of a three-peat.

“Having an opportunity to win [the league] for the third straight year is something I know the guys have on their mind,” Dente said. “It’s always our first goal of any season; to win the league championship and go from there.”

Dente hopes his team uses the blowout as motivation moving into the postseason tournament.

“They’re a great group of boys on the court and off,” Dente said of his senior class. “They don’t want our season to end any time soon, so we’re looking forward to making a deep tournament run this year.”