The Rocky River Ravens boys’ basketball team was beaten by the South Mecklenburg Sabres last Friday by the score of 64-31. The 4A Southwestern Conference game was played on the Sabres’ home court.

Leading up to the game, the two teams appeared to be evenly matched.  Each team came into this game with identical 4-7 overall records.  The Ravens were 2-0 in the Conference and the Sabres were 1-1.

As lopsided as the final score appears, the game itself wasn’t even that close.  The teams were tied at seven in the middle of the first quarter and all seemed fine for the Ravens.  However the Sabres got some good outside shooting and finished the quarter leading 16-8.

The second and third quarters were like a nightmare for the Ravens.  They scored five points, combined, during that period.

You could say the Sabres played stingy defense,and they did.  six-foot-nine  senior center Malcolm Mathews was patrolling the lane for South Mecklenburg and that allowed the other Sabre defenders to trap and harass the Ravens on the perimeter.

You could also say the Ravens shot horribly as a team, which was also true and maybe an understatement.  No Ravens player was immune.  The team went zero for the entire second quarterin field goals, and made only two in the third.  Three point shots, layups, free throws, and everything in between, the Ravens were unable to score the basketball.

As the team went from cool to cold to freezing, the game itself raced away from them.   The score was 33-9 at halftime and 50-13 when the third quarter ended.

Head Coach Jason Buzzard was trying everything in his arsenal to snap the team out of their predicament.  He tried timeouts, line-up changes, full court defensive pressure, zones, fast pace, slow pace, etc.  He was attempting to kick start his offense through his defense, but to no avail.

Both teams emptied their benches for the last quarter, and the final score was a little more respectable, but still a blowout.


Game Notes

The Ravens are a guard-oriented team.  This can be an advantage when outside shots are falling, because it extends the opponent’s defense and opens up the inside for the big guys.  Conversely, as we saw in this game, when the outside shots are not falling the Ravens struggle to score because the opponent’s defense is not forced to extend and the inside is clogged up with defenders.

No matter the final score, one thing can be said about this Ravens teamąthey do not lack effort.  Even though the game was out of reach they were still hustling and scrambling.  Credit the coaching staff.

The Ravens were led in scoring by senior guards Malik Clark with nine points and Sidney Lawson with eight.

The Boys’ Junior Varsity team narrowly lost to the Sabres 37-35.


Team Notes

This game was a perfect storm against the Ravens.  It was the fifth straight game away from home, they couldn’t find the basket, and the game just snowballed out of control.  The Ravens aren’t near as bad as the final score indicates, nor are the Sabres that good.  I would say the rematch, February 1 in Mint Hill, could be very interesting.

Freethrow shooting is still a problem for the team.  They are shooting just over 50 percent at the line for the season.  They will not beat good or even average teams shooting free throws at that pace.

The Ravens current record is 4-8 and 2-1 in conference.  Next week the team plays at East Mecklenburg (6-7 and 1-2) on January 8 and at home January 11 against Independence High School (8-4 and 2-1).