Ravens drop heartbreaker to Sun Valley, 49-46

In a see-saw battle, the Rocky River Ravens boys’ basketball team was beaten on their home court by the Sun Valley Spartans last Friday night 49-46. These two teams met just nine days earlier on the Spartans’ home floor with Sun Valley prevailing 45-42. Although the margin of victory for the Spartans was the same the second time around, the Ravens nearly came out with a win this time. This was an evenly matched game from the start.

The Ravens and Spartans both played stingy, albeit different, zone defenses. New head coach Jason Buzzard’s Ravens periodically switched from a standard 2-3 defense to a trapping 1-3-1. Both types were effective at times.  Sun Valley stayed in an active matchup 2-3 zone that the Ravens had a hard time penetrating.  The defenses really dictated the flow of the game, that is to say, there wasn’t any.  Most of the scoring in the first half was from loose balls and turnovers.  The two teams’ zone offenses had their moments but for the most part were ineffective.  The Ravens lead at the end of the first quarter 13-10 and 27-24 at the half.

Both teams made adjustments at the half.  Sun Valley was able to get the ball inside the Ravens’ zone in the first two minutes of the half and grabbed the lead 30-29.  Rocky River was intent on pressing the Spartans, hoping for some turnovers which would lead to easy buckets.  It worked to a degree but the Ravens also committed more fouls in the frenetic pace. The Spartans outscored the Ravens 15-7 in the third quarter and led 39-34 to start the fourth quarter.

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Rocky River girls dominate Sun Valley, 49-36

By Kevin Baker

Sports Writer
kevin@minthilltimes.com

The Rocky River Ravens girls’ basketball team defeated the game but overmatched the Sun Valley Spartans last Friday night 49-36 on the Ravens’ home court. This was the second time the Ravens and Spartans have played this year. The Ravens won the first meeting, at Sun Valley, 39-36.
The Raven girls had to come from behind in that game to pull out the win. There was no such drama this time around. The final score was not indicative of the Ravens’ dominance.
The Ravens were intent to set the tempo from the beginning. They won the tap and immediately went inside the lane. The shot was missed, but the strategy was apparent. Rocky River wanted to push the pace. In fact, both teams came out of the locker room pressing full court. This seemed to play right into the Ravens’ girls hands as they shot out to a 16-5 lead. Sun Valley fought back to 16-10 in the last minute of the first quarter. Rocky River had the ball last and worked the clock down for the last shot. Senior Center Aliyah Hason scored on a pretty inside move at the buzzer and the quarter ended with Rocky River leading 18-10.
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Two Patriot wrestlers are champions at county tourney

By Frank Smithwick

Sports Writer
frank@minthilltimes.com

Eighteen schools participated in the two-day Al Kessie Mecklenburg County Wrestling Tournament held at Olympic High School this past weekend. 
The tournament is named after a former coach and athletic director in CMS who started the tournament many years ago. 
From Mint Hill, Independence, Rocky River, and first time participant Queens Grant wrestled. 
Queens Grant came away with one place winner, Connor Day, who took fourth place at 145 lbs. Rocky River had one place winner as well, Seth Johnson, who came in fourth place in the 195 lbs. weight class.
The Independence wrestling team came in third in team points without a full lineup.
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Raven girls begin basketball season with new talent

The Rocky Ravens girls’ ball team is preparing for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Second year Head Coach Odis Gadson returns to a team that was 10-15 last year.

Coach Gadson is assisted by longtime coaches Troy Gaston and Rasheed Taylor. While this is Coach Gadson’s second year at Rocky River he was previously the head coach of the girls’ varsity team at Garinger High School for two years. Originally from Philadelphia, Coach Gadson played both football and basketball in high school in neighboring New Jersey and considers himself a student of the game.

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Independence can’t stop Butler’s Stribling from scoring

Last Friday night, two teams about six miles apart met in the second round of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs: Butler and Independence. It was a home game for Butler, but since their stadium can’t hold the expected numbers, the game was at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte.

This was the second time in three weeks that these two teams met, the first time being to decide the winner of the SW4A regular season conference. Butler came out on top during the first meeting, and Indy was hoping to change the outcome this time.

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Independence’s cannon a forceful tradition

The cannon looks on as the Independence Patriots run onto the field for their November 2 playoff win vs. NW Guilford.
PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

For nearly 50 years, the Independence Patriots football team has been celebrating every touchdown and field goal with the blast of a cannon, tallying their score on the eardrums of the entire town.

The tradition started in 1966, when Independence High School first opened, and principal Sam Haywood enrolled the school in a contest, one where the prize was a new mascot.

“This was going to be forever, he wanted us to have the opportunity to be part of something great,” said Doug Pressley, former Independence teacher who now manages operations of the cannon.

The contest was held by Lay’s Meats and radio station 61 AM Big Waves Radio, to see which school could collect the most Lay’s Meat labels.

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