MINT HILL, NC – The East Mecklenburg Eagles visited the “Ravens Nest” on Friday night defeating a determined Rocky River boys basketball team in an entertaining basketball game. The contest featured three top area players in Jordon Neville (23.5 points per game), Jonah Lawrence (21.3 points per game) from the Eagles, and Jayden Lyles (19.6 points per game) representing the Ravens.
In the teams first meeting the Eagles won 91-71 with Neville leading all scorers with 31 points, Lawrence 27, Thomas White 13, while the Ravens Lyles scored 24 points, Shamari Johnson 15, Henry Price 10 for the visiting Ravens.
The Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Ravens Jayden Lyles answered grabbing a rebound under the boards and scoring on a bank shot off the backboard through the net to score the home teams first points. Both teams like to run, and they kept a fast pace with plenty of action on both ends of the court. Some turnovers led to fast break opportunities and the teams exchanged baskets throughout the opening period. When the buzzer sounded the Eagles had a 17-14 edge. Lyles had 7 points, Jayden Ross added 5 for the Ravens, while White had 5 points, Lawrence 4, Braylen Bowman 4 for the Eagles.
In the second frame, the Eagles extended their advantage by scoring 22 points without Neville making a major contribution. He scored only 4 points from the free throw line and could not find the 3-point range which is his trademark. Meanwhile, Lawrence scored 8 points to lead the charge, and Ahmari Hicks contributed 7 in the period. Lyles 5 points, Emannuel Torres 5, Ross 4 points for the Ravens. Rocky River scored 15 taking a 10 point deficit into the intermission with the visitors ahead 39-29 half way through the contest.
With Henry Price struggling offensively, Shamari Johnson stepped up for the Ravens who began to make a run at the Eagles. With Price making his presence known under the boards, Johnson took notice by aggressively banging under the basket and scoring baskets inside the paint. He scored 8 points in the period, Price 4, and Lyles nailed a 3-pointer to lead the Ravens comeback outscoring the Eagles 22-16 in the period. Neville finally found the range and drilled his first of 3-pointer of the game, but Lawrence, Hicks and Bowman kept pace and remained very competitive inside the paint area for the Eagles. When the dust settled the Eagles lead was reduced to 55-51. We have a tight ball game and are set-up for and exciting finish.
In the final period the teams battled and exchanged baskets. Neville began to come on as the game progressed, he became more aggressive driving to the hoop, and going to the free throw line where he is an 80% shooter. Lawrence contributed 3 huge baskets under the boards and Bayliss Williams made a noticeable contribution with a solid period relieving some of the pressure being applied by the Ravens who were on a tare in the second half of this contest.
Shamari Johnson swished a 3-pointer, it was quickly answered by Neville with his own. The pace picked up, the Ravens faithful were now into this basketball game sensing a Ravens comeback. Both teams pushed the ball up and down the court, the passing was crisp, and the teams were trying to avoid any turnovers to change the momentum. The Eagles called for a timeout with 4:25 remaining and the score 64-60 East Mecklenburg. They made some adjustments and the Ravens called a timeout with 1:33 remaining down 75-67. The teams exchanged baskets and the Ravens called another timeout with 43 seconds on the scoreboard clock. Jayden Ross landed his second 3-pointer in the period with 26 seconds remaining with the score 79-73. The teams continued to foul putting the victory on the free throw line in the final minute of this basketball game. However, the game was won with Neville landing 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute, and the Ravens missed 5 of 6 of their own making the difference in the final outcome.
Jonah Lawrence led all scorers with 24 points, Neville 22, Bowman 12, White 11 Hicks 10, for the Eagles, while Ross had 22, Lyles 19, Torres 13, Johnson 13 for the Ravens in the loss.