MINT HILL, NC – The Rocky River Ravens dropped their season home opener 79-57 to the West Charlotte Lions who took control of this contest by scoring on the opening tipoff and continued to maintain a comfortable lead throughout the entire basketball game.
The Ravens were simply outplayed and overmatched by the Lions who forced turnovers, used their size advantage, and beat the Ravens in the transition game for three solid periods. Things began to settle down midway through the third period when young 5′ 11″ freshman guard Kamal Brantley entered the game and made an impact. His ball-handling skills helped the Ravens move the ball with more efficiency, and he played solid defense with good speed and hustle. Maybe, he wanted to show the coach that he deserved more playing time, but whatever his motivation, his presence on the court was a positive experience for the Ravens. He is young, has a lot to learn and improve upon in his game, but he has the makings of a potential dominating backcourt player was certainly apparent.
Brantley comes from good stock, his older brother who played his freshman season at Rocky River when they had Jaden Springer, who signed a 4 year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Ravens lost to a fabulous Independence team for the State Championship prior to transferring to Our Savior Lutheran in NYC. Khalil Brantley showed similar skills during his short tenure. He eventually became an All-State Player, and is now making an impact at La Salle University in the backcourt averaging 15.3 points per game in his first 4 college basketball games. This writer took notice then and may have been the first to recognize Khalil’s potential in writing. With hard work, good coaching, and having a positive mental attitude, young Kamal has the potential to follow in his brother’s footsteps.
Getting back to the home opener for the Ravens in a game dominated by the Lions there were some positives to mention. Junior Henry Price had himself a positive game, he scored 13 points and contributed 2 blocks for the Ravens. Jaden Lyles added 12 points in the contest, he made 5 assists, and had a steal showing good court awareness. Senior Javares Green had a solid all-around contribution with 7 points, and he accumulated 1 block, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal in a good effort.
The Ravens were down 37-29 at the intermission, and 58-37 in the third period when the Lions had a huge 11-2 run to open up the second half virtually putting this game out of reach for Rocky River to mount any real threat for a comeback.
Rocky River will play their next home game at the Ravens Nest on Friday, 12/3 against Corvian Community High School at 7:30 pm in a non-conference matchup.