Rocky River falls to Core 4 School from Georgia in Tournament 51-40

Ravens Stephon Richards hits a jump shot. (Paul Imirie)
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Christian Rudisell with a nice reverse lay-up. (Paul Imirie)
Calik Thomas with a jump shot for 2 points. (Paul Imirie)
Tobias Forte taking a 3-pointer. (Paul Imirie)
Tobias Forte being intimidated by Demetrius Richards. (Paul Imirie)

The Rocky River Ravens lost in the opening round to the Core 4 School in the Hoodie’s House Hoops Classic Tournament being played at Rocky River High School over the holiday break.

The Ravens did not shoot well throughout the contest. They shot a dismal 13-45 for 28.9% from the floor, and even worse from the 3-point range 5-19 for 26.3%. It is imperative the running Ravens need to score from the 3-point range against bigger teams.

The school from Georgia had a lot of size. They had a huge height advantage with big strong players under the boards inside the paint. The visitors were able to take full use of their superior height with multiple scoring opportunities as they accumulated a 36-24 rebound advantage in the game. Also, the Ravens did not execute boxing out their opponents effectively in all four periods.

In the first period, the height advantage forced the Ravens to rush shots and make adjustments to their shooting style. They shot poorly hitting only 3-12 shots and scoring just 10 points. While the visitors netted 5-12 shots for a 41.7% field goal percentage 16.3% higher than the home clubs 25.0% for the period. The big shot made by the Ravens was by Tobias Forte who hit a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining to get the Ravens within two points at 12-10.

The second period was pretty much the same scenario as the opening period of this game. Rocky River had only connected on 3-10 or 30.0% of their 3-point shots for the game. After Core 4 hit two consecutive 3-pointers, Calik Thomas would score a nice 3-pointer from the baseline cutting the lead to 17-15. Meanwhile, the visitors kept the pressure on defensively while controlling the boards making it difficult for the Raven’s guards to penetrate the lanes to the basket. At the intermission, the visitors outscored the Ravens 14-8 in the period giving them a 26-18 half time lead.

During the third period, Ravens Coach Mike Malpass who has shown a consistent ability to make good adjustments at the break, had his team playing much better defensively holding the visitors to just 7 points in the period. However, the challenged remained offensively for the Ravens who could not seem to overcome the obvious height advantage possessed by Core 4. It impacted the Ravens shooting as they hit only 3-12 shots taken, and more importantly, the team shot 1-6 from the 3-point range for only 16.7%. However, on the plus side, it appeared the defensive changes kept the home club in the basketball game down only 32-25.

In the final fourth period, the game opened up once again as the Ravens had to score points to pull out a come from behind win. The defense slacked off, and the game reverted into a run and shoot affair. The Ravens came out on the short end losing the period 19-15 which only extended the visitors’ lead and ultimate 11 point victory.

The big scores made by the Ravens include a Nick Burns 3-pointer, a Thomas 3-point shot and some quick slashing fast breaks nicely executed by Christian Rudisell, Forte, and Richards.  However, the Ravens had no answer for the Core 4 big man in the middle Demetrius Richardson who had 3 slam dunks in the contest and 2 in the fourth period while accumulating 12 rebounds.

For the Ravens Tobias Forte lead all scorers with 14 points, Stephon Richards contributed 12 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately, Calike “Duke” Thomas was neutralized by the big men and only scored 6 points with 5 rebounds well below his usual production.

The Ravens will play next on Saturday in the second round against Lancaster High School which should be a good match-up.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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