The Rocky River Ravens “The Rock” at home in the Ravens Nest played a non-conference game against Mallard Creek prior to Turkey Day, and they cam up with a big win improving their record on the season to 2-1.
The basketball game was fast paced, physical, and highly competitive. It was also, a well played defensive contest between two teams who applied different methods, double teams, half court and full court pressure.
In the first period, the Mavericks from Mallard Creek used their size advantage to take a 16-7 lead. They were able to hit shots from both inside the paint and around the perimeter to open up the nice point lead. While, the Ravens struggled, missing shots, not getting the rebounds for a second shot. They pushed the ball on the floor quickly with good ball movement, but could not seem to cash in on making key shots.
However, in the second period, the pendulum would swing toward the home team. The Ravens would go on a 9-1 run to make the score 17-16 with the Mavericks holding a one point lead. There were a few key situations, with the score 16-12, during the run, Nick Burns would make a nifty feed pass to Stephon Richards for a lay-up under the boards, who was fouled, Richards would then land the free throw for a nice 3-point play.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, a nice transition basket was made by guard Christian Rudisell off a steal by Nick Burns who would lead him perfectly on the fast break for N easy basket. Then with 1:40 remaining, Rudisell would drive the baseline and make the shot while being fouled. He would swish the free throw for another key 3-point play making the score 21-20 Ravens.
Finally, with the score 25-24 Mavericks, another steal, this time at center court by a stubborn Ravens defense would generate a 2-point lay-up at the buzzer by Rudisell to put the home team up 26-25 at the intermission. The Ravens outscored their opponent in the second period 19-9 setting up an exciting second half.
In the third period, the Ravens came out of the locker room ready to rumble. They decided to take over this game in the second half. Indeed, they did with some nifty passing, solid rebounding crashing the boards, boxing out a taller opponent, driving the middle and along the baseline, while hitting some key 3-point shots and playing solid defense.
In the third period, the Ravens only outscored the Mavericks 14-13. However, they controlled the tempo of the basketball game which set-up for a winning finish as they started to wear down their opponent.
Calif “Duke” Thomas drilled two free throws with 1:38 on the scoreboard clock for a 38-37 lead. The on a fast break, the Mavericks would score on a lay-up to take the lead 39-38. However, with 24 seconds remaining, guard TJ McNair drove to the basket and was hammered, at the foul line he swished both free throws to give the Ravens a 40-39 advantage.
In the fourth period, with the game going back and forth up and down the floor. The Ravens took a 50-44 lead on a jump shot by Christian Roudisell. In the final two minutes of the ball game the Ravens extended their lead to 9 points 53-44 landing the all important free throws as the Mavericks were forced to commit fouls to manage the clock in hopes the Ravens would miss their free throws. The Ravens answered the call under pressure, they landed 5-6 free throws to preserve the 54-45 victory.