The Rocky River Ravens played a defensive battle against the Butler Bulldogs on their home court on Friday night. Both teams played tight defensively and slowed down the tempo of the game while working the clock for an advantage.
As always in the game of basketball teams will have their runs. Rocky River had their run in the first period taking a 15-7 lead over their opponent. They started out fast on a slam dunk by Narique Smith for the first two points of the game. Then the Ravens led 11-5 midway through the period. However, the Bulldogs would bounce back in the second period with their own 14-7 run, thus, ending the first half with a low scoring 22-21 advantage for the Ravens. The slim lead was an omen of what was about to transpire in the second half of this epic battle on the hardwood.
In the third period, the Ravens would outscore the Bulldogs 14-11 to take a 4 point lead 36-32 after three periods played. The teams struggled back and forth while trying to set-up plays for buckets without a lot of success.
The Ravens want to penetrate the lanes and drive to the basket. They also like to take three point shots around the perimeter. In the second period Butler inserted their 6’9″ freshman center Patrick Wessler who made a huge difference along with starting power forward Rajuan Conner 6’6″ to clog up the middle and impact the penetration game of the Ravens. Wessler would also challenge on jump shots and either would deflect or block a few shots making it more difficult for the quick undersized Ravens.
In the fourth period, the Bulldogs would outscore the Ravens 14-10. With 5:25 remaining the Ravens still had a 39-34 advantage. However, in the final five minutes the Bulldogs would have a second run and take a 46-43 lead. Then with 39.9 seconds remaining in the contest, Narique Smith would hit on a three pointer to tie the game at 46-46. Butler would call a timeout with 11.8 seconds remaining in regulation. However, the Ravens defense was up to the task and we were going into overtime.
The four minute overtime continued back and forth with no team scoring until Butler would hit on a 10 foot jump shot with 8.4 seconds remaining. Time out Ravens, they set-up a 3 point play for Smith who takes the shot with 3.8 seconds on the clock, the ball goes around the rim and out, the Ravens put up a second shot the ball bounces off the rim to end the game. Butler holds on to a 48-46 overtime road win to remain undefeated.
This was especially a tough loss for the Ravens who led throughout most of the game, and a home conference game against a local rival. The Ravens play next on Tuesday December 18th at Myers Park. The Ravens are now 3-3 on the season and 0-1 in the conference.