Ravens fall to Bulldogs in overtime 48-46 at home

Ravens Narique Smith hits 3-pointer to send game into overtime. (Paul Imirie)
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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.

Ravens defense in action in first half. (Ed Berti)

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.

Overtime tip-off. (Paul Imirie)

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.

Narique Smith with a drive to the basket. (Paul Imirie)

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.

Bulldogs 6’9″ Patrick Wessler #21 challenging a Ravens shot. (Paul Imirie)

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.

Ravens Jalen Perry hitting a jump shot. (Paul Imirie)

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.

A reverse lay-up for two points. (Ed Berti)

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.

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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.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.