Rocky River beats Bulldogs at Ravens Nest 69-68

Bulldogs Gerrale Gates drives on Ravens Darlinstone Dubar. (Craig Curtis)
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The Rocky River Ravens won a very important game at The Ravens Nest against rival Butler Bulldogs from Matthews on Thursday night.  This game was rescheduled due to last weeks snowstorm in the Charlotte area.

Ravens Jaden Springer making a move on DJ Little. (Craig Curtis)

A fantastic and exciting high school basketball game between two strong teams.  The Ravens have played in two similar games previously coming out on the losing side of great contests against Mint Hill rival Independence and Cox Mills, both highly ranked teams in the state.  This time the Ravens stood tall and learned to finish winning a very tight well played ballgame against another solid opponent.  The Ravens are looking good themselves with a 14-4 overall record and are sitting in sole position of second place trailing the Patriots with a 7-2 Southwestern 4A Conference record.



The Ravens started the game with an 8-0 run against Butler who could not buy a basket missing some easy shots under the boards.  Matters began to settle down and by the end of the first period the Ravens had a 21-15 lead.

In the second period the teams exchanged baskets and Gerrale Gates began to control the boards to keep the Bulldogs in the game while DJ Little started to warm up matching Jaden Springer basket for basket as the two outstanding players went head to head offensively on the hard court.  The second period ended with Butler leading 35-31 and feeling good about their comeback.  Jordan Campbell hit two three point shots to keep the Ravens close.

Jordan Campbell drives to the basket. (Craig Curtis)

In the third period the battle continued as both teams exchanged slim leads and Gates continued his dominance under the boards.  However, Springer, Campbell, and fearless freshman Kahlil Brantley picked up the pace for the Ravens.  Brantley a flashy point guard made two outstanding drives down the middle lane hitting his lay-ups to electrify the home crowd to tie the game at 50.  Meanwhile, DJ Little hit a 3 pointer to give the Bulldogs a 53-50 lead after three periods of the contest.

Ravens Marcus Evans making a lay-up. (Craig Curtis)

In the fourth period this game became a war with a lot of physical play at an extremely fast pace by both teams.  Jaden Springer stepped up big time for the Ravens and Narique Smith played outstanding defense on DJ Little who can be unstoppable at times.  Darlinstone Dubar played more physical against Gates who is a strong presence for the Bulldogs under the boards.  Down the stretch Smith hit two key 3 point shots and matched DJ Little who made two outstanding 3 pointers with Smith all over him.

Ravens Jordan Campbell scores two points. (Craig Curtis)

In the end in many close ballgames it comes down to free throws.  With 8 seconds remaining on the scoreboard clock Springer hit 1 of 2 free throws to give the Ravens a 69-68 lead.  After a time out, on the inbound pass the Ravens defense was able to make a steal past half court to ice the game and the big victory.

Ravens Jordan Campbell with another lay-up. (Ed Berti)

Jaden Springer who surpassed the 1000 point mark in his career scored 24 points and Jordan Campbell contributed 17 for the Ravens.  Gerrale Gates led all scorers with 25 points and DJ Little added 21 for the Bulldogs.

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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.