There was Juanita Hutchinson, drilling a long jumper.

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

There was Juanita Hutchinson, drilling a long jumper.

There was Gabriella Gonda, setting things up and scoring when the opportunity presented itself.

For Kent Roosevelt girls basketball coach Cameron Black, Wednesday night's convincing 54-38 Western Reserve Conference South Division win over host Ravenna offered a quick glimpse at his team's potential this season.

And one thing was painfully obvious to the Ravens: the Rough Riders are not wanting for an inside game.

Roosevelt's post players, led by Benjamin, Toya Watts and Kelly Yahner, dominated the paint at both ends of the floor, giving the Rough Riders close-range looks at the basket while the Ravens struggled just to set up their offense.

"If our kids are patient offensively, we can do that to almost anybody we want too," said Black, whose team improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the WRC South. "We have three 6-footers down there who can play. It's just a matter of getting them the ball.

"This is the best we've played as a team thus far all year."

Benjamin, a 5-11 senior, finished with a game-high 17 points, with all her baskets coming in the lane _ and two of those via offensive rebounds.

Yahner, a 6-2 freshman, contributed seven points. Watts, a 6-1 senior, had only three points, but was a force defensively and on the glass.

Those three combined to hold Ravenna's primary post weapon, 5-11 senior Veronica Byerly, in check. Byerly ended up with 15 points, but her baskets were sprinkled between several Roosevelt runs and she was unable to counter the Rough Riders' inside players by herself.

The Ravens, who got 10 points off the bench from 5-10 sophomore Kelli Stefansic, also didn't help themselves by committing 26 turnovers, several of them unforced.

"We're not playing smart basketball at either end of the floor, and we're not playing together at either end of the floor," said Ravenna coach John Davison, whose squad fell to 3-3, 0-3. "If we don't do that, we're not going to win.

"Roosevelt shot the ball well. Give them credit, they earned the win. We had our chances but we didn't take advantage of them."

Following four lead changes and one tie, the Rough Riders grabbed a 17-10 advantage after one period.

A layup by senior Morgan Jones brought the Ravens within 18-14 early in the second, but the Rough Riders scored eight straight points to go up 26-14 and they were in command the rest of the game. Benjamin hit two layups and Hutchinson buried two jumpers in the spurt.

"I was especially pleased with our offensive execution," said Black. "We moved the ball well and got great shots. Juanita Hutchinson was on fire. When somebody's shooting it like Juanita was tonight, there's no stopping her."

Roosevelt led 30-21 at the half and 40-29 after three quarters, and continued to build on its lead in the fourth. A 7-0 run late in the period, highlighted by Gonda's 3-pointer, made it 54-35 and sealed the Ravens' fate.

_____

Kent Roosevelt 54, Ravenna 38

(At Ravenna)

KENT ROOSEVELT (54) _ Katie Benjamin 8 1-3 17; Gabriella Gonda 4 0-0 9; Juanita Hutchinson 7 0-1 14; Alyssa Perkowski 1 0-0 2; Toya Watts 1 1-2 3; Nita Nunthirapakorn 0 0-0 0; Kelly Yahner 2 3-5 7; Samantha Broaddus 1 0-0 2; Maya Gilbert 0 0-0 0; Lindsay Smith 0 0-0 0; Tiana Friday 0 0-0 0; Kristen Benjamin 0 0-2 0. Totals 22 5-13 54.

RAVENNA (38) _ Mindy Jones 2 2-4 6; Jennifer Hellekson 0 2-4 2; Courtney Davison 0 3-4 3; Bobbi Wymer 0 0-0 0; Veronica Byerly 6 3-6 15; Kelli Stefansic 3 4-4 10; Morgan Jones 1 0-0 2; Bernie Simonis 0 0-0 0; Lindsey Widener 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 14-22 38.

KENT ROOSEVELT 17 13 10 14 _ 54

RAVENNA 10 11 8 9 _ 38

Three-point goals -_ Kent Roosevelt (1-4): Gonda 1-1, Hutchinson 0-1, Perkowski 0-2; Ravenna (0-3): Mi. Jones 0-1, Davison 0-2.

Total Fouls _ Kent Roosevelt, 18-17.

Total Rebounds _ Kent Roosevelt, 24-11.

Total Turnovers _ Ravenna, 26-21.

JV Score _ Ravenna, 46-35. Top Scorers: (R) Kyla Hogan, 18 points; (KR) Tiana Friday, 9 points.

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