Fired-up Ravens turn back G-Men

By Brian King Record-Courier staff correspondent Published:

GARRETTSVILLE - Ravenna was looking to make a statement as the Ravens traveled to Garfield to face the struggling G-Men and former head coach Mike Cook. Last season Cook patrolled the sidelines for Ravenna before making the move to Garfield in the offseason. Damien Fortson and the rest of the Ravens rose to the challenge, besting Garfield 59-49. The Ravens (3-11) were indeed fired up for the game and it showed early. Dave Scharping and James O'Neal were so excited for the game that they drew a technical foul for dunking in warm-ups. New Ravenna coach Chet Feldman cited the Cook issue as the motivating point for his team. "The guys have been talking about this for the past several days," said Feldman. "You are going to have that anytime a coach leaves after a few years. It helped me since I didn't have to think of a new way to motivate these guys." Fortson (19 points, 5 assists) and Lee Daniels (15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) got things clicking early as the Ravens worked a little two-man game that had the G-Men on their heels. Daniels hit for seven points while Fortson added six as Ravenna jumped out to a 15-9 first-period lead. "We have been looking at some of that two-man stuff," said Feldman. "In a sense, that hurts us, not getting all five into the game, but I am glad we got out of here with a win." The trouble for Garfield was the sharp contrast between the two teams in athleticism. Ravenna took advantage of the contrast, hurting Garfield with their defensive pressure. "I think we were a little bothered by the pressure," said Cook. "They are more athletic than us. Not so much better basketball players, but better athletes." Garfield was not ready to call it quits yet. Shane Austrup (10 points, 7 rebounds) put the G-Men on his shoulders, scoring nine of his 10 points in the first half to keep his team close. Despite the effort from Austrup, Garfield trailed, but was still in the game at the half, 27-17. Fortson reasserted himself in the second half, taking control of the game. The guard drove to the basket at will, scoring and dishing off to Daniels as Ravenna started to really pull away. In all, Fortson hit for 10 points in the third period and Daniels added eight, pushing the Ravens' advantage out to 51-32 after the third. "I think Damien of all people was the most fired up," said Feldman. "He was trying to prove a point and it's over. He had a nice game, now it's time to move on." Rob Layer (14 points) tried to get the G-Men back in the game. Layer hit three 3-point shots, turning in 13 points for the half. Shawn Ohl (5 points) also helped get Garfield close, but the G-Men never could catch up. "I think the bench did a nice job," said Cook. For Garfield, the Ravenna press caused the G-Men fits. Turning the ball over some 29 times for the game, Garfield found itself in trouble all night. Free throws also posed the G-Men a problem as they connected on only 15-of-34 attempts for 44 percent. For Ravenna, the win was a nice one, but all was not well. The Ravens had a lackluster fourth quarter, scoring only eight points as opposed to their 24 points in the third quarter. "I think we played a poor fourth quarter," said Feldman. "We just didn't seem to be able to give them that last knockout punch."

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