Ravens leave little doubt

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The Ravenna Ravens have been playing with a chip on their shoulder all season long. And there's a good reason for that. "What kinda fuels our fire is we were picked to finish last (in the Western Reserve Conference South Division)," said Ravenna coach Keriann Pratt. "That's where we were picked when the polls came out early in the season, and that's hanging in our team room and it's circled." With that, the Ravens promptly went out Thursday and notched their first WRC South victory of the season with a convincing 66-34 triumph over host Kent Roosevelt, a win that gives Ravenna (6-5, 1-4 WRC South) a one-game lead over the Rough Riders (2-10, 0-5 WRC South) in the division. The Ravens were in total command from start to finish. Senior guard Kyla Hogan, who led Ravenna with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds, scored the first six points of the game and the Ravens were off and running. "The key to winning was being unselfish and going after the ball," said Pratt, who also got 14 points from Gina Pischera and 13 from Kyle Davison. "There wasn't one all-star. It was a team effort. "We went to Mayfield Tuesday, and Mayfield's coach even came into our locker room and said in 22 years he's never seen a team so unselfish. And that's something we're going to pride ourselves on, not being selfish, and I think that was proven." The Rough Riders pulled to within 8-5 on a three-point play by Caitlin Carroll midway through the first period, but the Ravens responded by scoring the final 10 points of the quarter for a commanding 18-5 lead at the first stop. In a graphic illustration of how effectively the Ravens spread the wealth, five different players scored in that decisive 10-0 run, including a 30-foot bank shot at the buzzer by Kendall Harkcom. The Ravens continued to build on their strong first quarter throughout the contest, leading 35-17 at the half and 51-25 after three periods. The youthful Rough Riders, who didn't put a senior on the floor Thursday, simply couldn't match the Ravens' defensive intensity. "We're definitely young, no question about that," said Roosevelt coach Cameron Black, who played five juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen. "It's like a deer in a car's headlights when you're that young. We had a tendency to stand and watch them play defense." Freshman Ashleigh Stikes led Roosevelt with 11 points and nine rebounds, and junior Deidra LaFollette added eight points and nine rebounds. But after scoring her sixth point one minute into the second period, the 6-foot Stikes didn't record another field goal until the final moments of the game. As a team, the Rough Riders hit just 14-of-71 shots (20 percent) from the floor. "We usually can score inside, but Ashleigh didn't have her greatest shooting night at 5-of-17 in the paint," said Black. "LaFollette was 4-of-14, Sarah Fairhurst 0-of-8, Molly Manay 2-of-11 ... you're not going to beat anybody shooting like that. Those are high-percentage shots as well. If you can't get high-percentage shots to go down, I don't know what you're going to do." __ E-mail: thardesty@recordpub.net Phone: (330) 678-5460

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