By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
With their Metro Division boys basketball season opener against powerhouse Norton looming, the Ravenna Ravens needed some positive momentum.
The Ravens (1-1) got just that on Tuesday as nine players scored in a 55-47 home victory over defending County Division Woodridge.
"We don't have that one player who is going to just carry us all season, so this is how we're going to have to win," Ravenna coach Phil Starks said of the rounded team effort. "We have a bunch of unselfish kids who aren't afraid to distribute the ball to their teammates."
With headline player senior Jermaine Justice limited to just four points and 10 rebounds, the Ravens were led by guard Tyler Bayless's 12 points. Ravenna also received strong performances from Danny Miller (9 points, one 3-pointer) and Tate Bennett (8 points, 3 rebounds).
Ravenna's offensive distribution was put on display during the first quarter as six different players scored the Ravens' first 11 points.
All offensive distribution praise aside, the second quarter was where Ravenna did its damage on the scoreboard with a 17-9 quarter that gave the Ravens a 32-22 halftime lead. Bayless scored six points and Miller contributed four as the Ravens built a comfortable lead -- one that would be tested during the third quarter.
Seven third-quarter Ravenna turnovers let Woodridge (0-2) crawl back into the game as the Bulldogs turned them directly into six points and a 10-6 quarter that cut Ravenna's lead to 38-32 headed into the final quarter.
Ravenna had a tougher evening than was necessary as 29 turnovers limited what could have been a comfortable home victory.
"I told the guys going into the season that we were going to have some trouble (with turnovers)," Starks said. "We're still trying to find that player who is really comfortable with being a point guard. We shuffled a few guys around from the one to the two or three in the third and that's because we're still trying to find (a regular point)."
Ravenna recovered in the final quarter and got back to running the court and distributing the ball as six different players scored in the final frame during a 19-15 run that allowed the Ravens to coast to their first win of the season.
Despite returning eight seniors off last year's co-championship team, Woodridge did not function like a cohesive unit on Tuesday evening.
The Bulldogs committed 21 turnovers and were outrebounded 39-26 while shooting just 34 percent from the field. Woodridge was unable to operate in the paint, receiving just four points out of its post players.
Bulldogs coach Brian Fantone said he was frustrated by his team's performance.
"We just had a horrible night inside -- it was a true comedy of errors for us," Fantone said. "We just couldn't score in the post at all and we played a lot of the game with (Justice) on the bench for Ravenna.
"We've got to get back to doing the little things better because we don't look anything like we were last year and most of that team is back this season."
Three guards finished in double figures for Woodridge, led by 15 points from Chico Coleman. Anthony Mong finished with 12 points and Nelson Perry added 11 in the losing effort.