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By Colin Harris | Staff writer
If there is a book on how to win rivalry on the road, Ravenna head coach Sonny Tilden has the detailed class notes necessary to conjure up the perfect gameplan.
Saturday was certainly evidence of that.
Ravenna blew the doors off of Kent Roosevelt in the first quarter, outscoring the host team 24-6, then held a double-digit distance the rest of the way for a 48-34 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division victory.
"I'm really happy with this win today because it's so hard to come here and win," Tilden said of playing inside Kent Roosevelt's gymnasium. "What we said before this game started was that it was important to get an early lead."
Tilden's players heard the message.
Ravenna (4-3, 3-1, PTC Metro) forced eight Kent Roosevelt (3-3, 2-2 PTC Metro) turnovers, stifling any possible momentum for the Rough Riders.
The Ravens got tremendous play from its guards during the period, led by sophomore Deja Sanders' 10 points and junior Courtney Cross' six. Both guards knocked down 3-pointers in the opening quarter to pull the wind out of the host Riders.
Sanders finished with a game-high 16 points, while Cross ended with eight.
All told, Ravenna forced Roosevelt into 25 turnovers as the Ravens' athleticism forced Rough Riders ball-handlers into too many mistakes.
"We're young, but we can compete with anyone and we still have a lot of speed," Tilden said. "We relied on that speed to pressure Roosevelt and come away with a number of easy baskets."
While Sanders and Cross handled the perimeter, freshman Taylor Geib did work in the post with four points in the first quarter.
Geib finished with 12 points to go along with 10 rebounds, with six of those coming on the offensive glass.
Rebounding devastated the Rough Riders all game, as Geib and senior forward Fallon Schwab-Davis cleaned up for the Ravens. By game's end, Ravenna held a 35-16 advantage in rebounding and had 11 offensive rebounds.
Roosevelt head coach Craig Foreman said that he was disappointed with the way his team performed in the paint.
"I think that Ravenna is a very physical team and we cowered a little," Foreman said. "We let them get way too many offensive rebounds and putback opportunities today."
Roosevelt came out for the second half and played man-to-man pressure defense. The pressure was successful in the fact that it forced Ravenna into 18 second-half turnovers.
"We still put out a pretty young team today, and we made some mistakes," Tilden said. "We told them that (Roosevelt) would pressure us in the second half, and we didn't handle it well at times."
While they had opportunities down the stretch, Roosevelt could not cut the gap any closer than 15 points. Free-throw shooting was a problem for the Rough Riders as Foreman's team shot just 4-for-12 in the second half -- and 7-for-20 on the afternoon.
Brianna Rock led Roosevelt in scoring with 11 points. No other Rough Riders player finished in double figures as Justina Fortson, Libby Bradford and Kasey Nielsen all finished with five points.