By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
Pity the coach that has to watch his team foul a shooter as time expires once, let alone twice, in one season.
Hacking a shooter as time expired cost Ravenna in a loss to Kent Roosevelt in late December, but a similar situation broke the Ravens' way Friday night in a 76-72 overtime win against visiting Coventry.
Up 63-60 on the Comets with eight seconds left in regulation, Coventry guard Jim Holmgren caught a pass near his own bench and fired up a harmless shot with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.
Holmgren, who was fouled in the act of shooting, proceeded to knock down three tense foul shots and send the game into overtime.
Ravenna coach Phil Starks said he was frustrated by his team's decision-making under pressure, but attributed part of the problem to youth.
"I think that part of (both games) had to do with our players being young and not being in these kinds of situations," Starks said. "They're playing hard at the end of the game and young players are going to make mistakes."
Starks may have had a different comment had his team not regrouped to grab control of the overtime period.
Coventry (5-5, 3-2 Metro Division) scored the first three points of the extra period to get up 66-63 on the Ravens before senior guard Kyle Spellman went 2-of-4 in two trips to the line to cut Coventry's lead to 66-65.
After a Jesse Oravecz bucket put Coventry back up by three and a 1-of-2 trip to the line by Spellman got the lead down to two points, Ravenna's defense stepped up for a run that sealed the win.
Ravenna (5-5, 2-3) forced three Coventry turnovers and altered a number of other shots down the final two minutes of play as Tyler Bayless (4 points in OT) and Jermaine Justice (4 points) each stepped up with the game on the line.
"We really won this game on the back of our defense," Starks said. "Our kids could have hung their heads (after regulation), but they played with a lot of effort and they worked to win the game."
Ravenna's athleticism helped win the turnover battle (22-17) and Starks got a solid effort at point from Bayless, who finished the evening with 12 points -- including two 3-pointers.
"Tyler has really taken on the challenge to be a point guard for us," Starks said. "He's getting all of his teammates involved on offense and he plays smart on defense and did a great job late forcing some turnovers."
Justice finished with a team-high 15 points to lead Ravenna ,while Spellman (11 points), Jasean Kelly (13) and Josiah Coman (10) also finished in double figures.
Holmgren finished with a game-high 21 points for Coventry, including an 8-for-8 effort at the foul line.
With two games left before the Metro Division schedule recycles, Starks said he knows that any league win -- especially one over a talented Coventry squad -- is a good one for his team.
"This was an ugly win, but it's a division win over a rival in Coventry and we'll take it," Starks said.