Ravenna Ravens sweep season series from rival Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders (with video)

By Colin Harris | Staff Writer Published:

Kent Roosevelt played a "near-perfect" game on Wednesday night -- they just didn't get the win.

Roosevelt managed to stall Ravenna's pressure for much of the night, getting the ball up court quickly and making good passes, but key mistakes and critical misses at big moments cost the Rough Riders in a 35-30 Ravenna victory.

"I felt like we played a near-perfect game tonight, except at key moments we'd miss a layup or a shot," Roosevelt head coach Craig Foreman said. "It felt like deja vu, because this has happened to us the last couple of times we've played (at Ravenna)."

Roosevelt (10-7, 7-4 Metro Division) shut the Ravens out during the first quarter as the Rough Riders jumped out with an 8-0 period. Brianna Rock put in four points and teammate Courtney Olesh added two as Roosevelt's slow, methodical style of play seemed to take Ravenna out of its comfort zone.

Ultimately, however, a scoreless first period meant little to Ravenna (12-6, 9-2), as the Ravens began the second period on a 13-5 run. Freshman Nicole Simpson tied the game for Ravenna with 1:20 remaining in the half after an assist from guard Courtney Cross.

Roosevelt re-captured the lead with 48.7 seconds left in the half as senior Libby Bradford knocked down a pair of foul shots to give her team a two-point lead going into the locker room.

The two teams battled to another tie in the third quarter as Olesh scored with four seconds remaining to even the contest at 23-23. But Ravenna's dormant pressure began to show signs of life to the tune of four Roosevelt turnovers and a pair of transition buckets for guards Moe Moe Smith and Deja Sanders.

"In the third quarter, I think that our pressure started to get to Roosevelt a little bit," Ravenna head coach Sonny Tilden said. "I give our girls credit for the way they were able to battle back and get into the game."

Ravenna began to pull away in the fourth quarter as forward Taylor Geib (four points) and Ja'Lynn Starks (four points) helped give the Ravens a six-point lead with 1:41 remaining in regulation.

After the two teams traded turnovers on consecutive possessions, Roosevelt guard Jenn Doershuck knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the Ravenna lead to 33-30 with 58 seconds remaining.

Ravenna missed a jump shot attempt on the next trip down the court, and Bradford recovered the rebound. The Roosevelt senior pushed the ball down the court and was fouled on a layup attempt, giving Bradford two foul shots with 28.2 seconds left and a chance to cut Ravenna's lead to one point.

Bradford would go on to miss both foul-shot attempts, however, as Sanders connected on a pair on the other end to seal the five-point win for Ravenna.

Tilden said after the game that his team got exactly the type of performance he expected from their backyard rival; that is to say, a far cry from their first meeting at Roosevelt -- 48-34 Ravenna win.

"Roosevelt plays really hard, and I knew they'd do that again tonight," Tilden said. "Every time we play them at this gym it seems like we have a battle."

Geib finished with a double-double for Ravenna in the win, scoring 11 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Sanders was second on the team with six points.

In her final Roosevelt-Ravenna game, Olesh finished with a game-high 12 points for the Rough Riders. The senior forward also pulled down five rebounds.

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