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By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
You know something has not happened in quite some time when no one can remember the last time it happened.
For the first time in at least a decade, Kent Roosevelt girls basketball has earned a season sweep over its backyard rival, the Ravenna Ravens.
Thanks to a great defensive effort and balanced scoring, the Rough Riders downed the Ravens 48-31 to take a one-game lead in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division standings.
"I know that we've never beaten Ravenna twice in a season in the eight years that I've been here," Roosevelt head coach Craig Foreman said. "We didn't keep great records before I arrived, but everyone here has said it's at least been a decade since (Roosevelt swept a season series with Ravenna)."
Trailing 13-11 to begin the second quarter, Roosevelt (10-5, 7-1, PTC Metro) ratcheted up the defense to shut out the Ravens in the period. Roosevelt forced six turnovers in the quarter, and put together a 7-0 run of its own to carry an 18-13 lead into the half.
Junior Alex Marsinek scored the final four points of the half to extend Roosevelt's lead. Marsinek, who finished with 10 points, was one of eight players to score on the evening for Roosevelt in a balanced effort. Joining the junior in double figures was senior forward Megan Thomas, who also finished with 10 points.
Ravenna (10-5, 5-2) struggled to hit open shots, but the Roosevelt defense deserves credit for the way it frustrated Ravens ball-handlers with its pressure. While the Ravens had a size advantage in the post with forwards Taylor Geib and Fallon Schwab-Davis, the Rough Riders did an excellent job limiting the duo's touches and forcing turnovers before the ball could even get into the paint.
"Our defense has just been amazing lately," Foreman said. "We're doing a great job getting to the help side, double-teaming when they need to and helping out their teammates when they need to. We held Green to 33 points in a win on Monday, and to hold Ravenna to 31 tonight is great."
Roosevelt's defense remained strong into the third quarter, holding Ravenna to just four points and a total scoreless streak of over 10 minutes.
While Ravenna was struggling, Roosevelt got an offensive boost in the third from Thomas (5 points) and senior Jen Doershuk (4) to extend its lead to 34-17 to begin the fourth quarter.
As the final score would indicate, no Ravenna player finished the evening with a double-digit scoring effort. Schwab-Davis turned in the best performance, however, finishing with eight points to go along with a game-high eight rebounds.
"I wish we could have given (Roosevelt) a better game tonight," Ravenna coach Sonny Tilden said. "We just missed way too many easy shots and we didn't do a good job handling Roosevelt's pressure.
"When you have an off night like this, you don't want to have it against a good team," Tilden added.
Roosevelt has now rattled off six straight wins -- a run dating back to the Rough Riders' Dec. 28 victory over Massillon Washington. Now into the second half of Metro Division play, the Rough Riders have already avenged their only league loss in a win over Coventry, and must now travel to Springfield next Wednesday night.
Foreman said that, while the Metro Division lead is now firmly in his team's hands, there are still more than enough opportunities to stumble and allow Ravenna or any number of division teams back into the title picture.
"We tell our girls that they have to come out every night and treat it like it's the Ravenna game," Foreman said. "And I think they will because the chemistry on this team is huge and they really are believing in each other."
Facebook: Colin Harris, Record-Courier