By Jim Manion | Correspondent
A year ago, the Salem Quakers eliminated Ravenna from the tournament trail with a dominating 17-point win. Saturday night, the Ravens repaid those Quakers with a dominating fourth quarter that led to a come-from-behind 64-56 victory to advance to the Warren Division II District semifinals.
Good ball control, clutch free throws down the stretch and a scrappy defense that caused the Quakers to commit 22 turnovers pulled out the win for the Ravens (14-9).
Anthony Banks, the Ravens 5-foot-9 junior point guard, had one of his best offensive performances of the season when he knocked down 10-of-13 free throws and finished the night with 19 points. Banks made 5-of-6 foul shots in the last 1:42 of the game.
Ravenna head coach Phil Starks was happy with the performance of every player that saw action Saturday night. "We came out and shared the ball and played great team basketball," Starks said. "Our halftime adjustment was to get the ball into our bigs and up our defensive pressure in the second half, and I think we did a good job of that. We created some turnovers that helped turn around the game, and we regained the lead because of that."
Ty-Shawn Dukes finished the night with 14 points for the Ravens, while Warren Bradley scored 11 points -- with seven of them coming in the last three minutes of the game, while also grabbing three steals in the fourth quarter. Additionally, Ravenna's Danny Miller finished with eight points; hitting only one 3-pointer, while Michael Boltz had a stat sheet that read: Seven points, three blocked shots, four assists, two steals and a team-leading seven rebounds.
Boltz was strapped with personal foul troubles most of the game in an attempt to guard Salem's 6-foot-6 center and leading scorer Max Wolfgang. However, before fouling out of the contest with 2:01 remaining, Boltz keyed a Ravens run in the third quarter that saw his team tie the game after trailing by seven at the half.
Boltz had a break-away dunk to cut the deficit to only two points, but was charged with a technical foul for hanging on the rim. The "T" cost Boltz his third foul, but the dunk seemed to fire up his team and the Ravens' crowd. The next trip down the floor, Boltz blocked a shot and recovered the ball. He then dished off an assist to Dukes for a score, then blocked another shot defensively.
Trailing only by two (40-38) entering the final quarter, Ravenna's Logan Swartz came off the bench to open the last eight minutes with a 3 from the wing. The basket gave the Ravens a 41-40 advantage that they would never lose in the fourth quarter.
Banks scored off an inbounds play and was fouled to complete the and-one. Boltz and Bradley hit back-to-back buckets and Ravenna had a five-point lead, which was its biggest margin since early in the first quarter.
Bradley had a pair of steals and scored six straight points, which pushed the lead to eight (55-47) as the Quakers started sending Ravenna to the line in an effort to stop the clock. The final nine points for the Ravens came at the free-throw line.
The Quakers (8-16) were led by Wolfgang, who scored 21 points, while also leading his team with eight rebounds. Sophomore DJ Pullie scored 16 for Salem.
Ravenna will play the winner of Poland Seminary and Struthers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Warren G. Harding High School.