Curtain falls on Ravenna boys basketball team in tourney loss to Poland Seminary

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By Jim Manion | Correspondent

Putting together four quarters of basketball has been a problem for the Ravenna Ravens all year.

Wednesday night at the Warren Division II District semifinal tournament game at Warren G. Harding High School, it was once again a game of inconsistency for the Ravens.

As a result, Ravenna exited the 2013-14 cage season by losing to the No. 1 seed Poland Bulldogs 64-52.

After going in the locker room at halftime down only a basket, 26-24, then taking a four-point lead in the third quarter, the Ravens' wheels came off for about seven minutes.

That was enough time for the Bulldogs (22-2) to make an 18-0 run and put the game away midway through the fourth quarter.

"I think we played about three quarters of good basketball," said Ravens heead coach Phil Starks. "I think the difference was when they came out the second half and turned up their defensive intensity, we turned the ball over. For the most part, our kids fought hard against a good team and I am proud of them, each and every last one of them. I thought we were prepared, we just came up a little bit short."

Poland cashed in nine times from behind the 3-point arc, which became one of the game's glaring difference-makers. The Ravens scored more 2-point baskets (15) than the Bulldogs, who scored only 13 times inside the arc.

The Bulldogs hit three treys in the first quarter as both teams got up and down the floor in a fast-paced game. Each team committed five turnovers in the first eight minutes. Ravenna did not score its first basket until only 3:30 remained the quarter as Ty-Shawn Dukes banked a side runner off the glass, but the Ravens already trailed 11-3. Poland led 19-7 at the quarter break.

Danny Miller hit a pair of 3s in the second quarter to get the Ravens back in the game, as Poland made only 1-of-15 shots from the field.

The Bulldogs scored only seven points in the second quarter, with five of them coming from the foul line. Dukes put up seven points and when Warren Bradley hit a pair of free throws for the Ravens (14-10) with less than 10 seconds in the half, Ravenna had climbed into a 26-24 deficit at intermission.

After Michael Boltz opened the second half with a bucket in the paint, Miller hit another 3 -- which gave the Ravens their first lead of the night 31-30 -- before Boltz hit a pair of free throws and then scored on a nice dish off by Dukes to put the Ravens up 37-33.

Dukes picked up his fourth personal foul and was forced off the court at the three-minute mark of the third quarter.

The game's next 13 points were scored by Poland to end the quarter at 46-37.

"That was a huge impact when Ty-Shawn picked up his fourth foul," said Starks. "He has been our leading scorer and go-to guy all season and the rest of the team depends on him."

The Bulldogs continued their run to start the fourth quarter with the next five points and took a 51-37 lead to salt away the win. Derek Cross and Colin Knight entered the game in the last minute for Ravenna and both scored 3s to cut the deficit to only 12 points.

Kyle Dixon and Dan Black both tossed in 15 points for Poland, while Jared Burkert hit for 12. Black led Poland with nine rebounds.

Dukes was the only Ravens player in double-digits at 14 points, while he also grabbed eight rebounds. Miller had nine points, while Boltz finished the night with eight. Bradley grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and scored seven points.

Poland will now play for the district championship on Saturday against the winner of Thursday night's contest between Cardinal Mooney and Canfield.

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