A few scenes from the Cardinal Gibbons-Ravenscroft boys’ basketball game demonstrated the value of rebounding.
Gibbons’ Joe Fitzgerald forced a steal and had an open look seconds away from the end of the third quarter Tuesday night. When the shot didn’t fall, his teammate Mike Brennan was there to clean it up.
Another play in Ravenscroft’s 65-50 victory over the Crusaders was when Ravens junior forward Ian Dubose pulled down a defensive rebound that led to a 3-pointer by P.J. Stephens to open fourth-quarter scoring.
All night, Gibbons (2-6) was winning the war on the glass. The Crusaders had out-rebounded the visitors 17-5 by halftime. The Ravens had just two rebounds in the first quarter and didn’t get the third until Dubose plucked one off with 2:19 before the break.
“We felt like with our athleticism, we should be rebounding, and so I think the guys put more of an emphasis on it,” Ravens coach Kevin Billerman said. “We did a much better job of being disciplined on defense and being disciplined on offense so that we opened it up wider.”
Overcoming a sloppy start, where they missed two easy dunks in the first quarter off of steals and trailed after a quarter, the Ravens (6-1) settled down and settled in. They played a tough Charlotte Providence Day team two games ago and, like many other area student-athletes, are preparing for end-of-year exams.
They spread the ball around and exercised patience in the second half. The Ravens made eight passes before a Tyler Williams basket gave his team a 37-31 lead with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
Dubose, who had just two points on 1-of-5 shooting at the break, found his rhythm coming out of the locker room. He went 3-of-3 in the third and wound up finishing with 17 points, a game-high to match Stephens.
“We were getting outworked in the first half,” Dubose said. “I think it was majority concentration and effort. We had to come back and work harder than them. I just came out, I wanted to be aggressive. I wanted to help my team out, but also on the defensive end, we started getting some rebounds and some steals, and it translated into offense.”
Dubose finished with a game-high four steals and led the Ravens with seven boards.
Offensively, the perimeter-oriented Ravens scored five 3-pointers, all coming off assists.
Junior point guard Michael Okauru led the game with four assists, two shy of Gibbons’ team total. He came out of the game in the opening minutes of the final frame with four fouls.
“With Mike not playing as much as he normally plays tonight, I thought everybody had a chance to get assists,” Billerman said. “We had a lot of confidence in Chris Barnette, our other point guard, who came in and did really great for us. He’s only a sophomore, but he certainly knows how to play basketball. We also moved Andrew (Ejiofor) at the four over to the point for a period of time, and he did a nice job as well.”
Gibbons coach Jim Ryan also put his depth on display as a preparation for the team’s first 4A conference game Wednesday night. The Crusaders will host Durham Hillside to open PAC-6 play.
Twelve Crusaders divvied up the minutes, and nine scored. Jake Reid led Gibbons with 11 points. Kevin Edwards finished with a team-high seven boards.
“I knew it was going to be a physical, up-tempo game,” Ryan said about Ravenscroft, adding he suspects the Hillside matchup would be similar. “I had to make sure I was spreading the minutes around. I was very concerned about that because obviously our thrust is to get ready for conference. We have two conference games this week. We haven’t played in 4A before, so it’s a challenge.”
Cardinal Gibbons’ athletics moved up from 3A this season.
Ravenscroft girls balanced in victory over Cardinal Gibbons
All but one Ravenscroft player recorded an assist in a 68-45 girls’ basketball win over Cardinal Gibbons on Tuesday night in Raleigh.
That one player: freshman forward Demi Washington. Instead, she contributed 11 points, five rebounds a steal and a block.
Ravenscroft sophomore Madison Taylor led the game with 17 points, as Cardinal Gibbons senior Olivia Smith had 15 for her squad.
The Ravens (4-1) went up 9-0 in the first five minutes of the contest, as Gibbons shot 0-of-4 from the field in that time frame. The Ravenscroft defense prevented a shot attempt through the first minute and 23 seconds. Smith’s pair of free throws put the Crusaders (3-2) on the board.
Ravenscroft junior Erin Hughes had a good shooting performance in the first half. She started 3-of-3 in the first quarter and led with 12 points at the break (6-of-7). She and Taylor came out with foul trouble, but the Ravens maintained a large lead and control of the game.
Gibbons’ last-minute pushes weren’t enough, especially with Taylor driving. She also led the game with three steals.
Ravenscroft finished with a minimal eight turnovers, committing only two after one quarter.
3: Consecutive drives where Ravenscroft boys’ Tyler Williams drew contact to get to the line in the first quarter
2: Lead Ian Dubose got when he finished a steal with a modest dunk in the second quarter. The Ravens had missed two of those opportunities earlier in the game.
0.6: Time on the clock when Cardinal Gibbons’ Jake Reid was fouled on a 3-point attempt in the first quarter of the boys’ game. He converted two of the free shots to give the Crusaders a 14-13 lead after one.
1: Made field goal by Cardinal Gibbons after the first quarter of the girls’ game
2: Blocks Ravenscroft’s Nandi Traywick finished with in the girls’ game.
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan