Kevin Billerman told his team that they’d be able to win the HighschoolOT.com Holiday Invitational right after practice resumed following school exams.
He was right.
The Ravenscroft boys’ basketball coach had the utmost confidence in his crew, a security that blossomed after the Ravens took down the previously undefeated Fayetteville Terry Sanford, 60-54, on Wednesday night at host Broughton High School. In its third overall HighschoolOT.com tournament championship, Ravenscroft won the David West bracket this year.
“It was a quality win against a really good team and a great-coached team,” Billerman said. “It was a really, really good high school basketball game. Well-played by both teams and played really hard.”
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The Ravens (11-3) stayed poised through 11 lead changes, with Terry Sanford using clutch jumpers to make a late push.
Ravenscroft spread the ball around, hit the open shots and didn’t let the accolades of the defending 3A champion get in the way.
Four players scored in double figures for the Ravens, who were led by sophomore guard Chris Barnette’s 16.
His trio of second-half 3-pointers lifted the group. With Terry Sanford (14-1) playing sticky man, Barnette only had a split-second window to execute the long shots.
He finished four-of-five from behind the arc.
“I think we were very confident in the way we shot the ball,” Barnette said. “We got open looks.”
But the Ravens brought a plethora of scorers, despite their youth. Many of the players have been involved with the program since at least their freshman years.
Junior forward Ian Dubose was named to the all-tournament team, putting in 10 points off the bench. Junior guard Michael Okauru earned, in a well-rounded effort, MVP honors after a 14-point game.
Terry Sanford held off the Ravens until inside 3 minutes after halftime, where Ravenscroft led 31-24. A Malik Johnson triple gave the Bulldogs a lead with 4:07 showing in the third. The Ravens stayed close until a Barnette shot reclaimed the lead.
“I think we’re a good basketball team,” Billerman said. “We have skilled players, and tonight we showed a lot of toughness.”
Carlisle Chiefs 56, Trinity Christian 45: Gabe Osabuohien led the game with 18 points for Carlisle in its tournament victory. He also led his team with seven rebounds. Mike Boykin paced Trinity Christian with 10 points at the team’s only scorer in double figures. Joseph Baker added a game-best two blocks for Trinity.
Virginia Episcopal 86, Robinson 77: Virginia Episcopal’s Sacha Killeya-Jones led the game with 29 points, as one of three players on his team to score at least 20 points. Lavar Batts Jr. led Robinson with 20 points.
Cypress Lakes 65, Wesleyan Christian 22: Cypress dismantled High Point’s Wesleyan Christian and was led by Adrian Bajrami with 15 points. Wesleyan’s Jalen Johnson led the game with 17 points.
HighschoolOT.com Holiday Invitational boys’ All-Tournament team
MVP: Michael Okauru, Ravenscroft
MOP: Thomas Allen, Garner
Ian Boyd, Apex
Ian Dubose, Ravenscroft
Jay Huff, Voyager
Telligence Johnson, Terry Sanford
Justin King, Terry Sanford
Justin Munoz, Panther Creek
Alex Reed, Garner
Tharon Suggs, Broughton
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan