The Ravenscroft girls used a stifling defense and a dominating inside presence to defeat Durham Academy 63-40 in the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference opener for the both teams Tuesday night. The Ravens have won six of the past seven contests in the series, including last season’s 71-32 win in the first round of the state tournament.
In boys’ action, the Ravens’ conference win streak just keeps on going and going. The team won its 77th straight TISAC game with a 55-38 victory.
Ravens girls suffocate DA
After a close first quarter, Ravenscroft (11-4, 1-0) used a 15-0 run at the beginning of the second period to turn a two-point lead into a 27-10 margin before the Cavaliers (12-6, 0-1) scored the final three points at the half.
Sophomore guard Madison Taylor helped Ravenscroft build the second-quarter lead with seven of her first-half points in the period.
“The first few minutes we started a little slow, but once I put the starters back in, they started clicking and playing unselfish,” Ravenscroft coach Shon Hardy said.
Ravenscroft’s defense put the brakes on Durham Academy’s top scorers Liz Roberts and Izzy Strigel. The senior Roberts (21.2 points per game) was held to three first-half points and 11 for the game. Strigel scored nine of her 18 points in the third period to lead the Cavaliers on a brief rally before Ravenscroft retook control.
“We focused on both of them, hoping to not let them give up the three but make them drive instead,” Hardy said. “It didn’t always work, but we were able to slow them down.”
Durham Academy, which was coming off a two-game win streak, was without senior Serena Walker and Nicole Riepl, both out with injuries.
“Ravenscroft is a great team and they made it apparent that we are not a disciplined team right now on offense,” Cavaliers coach Krista Gingrich-White said. “We have too many defensive breakdowns as a unit.”
Ravens’ freshman center Demi Washington and junior Lynn Johnson finished with 15 points each. Washington also had two blocks and nine rebounds.
Ravens’ boys overcome early struggles
Last year at Durham Academy, the Ravens needed a last-second basket by Mike Okauru with no time left to keep Ravenscroft’s conference streak alive.
This time, the Ravens (15-3, 1-0) broke open a tight first half to cruise to their ninth straight win. They have not lost since Dec. 11 against powerhouse Greensboro Day.
The Cavaliers (12-7, 0-1) played the 10-time defending TISAC champs even for the first half, trailing by just two points, despite being without top scorer Jorden Davis (16.8 ppg) who went out in the first quarter with an ankle injury. He did not return.
While Durham Academy relied on the perimeter, Ravenscroft used its muscle to take charge in the paint. But the tide turned in the second half, as the Ravens upped their intensity to wear the Cavaliers down.
“I had five players out sick with the flu, so there was a lack of energy,” Ravenscroft coach Kevin Billerman said. “They picked up the defensive pressure in the second and it started to pay off.”
Okauru scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half. Teammate Tyler Williams also had 13 – nine in the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers trailed 36-30 with six minutes left, but that was as close as they would get. Bryant Randleman led the team with nine points.