In a battle of the Okauru brothers, Mike and his Ravenscroft boys basketball team defeated Sam and North Raleigh Christian 93-66 at home Tuesday night. Ian DuBose led Ravenscroft with 30 points, while Greyson Kelly had 22 for NRCA.
Before the boys game, the girls teams played with the Ravens (16-4, 2-0) easily running away with the 71-38 win over NRCA (0-11, 0-2).
Okauru brother battle goes to Sam
When Sam Okauru decided to come back to North Carolina this year from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, he returned to his former school, NRCA (6-11, 2-1). His older brother, Mike, was attending rival TISAC school Ravenscroft, which made this game extra special in the Okauru household.
“It felt kind of weird at first,” Sam said. “I’m used to playing him in a gym and other places but it was a good experience.”
In the first official game with the brothers on opposing teams, Mike and his Ravenscroft squad came out on top. The Ravens jumped out to a quick lead, causing NRCA coach Eddie Rogosich to call three timeouts in the first three minutes.
At the end of the first quarter, Sam checked into the game and he immediately began going at it with Mike. Sam hit a three, but Mike responded with a long ball of his own.
“We’ve been talking trash since the season started when we figured out the date we were playing each other,” Mike said.
That wasn’t the only head-to-head battle during the game. In the second quarter, Mike helped off his man to block Sam from behind. A few minutes later, the Ravenscroft student section chanted, “Mike is better!” as Sam toed the free throw line. First shot: airball. Second shot: brick.
Toward the end of the fourth quarter, they clashed once more. Sam hit a layup on one end, followed by Mike driving to the hoop for the basket and the foul, which Sam committed.
“I was into it so I was a little mad, and then happy, going back and forth,” Sam said.
Mike’s passing and scoring – he finished with 12 points – were just too much for Sam or anyone else on NRCA to contain.
Sam finished with 12 points and took the loss, so Mike will have bragging rights at least until the teams square off again in a couple weeks.
NRCA girls search for first win
It didn’t take long after tip-off for the Ravenscroft girls (13-4, 2-0) to establish a double-digit lead over the Knights. The Ravens – clearly the older, more talented, more experienced, more athletic team – ran out to an 18-0 lead before NRCA’s Rachel Weyne hit a jumper.
The Ravens used the full-court press throughout the game, which led to easy steals and layups in transition. Ravenscroft found a lot of success with forward Erin Hughes, whose 27 points led all scorers.
“It was getting those offensive rebounds and put backs and the guards having really good passes and getting assists off me,” Hughes said.
By halftime, Ravenscroft had taken a 44-25 lead. Hughes wasn’t the only Raven to have a good night scoring. Alexis Hunter finished with 16 points, Madison Taylor had 12 and Demi Washington had 11.
“It’s really important for everyone to be on the same page and tonight I felt like we all contributed and we were all together,” Hughes said.
NRCA was clearly the younger team with the majority of its players being underclassmen or even middle schoolers. However, it was seventh grader Emma Finster who had several bright moments in leading her team with 12 points off of four threes.
Hughes said she’s happy with Ravenscroft’s progress, but there’s still room for improvement.
“On a scale of 1-10, we probably started the season at a five,” Hughes said. “We have great talent, but we’re working our way up to that 10 where we can be a state championship-level team.”