Ravenscroft had duel showdowns with a pair of schools from the Queen City in the NCISAA 3A basketball semifinals.
The boys hosted No. 1 Providence Day, while girls took on Charlotte Christian. With a trip to the NCISAA finals on the line, the Ravens split the varsity games.
The Ravenscroft girls moved on to Saturday’s title game. The boys, meanwhile, watched their season come to an end, falling to the top-ranked Chargers.
Ravenscroft girls just needed to see a couple go through the net. Once they did, it was bombs away. The Lady Ravens had their shots going and once they started falling, Ravenscroft cruised to a 54-46 win over Charlotte Christian in the NCISAA 3A girls’ semifinals.
The Ravens trailed 14-7 early in the first quarter, but girls’ basketball coach Shon Hardy credited his team for not panicking and staying within the game plan. That game plan was to look inside and kick the ball back out to the shooters, who had the green light to let it rip.
When it was all said and done, Ravenscroft knocked down eight three-pointers and had a balanced attack to keep the Knights at bay.
“If we get a good kick out and they girls are open, then we shoot the ball,” Hardy said.
One of the threes to break the game open came from junior Lynn Johnson, who tied Erin Hughes for a game-high 17 points.
Nursing a four-point lead, Johnson found herself on the left wing. Without any hesitation, Johnson knocked down the triple, her fifth of the night. Not that the Ravens had cooled down, but their post players (Nandi Traywick and Hughes) started to make their presence felt as well.
“The girls were fired up from there,” Hardy said. “We had an inside pass from Erin who finished at the rack and then we were good.”
Once the Ravens hit some open shots, the Knights came out of their zone defense. Exactly what Hardy wanted.
“Once we got them in man we felt like that’s our strongsuit,” he said. “Once we got them out we were OK.”
Charlotte Christian got a big game from senior Kerstie Phills, who finished with a game-high 30 points. But only four players scored for the Knights, while Hardy had more balance, with six players getting on the board.
Ravenscroft will play No. 1 seed Providence Day School at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Lady Chargers are the six-time NCISAA state champs.
The Ravenscroft boys’ basketball team went toe-to-two with No. 1 seed Providence Day in the NCISAA 3A semifinals.
In the end the Chargers’ size and shooting were too much to overcome as Providence defeated the Ravens 84-78. Providence Day only played six players, but five of them (all starters) scored at least 10 points.
The Chargers were led by forward Josh Howard and point-guard Devon Dotson, who both finished with 20 points. Dotson was key, going 8-9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, when the Ravens tried to extend the game. The strategy nearly worked.
Ravenscroft pulled to within three, 68-65, after a pair of free throws from forward Ian Dubose (team-high 25 points). Moments later, the Ravens gave up a rebound on a missed free throw to Grant Williams (17 points), who put the ball back in the basket while drawing a foul.
“They get an offensive rebound on a free throw and that hurt us,” Ravenscroft boys’ basketball coach Kevin Billerman said. “That made it seven (76-69) and it’s little harder to battle back if we’re down seven with the ball. The way we shoot it that’s a pretty good option for us. But they have a really good team. They made more jump shots tonight than I’ve seen a team make all year.”
Howard seemed to never miss a jumper from the foul line all night. Trey Wertz (10 points) started off the game 2-2 from downtown and once they decided to establish Williams in the post, it opened up scoring opportunities for Isaac Johnson (13 points).
Ravenscroft didn’t do itself any favors early, falling behind 17-9, but they slowed down the Chargers and managed to tied the game at 37 on the first possession of the third quarter. Providence Day countered with an 11-3 run, the only Ravens’ bucket, a three from Chris Barnette.
“We knew they were going to make runs and I thought we would make runs, which we did,” Billerman said. “As long as we could get some stops, we could make some runs.”
The Chargers went up by as much as 10, but the Ravens chipped back into the lead. Unfortunately for Ravenscroft, Providence Day 12-from-18 from the line down the stretch.
Michael Okauru scored 18 points for the Ravens, while P.J. Stephens added 15 off the bench in the last outing of the season for Ravenscroft.
“I think that our people here at Ravenscroft and the people in the stands that have watched us play all year, really enjoyed watching us play,” Billerman said. “We played as a team, we played hard, we played smart. We were really close. We were playing the No. 1 team in the state.”