It was the path to undefeated or winless in conference play, and Ravenscroft and Durham Academy split its girls’ and boys’ conference openers Wednesday evening.
The Cavaliers overcame a slow start thanks to a scoring outburst from Izzy Strigel, downing the Ravens 62-57.
The 10-time defending TISAC champion Ravenscroft boys dominated the glass in a 62-52 win it dominated after the first quarter. The Ravens have now won 85 straight TISAC games.
There was more than just a early jump to the top of the TISAC standings on the line in the girls’ game, it was personal.
Ravenscroft coach Payton Hobbs and Durham Academy coach Krista Gingrich played together at Duke.
“This was a very special night,” Gingrich said. “It was kind of funny because I heard some common calls, I think we were running the same thing, so that was a fun aspect of the night.”
N&O No. 16 Ravenscroft ran out to a 21-8 advantage to begin the game, taking a 23-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Trailing 27-17, the Cavaliers charged back as Izzy Strigel scored 10 consecutive points to tie things up.
“It’s always a big game for us year in and year out,” Gingrich said. “One of our keys to the game was to keep our composure … and work back into it and I think our girls saw we were turning the tides and playing better.”
That run proved to be the tipping point as Strigel finished with 31 points while shooting 8 for 15 from behind the arc as the Cavaliers picked up their first TISAC win of the year, 62-57.
The win didn’t come without the help of some clutch shots from Strigel’s teammates, though. Nicole Riepi hit a buzzer-beating 3 to end the third quarter and Imani Spence, who had three steals and two blocks earlier in the game, hit two free throws, her only points of the game, in the final minute to ice the game.
Erin Dilweg made the game-sealing steal with seconds left and then hit a layup as the game wound to a close to secure the victory.
“We’ve been faced by a lot of harder teams lately and we’ve learned to fight through,” Strigel said. “As a team, we’ve come together and we play through anything and any obstacle that we can.”
Erin Hughes and Lynn Johnson led the Ravens with 19 points.
In basketball, there’s runs and events that can’t be controlled. No matter what the opposition did, No. 13 Ravenscroft played its own game Wednesday night.
Durham Academy hit seven 3s in the first quarter — contested and uncontested — but Ravenscroft stayed with the Cavaliers swing for swing, keeping the game tied up 21-all. It wasn’t an unfamiliar situation for the Ravens, who gave up seven 3s to Voyager Academy in their last game.
However, by forcing turnovers and dominating the glass — the Cavs didn’t get their first rebound until 1:48 into the second quarter — the Ravens had a long-term game plan that didn’t rely on streaks. The Cavs’ sizzling streak started to slow down as they hit two 3s in second quarter and four more in the second half.
“Every game, I look to dominate the glass because I know that’s an area I can help with my athleticism,” senior Ian DuBose said. “That resilience to know ‘They’re going to hit shots, but they can’t keep doing it the whole game’ … we can’t control if they make shots, but we can control our effort on rebounding and boxing out.”
The Ravens won the second quarter 20-9 and never looked back. With the likes of Jack Hemphill and Chris Barnette fully healthy, this year’s Ravenscroft squad is starting to come together.
“It’s going to be a learning experience, but I’m very pleased with how we played tonight,” Ravenscroft coach Kevin Billerman said. “People can say ‘Ravenscroft is a little down’ … but we’re getting there. Our kids are learning to play together.”
Houston Baptist recruit Ian DuBose finished with 27 points and led all players with eight rebounds.
“I’ve played Durham Academy my whole career … and I know they’re going to play zone against me and try to really stop me,” DuBose said. “So I talked to the guys about how we break down the zone and get the Ravenscroft way to break it through.”
DuBose knows the rest of the TISAC will be gunning for the Ravens.
“We’re going to have to work hard because everyone is coming for us in conference play,” DuBose said.
The Cavaliers were led by Charlie Mendys, who scored 18 points on six 3s, and Roanoke College recruit Jorden Davis, who scored 15.