Samples passes 1,000 career points

Ravenswood’s Red Devilettes got off to a hot start, built at 10-point lead at the end of the third quarter and then held off a frantic St. Marys rally in the final quarter to pull off a dramatic 54-52 upset of the previously unbeaten and Class A #2-ranked Blue Devils Thursday night at the RvHS Physical Education Building.

Co-captains, junior Emily Rector and senior Rebekah Samples led their team to its signature win of the season thus far and jump started the night by hitting back-to-back treys for a 6-0 Devilette lead to open the game.

In the zone for much of the game, Rector bombed in a game-high 26 points including six three-point goals. “On a scale of 1 to 10, this win is definitely a 10,” Rector said. “I had a good feel for it (shooting) tonight. This is a big win for us in the LKC and for the rest of our season.”

Samples drained 14 counters including seven (two treys) of her team’s 14 first-quarter points. She also knocked down a trey and a pair of free throws to score five of her team’s final 11 points to hold off St. Marys in the final moments. Her first of two made free throws with 24.4 seconds left in the game put the Devilettes up 53-50 and was her 1,000th career point. After a time-out and a brief recognition ceremony by Coach Chris Michael, Samples shook off the emotion of her milestone accomplishment and drained the second free throw (Point No. 1,001) for a 54-50 Ravenswood advantage. Those two milestone free throws by Samples proved to be the difference in the final outcome as it turned out.

“For me, on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s (win) a 12—my number,” said Samples. “I wanted this one bad after last year’s game here (she took an elbow in the mouth in the loss to the Blue Devils and got cut and swollen lips for her efforts). Getting to the state’s last year was the best, but this win tonight is pretty close. Reaching 1,000 points at the foul line as part of winning this game tonight makes it even more special to me.” 

St. Marys’ Sarah O’Neal scored an inside bucket to cut the lead to 54-52 with 14.8 seconds left and after a time-out with 6.8 second left on their next possession a long three-point try by Kelsea Fickiesen as time expired clanked off the rim to the left to set off a Ravenswood celebration.

With their co-captains’ back-to-back treys, Ravenswood jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and upped that advantage to 9-1 on a  Samples’ three before St. Marys got untracked for a 9-5 run to end the opening quarter down 14-10.

A seesaw second quarter saw Ravenswood open on a 7-1 run for a 21-11 lead as Rector heated up her long shooting game. St. Marys rallied for 13-8 run of their own to end the half down just 29-24.

Big Mo swung back to the Devilettes in the third quarter as they took a 14-9 scoring margin including deuces by juniors Nicole Sadecky and Sarah McMillan for a 10-point 43-33 lead headed into the final eight minutes.

That final eight minutes was not for the faint-of-heart as St. Marys stormed back to take a 19-11 scoring advantage and set up the dramatic finish. The teams opening the final quarter with a 6-6 scoring trade-off and then Blue Devils trimmed the Ravenswood lead to single digits. Samples and Hannah Gurtis hit huge treys, but Ravenswood still led just 49-47 with 3:24 left in the game.

After some missed inside scoring opportunities near the two-minute mark, Ravenswood gained possession, spread the floor and ran off clock.

Rector, who had owned the middle quarters’ scoring for her team, drained the front end of a 1-and-1 for a 50-47 lead with 1:36 left.

Freshman Hannah Murray, who played another key role inside and outside on the night, followed by swishing two pressure free throws for a 52-47 Ravenswood lead.

Samples then knocked down her 1,000th and 1,001st career points on pressure free throws for a 54-50 lead with 24.4 second left.

That set up the nail-biting finish.

In addition to Rector’s game-high 26 and Samples’ 14, Murray chipped in five points, McMillan four, Gurtis (trey) three and Sadecky two.

Kelsea Fickiesen paced St. Marys (now 14-1, 8-1 LKC North) with 22 points including three treys. Sarah O/Neal added 10, Dannie Renner (two treys) seven, Audra Clark six, Ali Johnson (trey) four and Katy Yeager (trey) three.

Ravenswood shot 16-for-49 from the floor (32%) and 10-for18 from three-point range (56%). They converted 12 of 20 free throws (60%).

St. Marys won the rebound war 38-25. O’Neal grabbed 14 caroms for the Blue Devils and Sadecky and McMillan pulled down five each for the Devilettes. Murray and McMillan blocked one shot each for Ravenswood. Fickiesen blocked four and Clark two for St. Marys. Rector dished off four assists for the Devilettes and Fickieseon had six for the Blue Devils. Murray, Sadecky and Gurtis notched one steal each for Ravenswood. Fickiesen and Renner had two each for St. Marys.

“We got off to a good start on both ends, “ said Coach Chris Michael, still trying to catch his breath and basking in the aftermath of his Devilettes’ dramatic signature win. “Em (Emily Rector) and Bek (Rebekah Samples) hit those big shots to get us going and I thought our defense made it difficult on (Kelsea) Fickiesen and (Sarah) O’Neal. We made it hard on Fickiesen to create for the others and that was a big key. We had a good game plan on both ends of the floor and the girls executed it with the exception of a little stretch in the fourth quarter. I thought we sustained energy and that was also a big factor.  That’s about as sweet as it gets in the regular season. We beat one of the best teams in the state tonight.  What a great way to totally erase the poor game we played at Roane. I’m really proud of these kids. They’re resilient. That’s a unique characteristic about this group of girls. They always bounce back.”

Ravenswood (10-4, 7-2 LKC North, #4 in Class AA) hosts Wirt County tonight at 7 p.m. at the RvHS Physical Education Building.

St. Marys          10-14-09-19—52
Ravenswood   14-15-14-11—54

ST. MARYS: Kelsea Fickiesen 7-(5-6)-22, Ali Johnson 1-(1-2)-4, Dannie Renner 2-(1-2)-7, Katy Yeager 1-(0-0)-3, Sarah O’Neal 4-(2-2)-10, Audra Clark 3-(0-2)-6; TOTALS: 18-(9-16)-52, Three-point goals: Fickiesen 3, Renner 2, Johnson 1, Yeager 1.

RAVENSWOOD: Emily Rector 9-(2-3)-26, Nicole Sadecky 1-0-2, Hannah Murray 0-(5-6)-5, Rebekah Samples 3-(5-8)-14, Hannah Gurtis 1-0-3, Sarah McMillan 2-0-4; TOTALS: 15-(12-20)-54; Three-point goals: Rector 6, Samples 3, Gurtis 1.