RAVENSWOOD - Something happened Tuesday night at "The Pit" in Ravenswood. Some of the most exciting competition you will see anywhere, on any level took place. Even for the most casual basketball fan, it was a treat and a pleasure to watch as the Ravenswood Middle School Demons hosted the Vikings of Ripley Middle School.
There were fireworks in the form of tremendous defensive efforts, game winning shots and good old fashioned hustle was everywhere as these cross county rivals tipped off.
In the jayvee preliminary, with the game knotted at 44 with no time left on the clock, Ripley Middle's Cody Ramsey was fouled on a rebound attempt of a Demon shot attempt and took his perch at the foul line to potentially win the game.
He stood at the foul line with confidence as he sank the free throw and was mobbed by his teammates. The Vikings took the game 45-44. It was Ramsey's only point of the game but it was an important one for coach Vince Riffe's squad. Griffin Durst also hit a pair of 3-pointers for RpMS that were monumental.
For the game, Jarrett Robertson led the victors with 13.
In the varsity matchup, Ravenswood jumped out to an early 9-6 lead on the strength of guard Hayden Mandrake.
Mandrake notched a steal, a three pointer and drew an offensive foul on Ripley's Nathan Hall. Ravenswood came out in a 1-3-1 zone defense and Ripley had to adjust. They adjusted by attacking the middle of the zone. For Ripley, Hall was a one man wrecking crew in the paint. The athletic big man and teammate Chase Johnson notched double-doubles and were a tough duo to stop on this night.
The teams went to halftime knotted at 19.
Ripley put their foot on the gas in the third when they took a 38-24 lead and never looked back. They stayed in their triangle and two offensive set for most of the night. Ripley's Vince Riffe made a start at point guard for Ripley. Riffe has the flexibility to play multiple positions for the blue crew. The boys in blue outscored Ravenswood 14-10 in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 52-34 win.
Both team's leading scorers were relatively quiet in the scoring column on this night. Talented hoopsters Riley Heatherington and Jamison Hunt made their presence known more on defense than with the ball in their hands as each player found ways to help their team, proving their diversity and unselfishness.
"Beating a good Ravenswood team gives us some confidence going into our matchup with a very talented Winfield on Thursday," said Ripley coach Mark Wayne. For Ravenswood, the Demons were led by Steven Dawson with 10, Mandrake nine, Heatherington five, Akers four, Rhodes three, Morgan two and Eastham one. Ripley was led by Hall's 21 and 12 boards, Johnson netted 16 and 10 boards, Vince Riffe five, Hunt four and four assists, Lane Casto, Todd Withrow and Eli Casto had two.