Devilettes earn state tournament trip with Buffalo win
The 14-11 score resembled a tight football game.
Or, a high-scoring baseball game.
But the sport they were playing was basketball.
Ravenswood’s Red Devilettes and the Lady Bison from Buffalo competed on the Mick Price Court inside the Old Gymnasium for the championship of a Class AA Region IV co-final.
And those winning 14 points, fortunately, belonged to Ravenswood.
Yes, it only took 14 to earn a berth at West Virginia High School Girls State Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2012.
In Ravenswood High athletic lore, 14 points brought home two of Ravenswood’s four state football championships over the likes of Magnolia in 1972 and Big Creek in 1976.
Buffalo decided to play stall-ball against the Devilettes with hopes it would allow them a chance to reach the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center and be a part of the eight-team field of Class AA in the 2021 state tournament.
The plan almost worked.
But Ravenswood held on for the narrow victory.
“That was definitely a situation I had never experienced before,” Ravenswood head coach Cara Williams said.
The victory propelled Ravenswood into its second state tournament under Williams’ guidance. The 2012 trip was her first season at the helm of Ravenswood girls basketball.
“Our girls were a little confused at first. Even Annie (Ravenswood’s senior leader and college-bound player Annie Hunt) looked over and said, ‘What is this. What’s going on here.’”
Williams said her team’s ability not to let the creative tactic by Buffalo get the best of them was one key to victory.
“Playing defense that long is hard. They did a really good job of maintaining their composure,” Williams said. “They did a good job with their assignments and picking times when they were going to shoot the gap and get a steal.
“Credit Buffalo too; they stayed with that plan the whole time. They did not get impatient and start jacking up shots. It was crazy.”
Ravenswood owned a 12-7 lead going into the fourth quarter, only to watch Buffalo trim it to one at 12-11.
Hunt delivered when it was needed the most, hitting a jumper to stretch the Devilette advantage to 14-11.
The game ended with Buffalo’s Abby Darnley just missing a 3-point attempt that would have sent the game into overtime.
Hunt and Emily Wratchford led Ravenswood in scoring with four points each.
The other six points came from Hadleigh McGoskey, Lindsey Carroll and Maci Mosser.
Darnley had six points for Buffalo.
The contest with Buffalo rivaled a triple-overtime loss Ravenswood had suffered against Wahama earlier in the season by a final of 72-71. (Ravenswood avenged the tough defeat later with a 45-44 victory over the White Falcons).
“For me, I had coached in an overtime game but never double-overtime and certainly not triple-overtime,” Williams said. “And then to coach in a game like this. I was really happy with our girls to not break down.”
They certainly didn’t and the reward was a trip to Charleston.