With a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Ravenwood Raptors were looking to lock up its first district win of the 2013 basketball season. The Centennial Cougars squad had other intentions.
Centennial dominated the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, outscoring the Raptors 18-2. Ravenwood survived by going 3-3 at the free throw line in the game’s final 30 seconds.
“I’m happy we won,” Ravenwood coach Patrick Whitlock said. “I’m not happy that we blew that 14-point lead that we made things so close, but we’re a team that lacks some experience and we’re starting to gain that.”
With only two minutes remaining, the Cougars took its first lead in the game since leading 3-0 with a Scottie Fleming 3-pointer making the score 54-52.
On the next Ravenwood possession, forward Branndon Jones took back the lead for the Raptors converting on a three-point play with a layup and the free throw. Ravenwood lead 55-54 with 1:49 remaining.
Centennial star forward Matt Pond had been silenced by the Raptor defense over the first three quarters, holding him to five points. But the fourth quarter was different. Pond hit his third 3-pointer of the quarter with 50 seconds left to tie the game at 57.
Pond got fouled on a three-point shot and hit all three free throws to close the gap to 62-60, but two more clutch free throw attempts by Ravenwood guard Jon Coles sealed the deal at 64-60.
Coles hit all four of his free-throw attempts late in the fourth quarter and Jones added two more to keep Centennial’s run in check.
“We’ve really struggled with (free throw shooting) throughout the year especially in crunch time,” Whitlock said. “It was monumentally better tonight and that’s the reason we won.”
Pond, for Centennial, finished his night with a game-high 20 points, 15 of those coming in the fourth quarter including three 3-pointers and shooting 4-5 from the free-throw line. Whitlock is very high on Pond’s abilities.
“He’s arguably the best player in our district,” Whitlock said. “He takes some tough shots and he makes some tough shots. Our goal was to make him take tough shots without fouling. We were able to hold him down when we needed to.”
Ravenwood’s girls had little problem with Centennial in the early match up.
The Lady Raptors cruised to a 44-24 victory over the Lady Cougars Tuesday night. The Lady Raptors front court of Bailey Swayze and Lexi McKay combined for 30 points as they dominated with their high-low play together.
The game was at its closest at the end of the first quarter with Ravenwood leading 9-5, but two 3-pointers by Colleen Leyer early in the second quarter kicked off Ravenwood’s scoring run.
Centennial was led in the scoring column by Jordan Johnson with nine points and Taylor Mitchell with five.