The Ravenwood boys basketball team got a much-needed district win Tuesday night, defeating Independence 64-49.
Raptors coach Patrick Whitlock knows the importance of the victory, but also that his team does not need to lose sight of their upcoming games.
“It’s huge,” he said. “Some tiebreakers could come down to who beats the teams that are ahead of you. That’s great, but we have Franklin on Friday so that’s where our focus shifts to now. If we win Friday, it puts us in pretty good shape.”
Ravenwood (13-10, 4-3) now jumps Independence (14-8, 3-3) in the standings as the Eagles have lost back-to-back District 11-AAA match ups.
The Raptors began pulling away from Indy early in the fourth quarter, ballooning their lead to 50-30 with 6:40 remaining in the game following back-to-back baskets by Joe Allen.
Tension hit a high in an already-testy contest at the 4:10 mark when Independence’s Lucas Luttrell was ejected following a hard foul on Joey Barnes as he elevated for a fast-break dunk. Barnes went to the ground awkwardly and immediately reached for his shoulder.
“His shoulder’s hurt,” an upset Whitlock said. “I’m going to be honest, that was a very dirty play and we’re not happy about it.”
Two technical fouls had previously been called in the game – one on each team.
Independence led for the first six minutes of the contest before Ravenwood went ahead 8-7 on a Ryan Nelson basket.
Nelson, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, came off the bench and sparked Ravenwood with 12 first-half points. His 10 points in a four-minute stretch gave the Raptors a 10-point advantage midway through the second quarter.
“He’s a scorer,” said Whitlock. “When he gets off and plays well we’re in good shape. We need him to play well and give us some scoring punch off the bench or when he starts.”
Nelson had a team-high 17 points while Matthew Hailey and Jonathan Coles each added 12.
Independence was led by Vic Wharton’s 17 points – seven coming from the foul line. Trenton Perry sunk four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points.
Ravenwood continues their district schedule Friday at Franklin while Independence travels to Hillsboro for their first of two meetings in a three-day span.