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Eagles send message to District 11-AAA with 67-50 win at Ravenwood

Bryan Thompson (11) of Independence slips past the Ravenwood defense for 2 of his 10 points.  Ravenwood's Chase Hawkins (25), Nate Fishbach (22) and Nick Gleason (3) can only watch the score.

Independence dominated Ravenwood from the opening tip and ran away with a 67-50 victory in a gym where they had been winless in over four years. 
Independence (8-12, 4-3) held Ravenwood (13-8, 6-2) to only 13 points in the first half with a defense that suffocated the Raptors up and down the floor. The Eagles took advantage of the sluggish Raptors and built a 15 point halftime lead that they held on to the rest of the game. 
“I’m really proud of our guys, the way we executed defensively tonight,” Independence coach Greg Glass said. “It was a must win.”
Leading the charge for the Eagles was freshman guard Grayson Murphy. Murphy started slow going scoreless in the first quarter, but dropped 22 in the final three quarters including shooting 12-16 from the free throw line. 
“Murphy is a special kid. He doesn’t play like a freshman at times. He stayed poised,” Glass said of the game’s leading scorer. 
Seniors Finis Stribling and Deion Sims provided strong leadership in the second half to not allow the Raptors back in the game. Stribling scored eight of his 14 points after halftime and Simms set the tempo creating plays for his teammates while scoring eight points of his own.
“Down the stretch Deion Sims gave us great leadership and ball handling ability,” Glass said. “(Sims) wasn’t on offensively but he broke the press, he got guys easy layups. He was just that senior leader.”
After starting the season 3-11, Glass and his Eagles have won five of their last six since the calendar switched to 2014. 
“We’ve been growing as a team since the holiday break,” said Glass. “We went back to basics and kinda simplified things. With a young team you can’t put too much on them and they embraced our new way. I can’t speak enough about how hard these kids worked tonight.”
“We’re not the same team we were in December. I think we sent a good message to the rest of the district. This is not an easy place to win.”
As for the Raptors, coach Patrick Whitlock is ready to move on from the frustration of this loss. 
“Anytime you dig a hole like that it’s going to be difficult in a district game against a team that can be very deliberate,” Whitlock said.
That hole at one point in the second quarter saw the Raptors trailing 26-7 on its home court.
“I really can’t pin point why we came out so flat, but we did and it’s frustrating. It’s a learning experience for a team that doesn’t have a lot of experience. Hopefully this will help us down the road. They were the better team tonight, give credit to them,” Whitlock said.
Senior Matthew Hailey and junior Chase Hawkins lead Ravenwood with 13 points apiece.
Lady Raptors withstand late push from Lady Eagles
Ravenwood center Alexis Ahlert lead all scorers with 19 points as she helped her team put away a scrappy Independence squad 45-39.
With under two minutes left and Ravenwood holding on to a 38-36 lead, Emmy Allen found Megan Hawken who knocked down a jumper from the short corner. A layup from Allen with one minute left pushed the lead to six and Ahlert’s two free throws with 10 seconds left put a cap on Ravenwood’s 7-3 run to end the game. 
Regan Croff lead Independence with 15 points and Katie Pierce added 11. Hawken and Emily Gleason each had six for Ravenwood. 

Indy's Sydney Escobar drives to the basket in the Eagles' loss at Ravenwood last night. Photo by Becky Williams

Independence lost not only the ballgame but may have lost Maggie Luttrell (23) for a period of time.  Luttrell went down awkwardly on this play and was assisted from the floor.  She left the gym on the gym on crutches.

Ravenwood's Matthew Hailey (10) shoots over Deion Sims of Independence.  Hailey had 13 points, including three 3-pointers, in an upset loss to Indy last night. Photos by Becky Williams

Posted on: 1/22/2014


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