FRANKLIN — Playing a key District 11-AAA game on Friday night, the Ravenwood High School boys basketball team got off to a great start — twice.
After being hampered by slow starts in several recent games, the Raptors opened Friday’s contest against Centennial with an 11-2 spurt. They also put together an 11-1 run in the first three minutes of the second half while rolling to a 65-42 road victory.
Jake Mulder finished with a team-high 14 points for the Raptors, who improved to 10-6 overall and 6-2 in the district.
Ravenwood head coach Patrick Whitlock said the Raptors’ scoring runs at the start of each half didn’t happen by accident.
“That’s something that we definitely addressed before the game tonight,” Whitlock said. “We were talking about some of the commonalities in our six losses this season — and slow starts was a big part of all of them. So, we came out committed tonight to not letting that happen.”
Ravenwood roared through the first seven weeks of the season, winning eight of nine games, but has endured some rougher waters in the past two weeks.
Mulder, the junior forward, said he believes Friday’s win over Centennial (5-14, 2-5) could be a springboard for the Raptors.
“Hopefully this is the start of us getting back to where we were,” Mulder said. “We’ve been in a slump for a little while, but hopefully now we can get (rolling) again.”
Ravenwood’s ability to control the pace of Friday’s game was a key factor in the Raptors’ victory. They set the tempo during the first quarter, and turned it up even higher in the opening minutes of the second quarter while building a 24-10 lead.
The Raptors eventually carried a 34-17 advantage into halftime, and then broke the game open with their 11-1 run to start the third quarter, pushing the lead to 42-17. The margin grew to 53-25 at the end of the quarter.
Centennial put together a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter that included 3-pointers by Tray Barbary and Joe Nelson before Ravenwood’s Cameron Pack ended the surge with a 3 at the other end of the floor.
A total of 22 players — 11 from each team — reached the scoring column. Mulder was the lone player in double figures for either team. Ravenwood’s Lee Molette finished with nine points, and Matthew Williams and Andrew Lamuno added seven each.
Barbary led Centennial’s balanced attack with six points, and four of his teammates — Pat Garrett, Joe Nelson, JP Poullard and Matthew Busing — finished with five each.
Mulder said that Ravenwood’s two game-defining scoring runs at the start of each half was just what the team needed.
“We’ve been having some slow starts lately — not just in games, but in practice, too,” he said. “So, tonight, we wanted to come out really focused on getting the ball up the floor and setting the tempo.”
Whitlock said he believed that whichever team established the tempo was likely to win the game.
“We wanted to play out brand of basketball, control the narrative and dictate the game — and we were able to do that,” he said. “Centennial is very good at slowing things down and grinding things out, as they did against Franklin last week and as they did against Brentwood on Tuesday. So, we did not want to play at their pace. We wanted to establish ourselves early and we were able to do that — and it kind of set the tone for the game.”
Ravenwood boys 65, Centennial 42
Ravenwood 14 20 19 12 — 65
Centennial 7 10 8 17 — 42
Ravenwood (65) – Matthew Williams 7, Myles Pollard 4, Cameron Pack 5, Lee Molette 9, Nick Dang 5, Andrew Lamuno 7, Trevor Andrews 2, Owen Grismore 6, Ben Bonga 4, Jake Mulder 14, Noah Clifford 2.
Centennial (42) – Tray Barbary 6, Pat Garrett 5, Joe Nelson 5, Cody Maddox 4, Luke Westmoreland 2, Lincoln Aholt 2, Devin Reed 3, JP Poullard 5, Matthew Busing 5, Chase Thomas 2, Matthew Joiner 3.
3-pointers — Ravenwood 5 (Grismore 2, Williams, Molette, Mulder), Centennial 6 (Barbary 2, Nelson, Reed, Poullard, Busing).
Free throws — Ravenwood 12-25, Centennial 6-14.