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Senior leadership gets Ravenwood past Franklin

Four Ravenwood seniors combined for 35 points to lead the Raptors over district foe Franklin 68-57.

Senior guard Ryan Nelson is getting used to his new role off the bench, scoring a game-high 16 points Friday night.

“Ryan is typically a starter and he came off the bench the other night and had a good game and we didn’t want to mess with it,” Ravenwood coach Patrick Whitlock said. “He’s a scorer. He can score off the dribble, he’s a very good 3-point shooter, and just a lethal weapon off the bench. That’s what we expect out of him. When he plays well we are a pretty good team.”

Senior point guard Jon Coles continued his primary job of floor manager for the Raptors, scoring nine points - including making six free throws in the fourth quarter - to seal the victory despite missing practice time earlier in the week. His effort didn’t go unnoticed by his head coach.

“I’ll tell you, I’m really proud of Johnny because he gutted it out,” Whitlock said. “He had a pretty bad ankle injury and didn’t practice really the last two days, even though he wanted to, and continues to arguably be our M.V.P. and just dish out assists and run the team. Very proud of him.”

Center Joey Barnes and forward Brandon Jones scored 10 of their own to round out the senior foursome. Barnes’ performance, like Coles’, was gutsy due to injuring his left shoulder in the first quarter and continued to play at a high level.

Stopping two of Franklin’s offensive weapons was the game plan for Whitlock’s Raptors entering the contest. Junior center Ben Hagaman and senior wing Hunter Nelson can offensively take over games on any night. Hagaman finished with zero points and spent most of his night on the bench with foul trouble.

“We wanted to attack (Hagaman) early in the game,” Whitlock said. “A couple of those fouls were cheap so we were very beneficial in terms of that. He’s the one back-to-the-basket threat they have. And when they don’t have that back-to-the-basket threat it’s tough to run their motion offense. It’s fortunate on both accounts there. If he plays 28 minutes then this game is probably very different.”

Nelson started hot by scoring seven of Franklin’s first nine points but was silenced the rest of the night until two late 3-pointers. Keeping an eye on Nelson was a key all night for the Raptors.

“You have to keep tabs on him all the time,” Whitlock said. “We went zone one possession to try and get them to run some clock and we don’t guard him. I was not very happy about that. He’s the one guy that can put up probably 30 for them on a very limited amount of shots.”

Posted on: 2/1/2013


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