Raptors' season ends despite second-half rally
By Marcus Stone, Sports Editor
A valiant second-half comeback came up short Tuesday night for Ravenwood as the Raptors lost to Hillsboro 52-48 in the Region 6-AAA semifinals.
Trailing by two points, Ravenwood was unsuccessful on two inbound plays from under the basket within the game’s final 30 seconds.
“We were running one of our normal sets because I believe firmly that you have to run plays that you practice consistently,” Ravenwood coach Patrick Whitlock said of the final plays. “We ran what we call flat two – which was a decoy on the weak side and run our shooter off a double screen. It was there, we just didn’t get the pass off.”
Ravenwood followed that with an inbounds play with 14 seconds remaining in which an entry pass to the post was deflected and recovered by Hillsboro’s B.J. Fleming.
The No. 3 seed Raptors trailed the No. 1 seed Burros by as much as 12 points on three occasions in the second quarter before rallying to close the game.
“I can’t really explain that,” Whitlock said when asked of the difference between halves. “I think we played a little tentative – let the bright lights get to us a little bit. Really, we just took it at their shot blockers a bit too much.”
Hillsboro’s Jamonte Davis, a 6-foot-8 signee to Tennessee State University, had upwards of half a dozen blocks on the night.
Whitlock credited his team with playing with a smarter aggression over the final 16 minutes, finding open looks away from shot blockers.
Ravenwood cut their deficit to a single basket three times in the fourth quarter – the final one coming on a Jon Coles basket with 1:08 remaining that made the score 50-48. Coles was the Raptors’ second-leading scorer on the night behind Joey Barnes’ 14 points.
A large portion of Ravenwood’s success in the second half was due to holding Davis, the District 11-AAA tournament Most Valuable Player – to three points in the final 16 minutes.
“If you’re physical with him I think he struggles,” said Whitlock. “He is a finesse post player and we got physical with him in the second half and that bothers him.”
Davis finished with 11 points – third on his team behind Fleming’s 13 and Brandon Cody’s 12. Cody’s key basket was a 3-pointer midway through the final period that halted a 6-0 Raptor run.
The loss ends Ravenwood’s season one win short of being guaranteed a spot in the Class AAA sectionals for the fourth-consecutive season.
A group of seniors Whitlock has spoken highly of all season, the coach knew his team would give their all for a second-half comeback and a shot at the sectionals.
“I wouldn’t expect any less from this group of kids,” he said. “These kids have tremendous character and deserved to play a few more games. It didn’t work out that way.”
Posted on: 2/26/2013