SPENCER - Senior Isaak Wilmoth gave Roane County the start it needed in the first quarter and the Raiders defense did the rest as the hosts captured a 60-38 victory over arch rival Ravenswood in the Region One, Section 2 championship game played Thursday night at The Castle.
"I worried all day long," Roane County head coach Greg Alfred said. "But, Isaak really loosened us up with his play in the first quarter and our defense clamped down on their shooters in the second and third quarters to allow us to pull away."
The victory improved the Raiders to 19-5 on the season and they will play host to the Section 2 runner-up (either Fairmont Senior or East Fairmont) at 7 p.m. next Thursday while Ravenswood (14-10) will travel to take on the Section 2 champion (either Fairmont Senior or East Fairmont) on the same day and time.
"I was really proud of the way our guys came out and played after that first eight minutes," continued Alfred. "They continued to attack the basket on offense and defensively they kept a hand in their shooters' faces all night long."
Ravenswood's shooters were limited to only 15 buckets - two triples - on 38 attempts while the Raiders took the same number of shots, but made good on 22 of them - eight from behind the 3-point arc.
The third meeting of the year between the two LKC foes began as expected with Roane jumping out to an 8-4 lead only to have the Red Devils stay close behind the scoring of senior Jake Martin. The difference was Wilmoth as the 6-foot-3 post player connected on all four of his shots as Roane took a 19-13 lead into the second quarter.
An eight minute period that witnessed both teams struggle offensively, but allowed the hosts to head into the locker rooms at the intermission leading by eight, 26-18.
Ravenswood continued to struggle offensively in the third quarter, but that would not be the case for the Raiders as senior Jacob Neal, who finished with a game-high 19 points, banged in three triples to ignite Roane County to a 21-7 edge in the quarter.
"That third quarter was one of the best quarters we have played on defense this year," said Alfred. "We were able to hit some big shots, but the key was that their shooters never got an easy look at the basket."
Martin finished with nine points while freshman Riley Heatherington and junior Isaac Crow - the team's second and third leading scorers - combined for just three points. Senior Heath Burgess was the only Ravenswood player to reach double figures with 12.
Joining Neal in double figures for the Raiders were Tyler Harper and Wilmoth with 14 and 10 points, respectively.