Defense carries Red Devils

RAVENSWOOD-In the first meeting between Ravenswood and Webster County back on Jan. 12, Red Devil sophomore Hailey Miller and senior Taylor Youell combined for 38 points in a 66-44 rout of the Highlanders.

That duo was back at work Wednesday night, combining for 41 points as the Red Devils advanced to Friday night’s Region I, Section 2 championship game with a 62-30 victory.

“We played them (Webster County) earlier in the year and beat them by 22 points,” head coach Cara Williams said. “You talk to your kids about not letting down when you play a team that you beat like that, but these are kids and sometimes they have to be pushed and Webster did just that in the first quarter.”

The first eight minutes of action witnessed the Highlanders pull to within two points, 8-6, on a Brandi Clevenger bucket with 2:37 showing on the clock.

It was just the wake-up call Ravenswood’s Willams was looking for to wake her team up.

“We needed a wake-up call and they provided it,” continued the coach. “We changed up things defensively and went to more man pressure and our press really shook them up.”

Ravenswood, now 15-7, closed out the opening period with a 4-0 run and continued to build on their lead with a 17-12 margin in the second quarter. Senior Melonna Carmichael led the way with five points in the quarter while Miller added six-all coming from the free throw line.

But while the Red Devils’ offense struggled-hitting on only 10-of-36 shots from the field (28 percent)-the defense shined as Webster’s shooters made good on only 5-of-28 shots from the floor (18 percent) and committed 10 turnovers.

Those continued to be the storyline in the second half began as Ravenswood’s pressure allowed it to come up with steal after steal and unlike the opening 16 minutes, this time the hosts made good on their opportunities as the lead expanded to 17, 41-24, with 3:07 remaining to be played in the third quarter.

Two buckets by Youell, who finished with a game-high 22 points, and a bucket by Taylor Treadway closed out the scoring and sent the teams to the benches with the Red Devils leading 47-24.

It would get no closer Youell drained a pair of triples and Kayla Scritchfield added another as the lead expanded to 34, 59-25, before both coaches cleared their benches for the final four minutes of action.

Joining Youell in double figures was Miller, who also had a team-high 10 rebounds, with 19 points. Treadway added eight while Hannah Murray finished with eight rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists. Webster was led by Clevenger’s 11 points. Taylor Anderson, who scored 14 points in the first meeting, was held to four, but did pull down a game-high 19 rebounds.

Ravenswood travels to Braxton County on Friday night for the Section 2 championship.

Braxton County 38, Ritchie County 29

SUTTON -The Braxton County seniors didn’t want a repeat of last year when its entire starting lineup of juniors lost to Philip Barbour by two points in a sectional opener.

A third-quarter shutout in Wednesday’s Class AA sectional semifinal made it clear the Eagles weren’t going to repeat history.

Against Ritchie County, Hunter Sodaro scored 14 points and Anne Golinsky tossed in 13 points as Braxton County defeated the Rebels 38-29.

Braxton County (15-8) took an 18-13 lead into halftime then doubled its advantage by outscoring Ritchie County 8-0 in the third quarter. The Rebels (13-10) sliced the deficit to three points as the Eagles had to burn two timeouts in the opening moments of the fourth quarter.

Braxton County maintained its composure the final six minutes and hit 6-of-9 free throws, including a perfect 3-of-3 from Golinsky, to secure the win.

Despite being held to two points through three quarters, Ritchie County’s Tristin Toman finished with 10 points. Teammate Amanda Davis also scored 10 points.