By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by STEVE WHEELER
Three or four mornings a week at around 6 o’clock, Brennan Mickelsen arrives at Ravenwood to take 1,000 shots.
All that extra practice was evident Thursday night, as he led the Raptors with 20 points, including six 3-pointers, in a 66-48 win over visiting Centennial.
“I’ve got blisters on my fingers,” said Mickelsen, holding up his index finger that had dried blood under the tip of the nail.
Three of the senior guard’s 3-pointers came in the fourth quarter when Ravenwood (10-4, 6-2 District 11-AAA) outscored Centennial 22-12.
“Well, we love it — he’s a specialist,” Raptors coach Patrick Whitlock said. “We have a good team, but when he plays like that we can be lights out. He kind of adds a whole different dimension.”
Ravenwood made 10 shots from 3-point range as it went to a five-out motion offense with a small lineup.
“We don’t have anybody in the paint,” Whitlock said. “We’re just spreading the floor and putting some ballhandlers out there and we were fortunate that we were able to get away with it tonight.”
Senior guards Jaden Smallwood and Seth Erickson added 13 and 12 points, respectively, as the Raptors got hot from the outside late.
“We have the ability to light it up from 3,” Whitlock said. “We don’t get the same street cred that Franklin gets, but I think we can shoot the ball just as well as they do. It would be interesting to do a statistical analysis of the two teams.”
The game was tied 36-all late in the third quarter when Ravenwood rallied with a 13-0 run that stretched into the fourth. The Raptors pulled away from there.
“It was my time,” Mickelsen said. “I felt like I really got in my groove tonight. The hoop feels like it’s big, like, I ain’t going to miss.”
Ravenwood had payback on its mind.
“We’ve been waiting to play Centennial since last year when we lost to them in the first round of districts, so this was a good one,” Mickelsen said.
Ravenwood and Franklin (16-3, 6-2) remained second in the district behind Brentwood (15-4, 7-1) while Centennial (10-7, 5-3) fell to fourth.
“We’re in this to win a district championship just like Centennial is, just like Franklin is, just like Brentwood is, just like Summit is,” Whitlock said. “We think we need to win out, so we’re going to be focused and ready to go when we play Independence on Tuesday.”
Post Ahsharri Haynesworth and Dusty Williams led the Cougars with 14 points each.
Haynesworth’s dad, Albert, played defensive tackle for the Titans in the early years of his NFL career.
Williams made four 3-pointers before exiting with a sprained right ankle with 2:29 left. The Battle Ground Academy transfer left the gym on crutches.
Tre Carlton, the hero of Tuesday’s upset of Brentwood, added 11.
“They’ve got three or four guys who can shoot the ball well and if you don’t get out on them, they’ll make you pay,” Cougars coach Pete Froedden said. “I think we got a little tired and then it snowballed on us tonight, and we didn’t respond very well.”
Centennial took a 10-2 lead early before Ravenwood rallied to tie it at 24 by halftime.
“Basketball is such a momentum game,” Froedden said. “That’s why home-court advantage is so good. Once you get Uncle Mo on your side, the crowd on your side – it definitely played to their favor tonight and it hurt us.”
Centennial hosts Page on Tuesday.
Ravenwood visits Independence on Tuesday.