BY LYNN MANDERSON | PHOTOS BY DEB SCALLY
Raptors edge Eagles to get district win
It was an exciting match defensively on Friday night when the Eagles of Independence High School met the Ravenwood Raptors in Brentwood. The Raptors came away with the win, 52-44, but it was a three-point game during the second half.
Neither team could put up many points initially, with each team exhibiting a strong effective defensive spirit. It was only an eight-point game at the end of the first quarter. The Raptors’ Atif Williams was a master at the steal and made his aggressive stand against the Eagles early on.
The dominance of rebounds by Sterling Craig, the 6’8″ senior at center who will be going to Rhodes College next year, was a key in the eventual win. Craig had 10 rebounds for the game.
The Eagles played a tough defense but could not make the shots they needed which put them at a deficit at the half, 25-12.
In the second half, the game was a three-point match, and the Raptors had only one thing left to do, as point guard Rex Gainer succeeded in hitting the “3” shot to turn the game around in their favor and take the breath out of the offensive effort by the Eagles.
Gainer made four 3’s for the game but his three shot was key in the second half, and his two free throw shots helped his team with the win.
The chemistry between senior point guard Chaise Seibert, Gainer and Craig came on in full force in the second half. The tall, agile center was important in giving his team an advantage as he grabbed rebound after rebound to keep the game turned back in their favor
Craig also was also 5-for-6 at the free throw line.
Craig said he felt very good about the game, “I am really happy about the rebounds and that I could play like I did. “
Raptors head coach Patrick Whitlock was excited about his teams’ effort, “tonight was a real example of great AAA basketball.”
Lady Raptors rout Lady Eagles
On Friday night, the Lady Raptors of Ravenwood High School took command of the court early on with a 18-2 lead in the first quarter, with strong play from Tia Lee and Jaz Harmon. The two exhibited the kind of chemistry that is just fun to watch.
The Lady Raptors would retain that momentum to defeat the Lady Eagles of Independence High School, 51-24.
Lee, a Rhodes recruit, is a tall, agile player with the ability to not only make a great lay-up. She is also able to have the timing to take a jump shot when she is open. Defensively, she is able to stop offensive plays and grab rebounds.
Guard Lexie Erikson is also a key member of this team to keep the fast break going and feed the ball to Lee or Jaz Harmon, who made quite the shot amidst a slew of Lady Eagles’ defenders in the second quarter.
Although, in the third quarter, the Eagles made a valiant effort to stop the offensive drive of the Eagles with few steals and a 3-pointer, they could not catch up. It continued to be with a very physical game with a few wrestling matches for the ball.
But Harmon and Lee kept up their relentless driving basketball, like a dynamic duo out on the court always does. Harmon can really drive into the basket dodging around the Eagles’ defense as she drove home the win, hitting five shots from the line, 4 more on the board and a 3-pointer.
After the game, Lady Raptors head coach Mariska Harris said,” They played hard tonight, and I’m encouraged by the effort. “
Harmon explained that the chemistry between herself and Lee is something she can rely on.
“We are like family,” she said. “I trust her and she trusts me. I know her next move on the court before she makes it. It’s great to have that chemistry.”
Photos from previous 2018 game by Deb Scally.