CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Ravenswood advanced into its first boys basketball state championship game since 2009 with a 41-36 win over Madonna Friday morning.
“That was a hard-played, tough-nut game played by two teams that didn’t want to go home,” said Ravenswood coach Mick Price. “I give a lot of credit to Madonna. They play physical, they’re tough, their coaches did a great job and scouted us well.
“When two teams play like that, it’s not always perfect and it’s not always pretty basketball,” Price said. “We made plays when we needed to make plays. We got some key rebounds and were able to break the press.”
The No. 2 Red Devils (24-2) used a 14-0 run in the first quarter to take a 14-5 lead into the second. The Blue Dons answered with a 9-0 run to cut Ravenswood’s lead to 22-18 at the break. Ravenswood maintained that four-point edge heading into the fourth, 29-25.
After No. 6 Madonna (18-9) took a 30-29 lead into the fourth, Ravenswood’s Isaiah Morgan hit back-to-back 3s, putting the Red Devils back on top 35-30 with 4:34 to go.
Morgan is a 50 percent 3-point shooter on the year.
“We wanted to get out and run on that,” Morgan said. “I just found the 3-point line and we have a great point guard in Hayden Mandrake – he put it right in the pocket and I was lucky enough to hit it. They ran it for me on the next play and I knocked it down again.”
It was a critical stretch that immediately snatched momentum back for the Red Devils after Madonna had taken the lead.
“We couldn’t have done that a year ago,” Price said. “We weren’t poised and confident enough, and these guys have really worked hard. Sometimes you think that you can’t miss a shot – and you can’t be like that.
“That’s one of the things that I think we’ve grown in as a team,” he continued. “We don’t get down on ourselves as much, we matured a little bit more and we go to the next possession. Not everything is going to be perfect all the time.”
Up 38-34 and 24.5 seconds remaining, Ravenswood’s Jayden Rhodes hit one of two free throw attempts to give the Red Devils a five-point lead. A breakaway layup from Riley Heatherington, with under 10 seconds to go, sealed the win.
Morgan led Ravenswood with 14 points in the win, Heatherington scored 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked eight shots, and Rhodes finished with 11 points.
Madonna was led by Tavon Jeter’s 15 points, and Joey Ewusiak’s 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“There were plenty of opportunities out there we had to win the game,” said Madonna coach Chris Blair. “If we connect on some of foul shots, a couple bounces go our way, a couple of calls go our way and it’s a different ball game. But that’s basketball.”
The Red Devils will face either Wheeling Central or Notre Dame for the Class A title at noon on Saturday.
“These guys did a great job of stepping up,” Price said. “I’m so proud of them that they are playing (Saturday) for a state championship – it was our goal and we’re where we want to be. Now we just have to get ready and play 32 minutes of basketball.”
MetroNews will have live video streaming of all three title games Saturday at the MetroNews Channel of WVMetroNews.com.