A bewildered Coach Gopp (Ravens, 0-2) looked at me after the game. The game had long ended, the opposition had filed out and his team had scattered itself. I had asked the first year Ravens head coach about what his vision for the team was, what his game plan was, and how he felt his team accomplished its goals. He looked as if he was about to answer, then paused, before saying “I don’t feel like we come in ready to play, it’s unfortunate because we work, and work, and work, on things and nobody knows what they’re doing, except for a few.” Coach Gopp could not be more right than that. His team simply did not come out ready to play against the Bulldogs. They looked like a rusty JV team going against a Varsity team that was clicking all night.
The Ravens were beat in almost every possible way. Whether it was on the glass, passing the ball, in the turnover game, and in the end it was on the score board. Woodridge wound up beating the Ravens 62-40 in a game that got out of hand just minutes in. The Bulldogs shot out to an 11-0 run to start the game, lead by starting Point Guard Preston Clark who had three assists and a bucket early (6 pts 2 rbs 3 ast). The Ravens first bucket came on a three point shot by Forward Brady Starkey at the 5:58 mark to make it 3-11. The Bulldogs marched to the free throw line during the first quarter, going 6-8 at the line. The Ravens committed many unnecessary, and, to be quite honest, dumb fouls. A huge part of the Bulldogs early offense was Guard Keaon Potts (9 pts 2 rbs 2 ast) who did most of his damage in the first. The Bulldogs wound up closing out the first quarter with a big lead, 24-9, and never looked back.
The second quarter was more of the same. The Bulldogs had more fight in them, and as coach Gopp said afterwards the Ravens didn’t come ready to play. At the 6:47 mark Forward Marlon King scored on an and-one after snagging an offensive rebound. He missed the free throw, but at that point it didn’t matter. It was clearly visible that the Ravens patience was wearing thin. Their teamwork broke down on offense, their defensive rotations got lazy, and they committed a lot of sloppy fouls. The Bulldogs took a 39-16 lead into the locker room.
Some interesting half time stats were:
Mason Lydic (15 pts 7 rbs 2 ast) was a force for the Bulldogs, especially on the glass. Three of his seven rebounds on the game were offensive.
Woodridge pounded Ravenna on the glass in the first half. They had a 26-14 advantage at the mid-way mark. Winning the rebounding battle by 12 at the end of a game is a huge feat, but beating a team by 12 at the half? That is what you would call domination.
Ravenna lead the game in turnovers in the first half with 13 to the Bulldogs 8. Double digit turnovers in a half makes it extremely difficult on any team to stay in it.
There weren’t many highlight plays in the second half. Mason Lydic started the third off with a three pointer making the score 42-16. Woodridge continued to play passing lanes, crash the boards, and get solid shots up, while on the other side the Ravens looked like a lost team at times.
I must give some credit to the Ravens. Even though they had abandoned their team efforts for a time, they were able to spark themselves while playing “Stats ball” towards the end of the third and start of the fourth. Kevin Jenkins played a good ball game, scoring 13 points along with 3 boards and 2 assists.
The Bulldogs coasted to victory in the fourth quarter and wound up beating the Ravens 62-40. After the game Coach Blevins talked about his Bulldogs, saying “We’re trying to limit our mistakes, trying to execute.” Coach Blevins talked about how it was nice to be able to play certain players that he wouldn’t have normally played “It’s tough being the 11th or 12th guy on the bench. You do the same amount of work as everyone else with a lot less reward. When you have nights like tonight and you can get guys some extra playing time it’s nice.” Coach also talked about his top scorer, Mason Lydic, saying “He’s a solid guy. I know a lot of people would never be able to say he’s a Sophomore. He’s a very instinctive player, probably the most instinctive player I’ve seen in a while.”
Meanwhile, across the way Coach Gopp was singing a different tune. Instead of praising his team he had a question for them “I asked everyone on the team: Who wants to be here? It’s simple, we are not working hard enough in practice, it’s showing during the game, and we are not even working hard during the games.” That will be a point we will certainly have to pay attention to as the season goes on: Who really wants it in Ravenna?