It’s tough to win a region semifinal game when you lose your leading scorer less than a quarter into the game.
But that’s exactly what the Ravenwood girls basketball team did Monday.
The Lady Raptors used a team effort to fight off a late run and take down Cane Ridge 37-31 in the Region 6-AAA semifinals, despite losing their top offensive threat in Kiera Downey just minutes into the game.
“I told the girls in the locker room after the game, in my eight years of coaching this is the proudest I’ve ever been as a coach because with Kiera going down they could have easily quit, thrown it in, been emotional and they didn’t,” Ravenwood coach Mariska Harris said. “They did not stop fighting. Every person stepped up and did something for us tonight to get this win.”
Ravenwood took an early 5-2 lead on a layup by Downey, but she injured her knee on the play and did not return to the game. The Lady Raptors didn’t seem to miss beat in the first half, however, taking a 12-4 lead after the first quarter.
When the offensive output slowed down, the defensive intensity picked up.
Ravenwood (24-10) scored just four points in the second quarter, but it didn’t hurt them as Cane Ridge (16-10) was held to just two points in the quarter on a pair of Brooke Smith free throws that sent the Lady Ravens to the locker room trailing 16-6 at halftime.
“I said, ‘We have 16 more minutes left,’” Cane Ridge coach Joanne Tribue said. “’You’re not going to cut the lead immediately. Just take your time and just chop away and just believe.’”
Ravenwood held a 25-16 advantage after three quarters, but the Lady Ravens started the fourth on an 11-2 run to tie the game at 27-27 less than halfway through the quarter.
“I just told them to settle down,” Harris said. “ ‘We’re going to win this game. Don’t let it rattle you. It doesn’t matter; basketball is a game of runs. They’re making their run right now, but at the end of the game we’re going to come out with the win.’ ”
The two teams swapped buckets to keep it locked at 29-29. But Ravenwood used free throws to close out the game on a 6-2 run and earn the right to face Dickson County in the Region 6-AAA championship game Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Cane Ridge.
Emma Altizer lead the way for the Lady Raptors in Downey’s absence with 13 points, while Gabby Bell scored a game-high 18 for Cane Ridge in the season-ending loss.
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.