Published Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:07 am
Ravenna girls hold off Wood River

RAVENNA — After a blistering shooting performance in the first quarter, Ravenna didn’t look like a team that would need to hit free throws down the stretch to secure a win Thursday.

But the Bluejays found themselves in that situation in their Lou-Platte Conference Tournament quarterfinal against Wood River.

After trailing by 16 points after the first quarter, the Eagles clawed their way back to within one point with 2:22 remaining in the game. But Ravenna never gave up the lead and went 5-for-6 from the line in the final minute to secure a 50-46 victory.

"I was obviously disappointed that we let them get back in it, but they could have gave up," Ravenna coach Noah Maulsby said of his players. "They kept battling back and hit their free throws when it mattered."

Wood River (7-12) trailed 23-7 after the first quarter and 28-15 at halftime. But the Eagles closed the third period with eight unanswered points to get within 37-34.

Twice Wood River closed the gap to one point in the fourth, the final time on a pair of Alexis Burghardt free throws with 2:22 to go.

But Sydney Kucera’s putback on Ravenna’s fourth shot of a possession gave the Bluejays (14-5) a 45-42 lead with 1:28 remaining.

Amy Johnson went 3-for-4 from the line and Anna Ripp hit both of her tries in the final 52.6 seconds to hold off the Eagles.

"If we even could have tied it, I felt us putting more pressure on them each possession," Wood River coach Darren Parlin said. "That was huge. If they gave us a chance, we didn’t capitalize. Then if they scored, we scored to cut it back to one was the way it seemed to go."

Maulsby said never letting Wood River quite catch up made a difference.

"It’s big because offensively you know that you just have to take care of the ball," he said. "You’re not trying to push things or do things that you’re not accustomed to doing. It’d definitely much easier to play with the lead."

The game couldn’t have started better for the Bluejays or worse for the Eagles.

After five possessions, Ravenna held a 13-0 lead. It hit its first five shots, including three 3-pointers, while the Eagles had two misses and three turnovers.

"We hit shots," Maulsby said. "Honestly, that’s what it came down to. We hit shots in the first quarter, which is a good thing because we didn’t hit shots after the first quarter."

Johnson scored 13 of her team-high 16 points in the first quarter while going 3-for-3 from behind the arc.

Caelan Basnett added seven of her 10 points in the period.

But Wood River only gave up a total of 14 points over the next two periods to battle back.

"They gutted it up defensively," Parlin said. "I challenged them at the end of the first quarter. Some of them were concerned that we only had seven points. I said that I was more concerned with the 23 (by Ravenna).

"I just challenged a few of them to step up and play defense, and we have the athletes to do that. They did. I knew right after I challenged them, the first possession they came out and played with a different purpose. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole."

Kelsey Bahe topped Wood River with 17 points. Sam Luehr added 15.

Anna Ripp contributed 11 points for Ravenna, which advances to Friday’s 4:30 p.m. semifinal against Centura in Ord.

The Centurions own two wins over the Bluejays this season.

"We’re ready, hopefully. It is what it is," Maulsby said. "They got us the first two times, and we haven’t played particularly well. We’re going to have to adjust some things and hopefully we give them a better game."

WOOD RIVER (7-12): Bahe 7-12 0-0 17, Burghardt 1-6 4-4 6, Rojas 1-5 2-2 4, M. Luehr 0-3 4-4 4, S. Luehr 6-7 2-5 15, DeVose 0-0 0-0 0, Loy 0-0 0-2 0, Rauert 0-1 0-0 0, Tiarks 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-32 12-17 46.
RAVENNA (14-5): Basnett 4-13 0-0 10, Long 1-3 4-6 6, Johnson 5-10 3-5 16, Ripp 4-8 2-3 11, Kucera 3-5 0-1 6, Miigerl 0-1 0-0 0, Teichmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Nozicka 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 17-40 10-17 50.

Wood River ........................ 7 8 19 12—46
Ravenna ............................ 23 5 9 13—50

3-point field goals—Wood River 3-11 (Bahe 3-6, Burghardt 0-3, M. Luehr 0-2), Ravenna 6-15 (Basnett 2-9, Long 0-1, Johnson 3-4, Ripp 1-1). Fouled out—M. Luehr. Rebounds—Wood River 22 (S. Luehr 8), Ravenna 26 (Johnson, Kucera 6). Assists—Wood River 9 (Burghardt 6), Ravenna 7 (Basnett 4). Turnovers—Wood River 16, Ravenna 16. Total fouls—Wood River 17, Ravenna 16. Technicals—none.


The solution for a shorter bench than usual for Ravenna turned out to be a heavy dose of Brady Standage.

The 6-foot-3 junior piled up 19 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Class C-2 No. 8-rated Bluejays to a 60-53 win over Kearney Catholic Thursday in the Lou-Platte Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

Count Ravenna coach Paul Beranek among those impressed with Standage’s stat line.

"That’s just crazy, and he played the whole game and pretty much got no rest at all," he said. "Then he’s got some of the best players banging on him and beating on him. He’s relentless about hanging in there.

"Again that’s happened both games (against the Stars). After the game I told him, ‘To be honest with you, I wasn’t counting on you doing that again. I’m sure Kearney Catholic will have nightmares about you, and I’m kind of happy they are right now.’"

Dillan Hough, who Beranek calls his team’s "super sub," missed the game with the flu. That left the five starters to go most of the way with Michael Bauer seeing some spot duty off the bench.

Standage had two baskets in the Bluejays’ 8-0 run to start the second half and extend their lead to 39-28.

Kearney Catholic (9-11) got within four points twice after that. But Ravenna chewed 53 seconds off the clock on a possession before getting a Blake Chramosta free throw with 1:39 left to go up 57-48.

"We started awfully slow, but the game came down to three things." Stars coach Scott Carlin said. "Free throws — they won that battle. Layups — we missed enough that they won that one by default. And then points off turnovers. I know Matt Moore had some nice steals and things like that, but they converted all game on turnovers.

"I bet we had 20 turnovers and — not to take anything away from Ravenna — but I bet 15 were because of mental errors."

The first quarter saw the teams play at a wild pace and both put together big runs.

Ravenna scored 12 unanswered to go up 20-5. Six of those points came in a span of 10 seconds thanks to a pair of steals on inbound passes.
But the Starts answered with a 15-0 run to tie the game at 22 just 34 seconds into the second quarter.

Beranek wasn’t surprised.

"Their MO is that they never quit," he said. "They were down 25 to McCook at halftime and here they come. We had them down 15 at half, here they come (in Ravenna’s 74-66 win on Dec. 17).

"They just never quit. They’re relentless. Their coaching staff does an excellent job of making sure they maintain that."

Jake Teichmeier added 17 points and Tom Sieczkowski 14 for the Bluejays (16-2).

Brady Holtmeier topped the Stars with a game-high 19 points. Blake Holtmeier added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Ravenna faces Gibbon in Friday’s 6:15 p.m. semifinal in Ord. The Bluejays downed the Buffaloes 56-40 on Dec. 19, but that was with Gibbon standout Rylee Reinertson at less than 100 percent.

"Rylee was hurt and his back was just spasming like crazy," Beranek said. "We’ve caught teams at lucky moments this year.

"They’re going to be wanting a little taste of revenge, no doubt about it. What Rylee does now better than ever is find open teammates around him to get easy buckets. The kid can score. He’s just a mess to guard. What makes it tougher is his offensive rebounding, his passing, his relentlessness."

KEARNEY CATHOLIC (9-11): Moore 2-8 1-2 5, Bl. Holtmeier 5-9 1-5 11, D. Jackson 2-7 0-1 4, Z. Jackson 3-10 0-0 9, Br. Holtmeier 8-16 1-1 19, James 0-3 0-0 0, Howe 0-0 0-0 0, Mestl 2-4 1-2 5. Totals 22-57 4-11 53.
RAVENNA (16-2): Chramosta 2-7 4-6 8, Sieczkowski 4-7 6-6 14, Schirmer 1-2 0-0 2, J. Teichmeier 5-13 6-7 17, Standage 8-14 3-6 19, Bock 0-0 0-0 0, Bauer 0-1 0-0 0, G. Teichmeier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 19-25 60.

Kearney Catholic ........................ 20 8 10 15—53
Ravenna .................................... 22 9 15 14—60
3-point field goals—Kearney Catholic 5-16 (Moore 0-2, James 0-2, Mestl 0-1, Z. Jackson 3-7, Holtmeier 2-4), Ravenna 1-9 (Chramosta 0-4, Sieczkowski 0-2, Schirmer 0-1, J. Teichmeier 1-2). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—Kearney Catholic 37 (Bl. Holtmeier 10), Ravenna 32 (Standage 17). Assists—Kearney Catholic 12 (Moore 7), Ravenna 5 (Chramosta 3). Turnovers—Kearney Catholic 18, Ravenna 15. Total fouls—Kearney Catholic 17, Ravenna 12. Technicals—none.

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