The Ravenwood Raptors boys basketball team secured a signature win on the road against the Franklin Admirals in a non-district matchup of two 4A teams on Monday night, 63-58.
“It is a big deal,” said Ravenwood Raptors head coach Patrick Whitlock. “I have a ton of respect for their coaching staff. I have been really impressed with the new lineup they have put out this year. They will be one of the teams that has a chance to advance out of our region. We had players out with illness and we are missing our starting post player, so to come out here with a win, is a big deal for us.”
“They made plays when it mattered,” said Franklin Admirals head coach Jason Tigert. “We had a hard time keeping them in front of us. There were a couple of missed assignments, but these are things we can get corrected. Whether it is district or region, we are always going to get up for Ravenwood. We have had some outstanding matchups over the last couple of years with them, and it continued tonight.”
Ravenwood and Franklin are not in the same district this year after the TSSAA realigned the districts following the new addition of a 4A classification.
“It feels very weird for this to not be a district game,” said Coach Whitlock. “I have coached here for 16 years. It is the first time we have played them and it not be a district game. It is a little odd to be playing them Thanksgiving week. Hats off to the Franklin community and students showing up when they were not in school. It was a great atmosphere for a Monday night.”
In the first quarter, the Raptors and Admirals were locked in a tight contest swapping baskets as Franklin got key contributions from senior Noah McGee and senior Tom Fortner. However, Ravenwood pulled ahead in the frame with layups and three pointers from senior DJ Starr and senior Matt Williams to take the advantage 14-11.
Franklin still kept it close in the second quarter with baskets in the paint and downtown by the quartet of McGee, Fortner, sophomore Cameron Swist and sophomore Davis Long. The Raptors sharp shooting trio of senior Lee Mollette, sophomore Evan Gainer and Starr was the difference, maintaining the Raptors lead at halftime, 27-24.
In the third quarter, the Raptors gained a little more separation with long range shots and jumpers by Williams, Starr and Gainer to increase the margin to 46-39.
Franklin battled in the fourth quarter with 3-pointers and layups by junior Jack Medalie, Fortner, McGee and Long, but the Raptors took over with clutch free throws and jumpers by Starr, Williams and Gainer to win the contest 63-58.
Franklin’s scoring leaders were senior Noah McGee with 16 points and sophomore Davis Long with 10 points.
“Those are two guys we count on,” said Coach Tigert. “Davis does a good job of running things for us. We are happy with their production.”
Ravenwood had three players in double figures: DJ Starr with 22 points, Matt Williams with 14 points and sophomore Evan Gainer with 13 points.
“DJ is a guy that can put up big numbers,” said Coach Whitlock. “He has done that as a transfer in the first three games. Evan is just a sophomore, but plays above his years in terms of his skill level and smarts for the game. Matt Williams has been Mr. Consistency. They have put up double figures in every game we played and are a big part of our team."