AUSTINTOWN - Ravenna used a full-court press defense to fuel its up-tempo style offense en route to a 67-24 victory over Hubbard on Wednesday night in a Division II Austintown sectional semifinal.
All night long the crowd could hear Ravenna coach Sonny Tilden yelling, "baseball pass!" in an effort for Tilden to urge his team to move down the court quickly on offense after defensive rebounds.
"I told the girls before the start of the second quarter that we had to push the ball up the floor," Tilden said. "When we push the ball we score a lot of easy buckets."
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Hubbard’s Mindy Gigax gains control of the ball as Ravenna’s Deja Sanders, left, and Taylor Geib (33)?pursue during the first quarter of their game on Wednesday night.
The Ravens responded to their coach's request. Because of that, the Eagles got into a game that wasn't their style.
"Our girls started trying to play their tempo which hurt us," Hubbard coach Kacie Mosora said. "We knew they were quick and we were afraid we were going to have a hard time getting the ball up the court."
Ravenna's pace triggered a 10-0 run to start the second quarter, pushing its lead to 28-6. Hubbard's Michelle Peachock snapped the run at the 5:12 mark in the second with a pair of free throws. Deja Sanders answered for Ravenna with a runner in the lane for two of her 11 points.
The Ravens' defense caused 25 first-half turnovers for Hubbard, which led them to a 37-11 lead at the half. Moniqua Smith paced Ravenna at halftime with 10 points. She finished the game with 15.
"We think we're the fastest team out there," Smith said. "I'm a captain and if I push the ball then my teammates will follow."
Hubbard's Melissa Thomas snapped a 20-0 run in the third with two free throws at the 1:46 mark. Ravenna still owned a commanding 59-15 lead heading to the final frame.
Hubbard came into the ballgame without two starters: Alena Burzynski and Justine Goldner.
"Justine is our big girl and that's our answer underneath," Mosora said.
While Ravenna's starting five sat on the bench the entire fourth quarter, Kiara Jones came off the bench ready to play. She scored all of her eight points in the fourth quarter for the Ravens.
Hubbard was led by Tessa McGarrity who had six points. Hubbard had three other players each score four points. The Eagles end the season with a 7-16 mark.
"This program is in a rebuilding year so there's nothing to hang our heads about," Mosora said. "We were second to last in the tournament rankings last year and this year we were eighth."
Ravenna improves to 17-6 and will play the winner of Southeast and Poland in the sectional semifinal on Saturday.