Garner vs Ravenscroft at the opening of the John Wall tournament
Forgive Ravenscroft boys’ basketball coach Kevin Billerman – a two-time Duke Hoops captain – for sounding a bit like former North Carolina coach Roy Williams on Thursday night. Then again, Billerman and Williams both have their names on multi-story courts (at the AE Finley Center in Ravenscroft and the Dean E. Smith Center in North Carolina, respectively).
âWe played pretty good basketball today,â Billerman said, using a Williams signature word.
Billerman, in particular, called the first half of the Ravens’ 80-60 win over Garner on Thursday to open the John Wall Holiday Invitational at the Word Of God Christian Academy “the best we’ve played.”
Ravenscroft’s long-standing commitment to cultivating student leadership – including its “Lead From Here” programming and the Ravens Hoopsters preschool shooting regimes – shone with juniors Comeh Emuobor and Dakota Gordon.
Emuobor and Gordon combined 29 of their team’s 51 points in the first half. The pair converted seven of 12 3 points to help Ravenscroft (5-6) take a 32 point lead at halftime.
Emuobor finished with a double-double, including 21 points and 10 rebounds, and shared the basketball for four assists. Gordon scored 18. Emuobor and Gordon individually shot over 50 percent at two and three runs. Collectively, they generated no revenue.
âTonight we really made a statement,â said Emuobor. “We have shown that at Ravenscroft we have something really special going on here.”
The final score placed the Ravens in an invitational championship game for the fifth time since 2008. This team, led by Ryan Kelly (who went on to become a McDonalds All-American before competing in Duke and the NBA), finished second in the tournament. Ravenscroft won titles in 2010, 2011 and 2015.
âAs far back as I can remember, I’ve been coming to this tournament since I was a kid,â said Gordon. “It’s like a dream come true.”
Gordon’s memories bring back the experiences of Madison Jones – the Ravens’ playmaker on the 2010 and 2011 invitational championship teams and the eventual 2011 NC Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) 3A State Championship team. 12. Jones served as an invitational ball boy before winning the All-Tournament team honors in 2010 and 2011.
Ravenscroft will meet Northside Christian (Charlotte) on Monday (December 27) at 1 p.m. for the Chris Clemons Bracket Championship. This game will be played on the North Campus of Wake Tech.
Beyond the Ravens’ blazing shots on Thursday – including 71.4 percent (10-14 field goals) in the first quarter (after which Ravenscroft led 26-8) – Gordon found greater value in Friday’s win .
âEveryone got to participate and everyone contributed,â said Gordon.
Alex Olander added 20 points on 7-14 field goals (50%), as well as seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.
âWe’ve been talking over the past two weeks about getting better every day,â Billerman said. âWe tried to train them towards the things that will make them better every day. “