By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by KINDELL BUCHANAN
Patrick Whitlock never imagined his team would get a dominant road win at Summit.
But that’s exactly what happened.
Ravenwood scored the first 14 points of the game and never let up in a 70-46 victory over Summit on Tuesday night.
The Raptors (16-6, 10-3 District 11-AAA) seized a 19-2 lead after the first quarter over the Spartans, who may have been tired after playing Spring Hill the previous night.
“We got in the passing lanes, we made them take tough shots and we wanted to get out and push in transition,” said Whitlock, the Raptors coach. “We wanted to come out and be aggressive. When we played them the first time, we got out to an early lead and they were able to claw their way back.”
The deficit was too big in the rematch of Ravenwood’s 54-48 win in December for Summit (11-8, 6-6) to overcome.
“The difference in us between January 29 and December 15 is that we’re guarding the dribble now and that makes a big difference,” Whitlock said.
Jaden Smallwood led Ravenwood with 20 points. Center Sterling Craig and Brennan Mickelsen both added 14.
“I feel like we were penetrating very well and then kicking it and getting shots open for our big man, Sterling,” Smallwood said. “Sterling Craig got a lot of points down low in the first quarter because we were penetrating and got him the ball.”
Summit coach Josh Goodwin said the Spartans just weren’t ready to play for whatever reason.
“At some point in time, really, it’s got to fall on me if it’s my job to get them ready,” Goodwin said. “I don’t know how many games this year we’ve been ready and I don’t know if it’s a mental focus thing, concentration thing.”
Goodwin said the Spartans “looked like a less-than-average rec team or (junior varsity) team.”
“That’s consistently the most uninspired, uninterested basketball I’ve seen in I don’t know when,” Goodwin said. “So, at some point something has to change, something’s got to be fixed whether that’s coaches, players, philosophy.”
Consistent lulls have hurt the team all season.
Jaden Lewis led the Spartans with 12 points and freshman Tre Hunter added 11. Senior Demontay Dixon, a 6-foot-10 Illinois State signee, was held to five.
“We didn’t make the shots that we normally make under the basket,” Lewis said. “We missed a lot of easy shots. And we had a lot of defensive lapses, where we gave up easy points.”
Ravenwood, a veteran team with 11 seniors, won for the ninth time in 10 games.
“Things are just starting to click,” Whitlock said. “I wake up every morning and I’m thankful to coach this group because they’re low maintenance. It’s fun when you play like you did tonight.”
The Raptors are third in the district behind co-leaders Franklin (20-3, 10-2) and ninth-ranked Brentwood (18-5, 10-2).
Summit and Centennial (11-11, 6-6) are tied for fourth.
“I think this team has as good a chance as any to advance in the postseason, but we’re all building for that February 16th first round of the district play-in game,” Whitlock said.
Ravenwood hosts Brentwood on Friday.
Summit visits Independence on Friday.