In-Depth: Ravens pluck Turkeys in week 3 thriller

The third week of the 2023/24 Basketball Season saw plenty of ruffled feathers in close match up between Ravens and Turkeys. Vannin Coulter took flight from the 3-point line to give Ravens and early lead which they held well into the mid-point of the quarter. Pressure defence saw Ravens contain Turkeys and it wasn’t until the 7th minute of a 10-minute quarter that the Turkeys found some momentum thanks to David Boyle and Wig Bregazzi. The final minutes saw flurry of baskets with 19-points scored between the two sides, as Coulter was joined on the scoresheet by Miltos Provatakis for Ravens while Boyle and Bregazzi repeatedly brought Turkeys level. Solid shooting from Logan Glover in the dying seconds gave Ravens a slender 2-point lead at the end of the first, 17-15.

The second quarter kept the momentum going for both sides, Zak Mitchell initially extending Ravens lead only for Brett Venables to join Boyle and Bregazzi in bringing Turkeys to level pegging. It was Venables who started a mini run for Turkeys with a solid post move that helped them turn the tables and build their first lead of the game, 23-27. It would have been easy for Ravens heads to go down and the tides to turn in Turkeys favour but, the younger side kept calm and tightened up on defence to stop the veteran’s momentum. The patience and persistence paid dividends for Ravens in the last 90 seconds of the half with a series of steals and intercepts, coupled with clever team play on the break, saw the Ravens turn a 4-point deficit into a 4-point lead, 33-29.

Turkeys opened strong in the third, quickly drawing level again, but the real story of the quarter was defined by Ravens pace. Again, keeping their cool despite a rough start, Ravens managed to find steals and defensive boards that turned into quick conversions with some great play by Glover, Provatakis and Mitchell. It wasn’t long before the Ravens were powering ahead, and momentum was well on their side for the rest of the quarter. Bregazzi and Boyle kept the game interesting, a late three from the latter cutting the Ravens lead in half, but another run by Jake Kinrade and Provatakis had Ravens soaring high, 47-40 at the end of the third.

The final quarter opened well for Ravens with an immediate 3 from Coulter which extended the lead to 10-points. Turkeys weren’t ready to be plucked though and a commanding inside performance by Venables brought the game back within reach, 54-52 to Ravens with 2 minutes remaining. The final minutes were a battle of wills as each team worked hard on defence and probed for opportunities on offence. A break by Matthew Jones extended Ravens lead to 4 only for Venables to cut it back to 2 on the return. As the final minute counted down Turkeys threw everything they had against Ravens defence, but it held firm and with the buzzer Ravens flew into their first win of the season, 56-54.

The other games of the night saw a convincing win for Wolves who took Hoops, 68-38, with a first half run by Wolves stunted by solid Hoops defence in the second half. Meanwhile Jets ground out a tough win against Cavaliers, 52-34, as both teams struggled to find consistent form but outside shooting from Revi Del Rosario and Paul Kilic making the difference. The results mean Wolves and Jets are the last teams remaining with unbeaten records this season, with Jets topping the current league table on points difference.

This Thursday sees three more games in the next round of the basketball season before a one-week hiatus on November 9th. Tipping off at 19:00 Wolves will play Cavaliers then at 20:30 Turkeys face Turkeys and Jets take on Ravens. All games are in the NSC Main Hall and seating is provided for spectators.

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