Ravens beat Turkeys for back-to-back wins

Turkeys hoped to clip Ravens wings in the basketball Senior League this week, after the emerging side had notched up an impressive victory over Cavaliers last week. It proved to be a more difficult task than anticipated as an opening 3-pointer from Miltos Provatakis and a string of fast breaks from Ronan Thompson and Matthew Jones saw Ravens take flight early in the first quarter. Turkeys struggled to find a response with solid mid-range shooting from Logan Glover, and another 3 from Provatakis, adding to their pain.

It looked as though Ravens would run away with the first as their pressure defence was coupled with a solid offence to keep them in control. A blip in the final few minutes opened the door for Turkeys with outside shooting from Chris Wolfendale and a run by Dave Boyle that brought them right back into the game. Ravens held the line in a nervous final minute though, managing to maintain a lead to the end of the first quarter, 17-15.

Ravens obliterated any concerns from the end of the first in an explosive few minutes at the start of the second quarter as defensive pressure up top from Zak Mitchell frustrated Turkeys and led to a string of turnovers, which Ronan Thompson and Provatakis capitalised on. The stinging opening led to a quick time out from Turkeys as they sought to limit the damage. A change of tactics brought some success, quick movement and screening creating some open shots for Wolfendale who duly notched up points. Scoring slowed on both sides as defences adjusted and limited offensive opportunities. The early run proved vital for Ravens though as they had extended their lead to 6-points, 32-26, at halftime.

The third quarter opened with another quick run for Ravens courtesy of Thompson and Glover, but Turkeys were swifter to adjust and found their own routes to the basket, keeping the quarter on a level pegging. Again, defensive effort proved key, Mitchell forcing mistakes from Turkeys through effective pressure as well as converting on the offensive end to help extend Ravens lead. A duo of last minute 3-pointers from Wolfendale and Wig Bregazzi grounded Ravens at the end of the third, slashing their double-digit lead down to 9-points, 45-36 at the buzzer.

It was all to play for in the fourth quarter as the teams traded baskets from the outset. Wolfendale’s shooting skills were key for Turkeys as a trio of 3-pointers kept them within striking distance and piled the pressure on Ravens. The young side held their nerve though with baskets from Provatakis, Jones and Mitchell ensuring they maintained their lead. The game was still in the balance as the final minute arrived, Ravens now a slender 4-points ahead. A steal and quick break from Mitchell extended the lead to 6 and, with time fast running out, Turkeys were forced to repeatedly foul in an attempt to regain possession.

Two swish foul free throws from Provatakis further extended the lead to 8 and an interception by Mitchell on the return gave Ravens the ball in the final 20 seconds and denied Turkeys the chance of a late comeback. With the final buzzer Ravens had back-to-back wins, 62-54, and depending on the next two results, they set up a realistic possibility of a 3-way tie between Cavs, Turkeys and Ravens for third seed leading into the play-off finals.

The other games of the evening saw Forget Me Not Jets beat old rivals Cavaliers, 86-30, with Tom Dalton-Brown on fine shooting form with 8 swishes outside the arc for 24 points, and an overall total of 41 points. Meanwhile Wolves took an 88-43 victory over Hoops, in a quick paced but good-natured game that produced a potential basket of the season by Bethany Shiell, with an impressive off-the-backboard baseline hook-shot from well outside the key.

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