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by Sara Welch | Correspondent
A second-half surge lifted the Streetsboro boys basketball team over Portage Trail Conference Metro Division rival Ravenna 65-52 Dec. 11 at James L. Coll Gymnasium in Ravenna, keeping the Rockets' undefeated record intact.
Streetsboro trailed 9-3 with 4 minutes, 13 seconds left in the first quarter. The Rockets managed to battle back within a point of the Ravens before the second quarter, but their turnovers crippled them throughout the first half.
Streetsboro (3-0, 2-0) claimed its only lead in the first half when Jordan Matusik drained a three-pointer to open the second quarter, putting the Rockets ahead 18-16. The success was short-lived as Ravenna went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes and went into halftime with a seven-point advantage.
"The whole week we've been preaching discipline and taking care of the basketball," said Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini. "Ravenna does a great job of mixing up their pressures. They want to play fast and get deflections. We had to try to tame it down. We came out early shooting a lot of bad shots.
"We were jacking a lot of threes and instead of going in for the rebounds, we were standing around. They were beating us down the court and it was a recipe for disaster in the first half."
After enjoying little success against the Ravens' size and aggressive play in the first half, the Rockets commanded the hardwood for the remainder of the game.
Matusik attacked Ravenna's defense on consecutive possessions, successfully completing both and-one attempts from the charity stripe and closing the gap to a single point.
The Ravens' next possession was cut short by Brandon Gency, who intercepted a pass and tipped the ball to Dorian Williams. Williams then fed the ball to Devin Rencher, who finished with a quick layup that rounded out Streetsboro's 8-0 run to open the third quarter.
The Ravens (1-3, 0-2) showed a little fight when Jermaine Justice went on a six-point run of his own. However, by the quarter's close, the Rockets were within two points of their opponent.
In the final quarter of the game, Streetsboro flexed its muscles.
The Rockets opened the quarter on an 11-point run and put up 23 points in the period, while holding Ravenna to eight points.
Furthermore, they dominated on the boards, holding the Ravens to only eight rebounds in the second half.
"It was heart and effort in the second half," said Marcini. "We worked a little bit harder and we got a little bit of heart in the second half. Brandon Gency, Paul Jenkins and Devin Rencher stepped up in the second half and did a great job getting rebounds for us."
Gency finished with 20 rebounds and eight points. Jenkins produced 18 points and seven rebounds, Rencher had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Matusik added 16 points and five rebounds.
Ravenna earned a 52-43 win in the junior varsity contest. Avery VanReeth led the Rockets with 21 points.