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by Colin Harris | Reporter
Streetsboro -- By the time Ravenna offered any opposition, it was way too late.
The host Streetsboro boys basketball team scored 28 points in the first quarter and held serve the rest of the evening, cruising to an 87-70 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division victory over the visiting Ravens Jan. 25.
The win was the fourth league victory in a row for Streetsboro (8-6, 7-2), which sits a game behind Norton -- the team the Rockets beat Jan. 8 to begin their recent run.
"I'm not thinking about that," Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini said of his team's recent stretch. "We're taking things each game at a time and we did a good job jumping out to a hot start."
Marcini said that slow starts have plagued his team at times this season, but that was not the case Jan. 25 as the Rockets turned a number of long rebounds and turnovers into transition opportunities.
Senior guard Jordan Matusik was the trigger man for Streetsboro's hot start, scoring 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter.
"We knew Ravenna was going to pressure us, so we had to be able to beat that," Marcini said. "We were able to make some good passes and what's important is that we turned them into layups instead of falling in love with the jumper."
Ravenna head coach Phil Starks said that a first quarter like his team allowed to the Rockets rendered pretty much anything they did from that point on meaningless.
"You just can't spot a team 28 points in the first quarter," a frustrated Starks said following the game. "We're 15 games into this season and some kids on this team have learned from their mistakes, but most of them just haven't."
Streetsboro forward Paul Jenkins was a consistent force in the paint for the Rockets, recording a double-double with a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Jenkins scored at least four points in every quarter.
Jenkins was the beneficiary of dribble penetration from Streetsboro guards, who drew a lot of attention away from the Rockets' big man.
"Paul did a great job and really benefited from players like Brandon Gency and Devin Rencher getting penetration and making good passes," Marcini said.
Five players scored in double figures for Streetsboro, led by Matusik and Jenkins. Rencher (13 points), Gency (11) and Dorian Williams (11) also finished in double figures in the winning effort.
Ravenna (8-7, 4-5) battled back in the third quarter with a 10-0 run that cut a 55-36 Rockets' lead to a 55-47 score with 2 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the period. Streetsboro responded with a 6-3 run to end the third before a 26-20 fourth quarter pushed its lead back out to a comfortable margin.
"We got a little lazy there [in the third quarter]," Marcini said. "Ravenna has some good athletes and we couldn't always rely on [creating transition buckets]. We need to work on our half-court offense."
Ravenna senior forward Jermaine Justice led his team with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Tate Bennett (14 points,) and Josiah Coman (11) joined Justice in double figures in a losing effort for the Ravens.
The Rockets were scheduled to visit Metro Division rival Kent Roosevelt Jan. 29. Results were not available at press time.
They are scheduled to host Metro Division foe Coventry Feb. 1 and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Feb. 5. Both varsity contests are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.