Spartans beat Rocky River for first win

Ratliff leads way with 18 points
Nov. 29, 2012 @ 05:52 PM

Sun Valley High’s boys basketball team got off to a slow start this season, but Spartans coach Keith Mason believes his team is headed in the right direction.
The Spartans, who dropped their first two games to East Meck (64-59) and Central Cabarrus (65-58) last week, recorded their first win of the season with a 45-42 come-from-behind victory over Rocky River on Wednesday.
The Ravens built a 12-point lead by the end of the first quarter, but Sun Valley outscored the visitors 39-24 the rest of the way.
“We’ve got to get off to better starts,” said Mason. “We can’t spot teams that kind of lead. When we continue to gel and all the guys start learning each other, the sky’s the limit.”
Starting point guard Kevin Saxton and backup guard Albert Funderburk are key components, and Mason said it has taken some time for the football stars to develop a chemistry with the rest of the team.
Saxton and Funderburk helped lead Sun Valley to the 4A state quarterfinals and just wrapped up their season on Nov. 16.
“I’m a big fan of the football team, I go to all the games and I want them to win a state championship, but the flipside of that means I don’t have my full team yet,” said Mason. “Now that we’ve got all of our guys, they’re just now starting to gel. We played a tough East Meck team and fought until the end, and we battled a really good Central Cabarrus team at their place. We’re just starting to come around.”
Mason said his team has relied on defense so far this season.
The Spartans outscored Rocky River 14-5 in the final quarter on Wednesday to complete the comeback.
“Our defense is what we’re living on right now,” said Mason. “We’re still trying to learn each other on the offensive end. Once we get our offense together after the defense we’ve been playing, we’re going to be fine. We’re pretty athletic and we’re pretty long, and with a little bit of quickness, we can kind of mix it up and put some pressure on teams.”
Spartans senior Kendall Ratliff, a 6-5 forward, scored a game-high 18 points on Wednesday.
“We just knew we had to pick it up on ‘D’,” said Ratliff. “A lot of our shots weren’t falling, so we just had to pick it up on the other end. We just always try to keep our hands up because we know we have the length.”
Mason is counting on Ratliff to increase his scoring load after the graduation of Shaun Stewart, Jalen Witherspoon and Tevin Graham.
Stewart, who was Union County’s Player of the Year, and Witherspoon combined to average 42.3 points per game a year ago.
“Kendall doesn’t understand how good he can be,” said Mason. “The last couple of years he’s been playing a role where he’s kind of had to feel his way around Jalen, Shaun and Tevin. Now he’s got to be the man and it’s taken a couple games for him to realize that. Once he realizes what he can do, it can be scary.”
The Spartans travel to Piedmont tonight.

RR girls hold on
Freshman Jordan Soares had a huge stick back with 4 seconds left, helping Rocky River High’s girls rally past Sun Valley, 40-37.
The contest was tied at 37 with 4 seconds to play when sophomore Hydeia Harvey made the game-winning free throw. Harvey missed the second, and Soares grabbed the offensive rebound. Soares converted inside, giving her team a 3-point lead with the clock ticking.
The Spartans (3-2) couldn’t get the ball inbounds before the horn sounded to end the game.
Soares finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Harvey had 12 points and six steals.
Sun Valley senior guard Rachel Terrell cut the lead to 37-36 with 17.8 seconds left with her third 3-pointer of the game.
Terrell scored 11 points and added two steals. Sun Valley senior forward Amanda Bill had 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
The Spartans won the second quarter 12-6, allowing them to take a 22-15 lead into the locker room at halftime. Rocky River rallied in the third, and evened the score (30-all) heading into the fourth quarter.
Sun Valley is at Piedmont on Friday.

Sun Valley boys 45, Rocky River 42
Rocky River (1-1)
Jared Gaston 1 1-1 3, Tajj Howze 3 0-0 6, Isaiah Grimes-Thomas 4 0-0 10, Malik Clark 1 0-2 3, Kendall Burton 3 0-2 6, Darrin Washington 1 1-2 3, Brandon Kelson 3 0-0 6, Brandon Armstrong 0 1-2 1, Sidney Lawson 2 0-0 4, Reggie Bauknight 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 3-9 42.

Sun Valley (1-2)
Kendall Ratliff 5 8-11 18, Isaiah Blanchett 2 1-4 5, Hakeem Polk 2 1-2 5, Jacquez Johnson 3 0-2 6, Kevin Saxton 1 1-2 3, Albert Funderburk 0 0-0 0, Dequan Moody 2 2-2 8, Justin Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 13-23 45.

RR    18      7      12      5    -   42
SV     6      11      14     14   -   45

3-pointers: RR 3 (Grimes-Thomas 2, Clark 1); SV 2 (Moody 2). Rebounds: RR 35 (Howze 10, Grimes-Thomas 7, Burton 5); SV 27 (Polk 7, Blanchett 6, Ratliff 5). Assists: RR 6 (Clark 2); SV 7 (Blanchett 2). Steals: RR 6 (Clark 2); SV 9 (Blanchett 4). Blocks: RR 8 (Burton 3, Armstrong 2); SV 4 (Ratliff 2).

Rocky River girls 39, Sun Valley 36
Rocky River (2-0)
Hydeia Harvey 5 1-5 11, Jordan Soares 4 3-3 11, Shikina Wilson 3 0-4 6, Carrie King 1 1-4 3, Simone Williams 1 0-3 2, Aliyah Hason 1 0-0 2, Makayla Carter 2 0-0 4, Jasmynn Keyes 0 0-2 0, Kiara Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 5-21 39.

Sun Valley (3-2)
Hannah Gordon 1 2-3 4, Kayla Thomas 1 1-2 3, Jackie Zimmerman 1 0-0 2, Rachel Terrell 4 0-0 11, Amanda Bill 4 3-3 12, Gabby Dorismond 1 0-2 2, Madison Faulkner 0 2-4 2, Brandy Pickett 0 0-2 0, Whitney Wall 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 8-16 36.

RR      9      6   10   15  -   40
SV     10    12    3    12  -   37

3-pointers: RR 0; SV 4 (Terrell 3, Bill 1). Rebounds: RR 42 (Hason 7, Soares 7, Williams 7); SV 31 (Dorismond 8, Thomas 7, Zimmerman 5, Gordon 5). Assists: RR 5 (Soares 3); SV 7 (Bill 3). Steals: RR 25 (Harvey 6, King 5, Wilson 4); SV 12 (Thomas 3, Zimmerman 3). Blocks: RR 0; SV 1 (Bill).