South Range sends Columbiana packing

CANFIELD, OH (WYTV)-The fifth seeded South Range Raiders used a 21-point third quarter explosion to pull away from the Columbiana Clippers Tuesday night in a division III sectional tournament game 50-32. The eighth seeded Clippers close the season with a 8-15 record.

According to Raiders coach John Cullen that is not what his team usually does, ” “We got really focused to start the third quarter. Usually that’s not what we do and we had a twelve something run that was pretty efficient. And a lot of that came from our bench so I was really happy that those guys went in there and kind of changed the game around a little bit.”

“Kids are so weird, it’s just like anything else, once they start making them (baskets) they think they can make them. If they start missing them they think ‘oh boy, I don’t want to miss the next one’. It’s just human nature. Pro golfers, everybody does it,” Raiders coach John Cullen remarked.

The Raiders would double up the Clippers in the first quarter as they held a 14-7 advantage at the end of the frame, but it was just before halftime that they really started to assert themselves. With the Clippers cutting the deficit down to just 4-points at 16-12, the Raiders would go on a 4-0 in the last minute of the quarter to go into intermission with a 20-12 lead.

“We came out in the first half with the mindset that we were going to play man and kind of surprise them with that. Obviously the result of 20-points at the half, that’s a great defensive effort,” Clippers coach Wesley Cross said. But we really didn’t execute our offense, our sets, they did a really good job defensively clogging up the paint and deflecting a lot of balls that led to turnovers.”

“We could have been in a one or two possession game at the half, but instead we were down eight. We talked about that, how important it is to close out halves and quarters and obviously that was a point of emphasis and we didn’t do that,” Cross said.

The Raiders would outscore the Clippers 21-6 in the third quarter courtesy of two three-pointers by Mark Vennetti and one by Anthony Ritter as they built a commanding 23-point advantage of 41-18 at the end of the stanza.

“We knew we wanted to keep them from getting on that big run, and I tried to use the timeouts. But there were just too many transition baskets in the second half and they started knocking down some shots,” Cross added. “We wanted to get a high hand on them and contest all shots. Definitely with their shooters if they are not contested they are going to shoot a high percentage.”

The Raiders used consistent scoring as only Brandon Youngs would reach double digits with 12 points on the night. Dan Ritter would grab 5 rebounds to pace them on the boards.

Burdette Baker matched Youngs with 12 points as he led the Clippers in the scoring column on the night. Baker would also haul down 9 rebounds while Gannon Hartley added another 5.

Up next for the Raiders will be a third matchup of the year with league opponent United on Friday night at South Range. The Raiders beat the sixth seeded Eagles twice during regular season.

“I know they would like to get us. We played one of our best games of the year against them the last time. They have talent,” Cullen remarked. “We match up good with them.”

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