By ERIC CLUTTER | CORRESPONDENT
Jermaine Justice poured in 25 points Friday night to lead the Ravenna Ravens over rival Kent Roosevelt 77-64 in a Portage Trail Conference Metro Division game.
Ravenna, now 10-7 overall and 6-5 in the Metro Division, led from start to finish to avenge a December one-point loss to the Rough Riders, who lost for the 11th time in their last 12 outings to fall to 4-12 overall and 4-7 in the Metro.
In a good battle between a pair of 6-foot-7 post men in Justice and Roosevelt junior Myles Wright, Justice outscored his counterpart 25-19 and also was very active on the boards.
"When he plays like that, it's hard for any team to stop him," said Ravenna head coach Phil Starks. "(But) tonight, it was a great team effort by everybody."
Justice, who entered the game averaging 18 points and 10 boards an outing, had plenty of help as six of his teammates contributed at least six points to the Ravens' cause.
"He is a high-energy kid," said Starks of Justice, "and the kids really feed off him. He gets them going."
Tyler Conley had eight points for the game, but his two 3-pointers in the opening quarter coupled with six Roosevelt turnovers helped stake the hosts to a 17-9 advantage after eight minutes.
Starks was very happy with the quick start, something his squad and Roosevelt, for that matter, have struggled with all season.
"We need to get out of the gates quick," Starks said. "That's the key to our game."
Despite getting into the bonus early in the second quarter, the Rough Riders, who finished 23-of-35 from the foul line, could not make up any ground and trailed by a dozen at the half.
After a foul-filled first half, the second half saw both teams come out active and the pace picked up.
With Justice popping in nine points in the frame, the Ravenna lead fluctuated between eight and 15 points. Corey Mitchell, who led Roosevelt with 25 points, hit a pair of free throws with 42 seconds to play in the quarter to make the count 49-36 going to the final eight minutes
Roosevelt made one last push midway through the fourth period and reduced the margin to eight points on a Mitchell three-point play with 3:31 to go. But Justice countered with four straight points to fend off the Rough Riders.
"It was a great win. I'm ecstatic right now," said Starks.
The only negative on the night for the Ravens was the fact that they shot only 10-of-25 from the foul stripe. Thirty-one made field goals, however, helped take the sting away from the 15 missed free throws.
Kyle Spellman had 10 points for the Ravens while Tate Bennett and Tyler Bayless each chipped in seven points.