ELMA — A flurry of fourth quarter treys was not enough for Elma to overcome a stellar first-half performance by Raymond on Thursday night.
The visiting Seagulls featured a balanced scoring attack and took advantage of early cold shooting by the Eagles to pick up a 57-45 win in a non-league boys basketball game.
Layins by Jayce Freeman and Rayce Newman — both assisted by Darol Ratsavongsy — bookended a game-opening 15-3 run by the Gulls. Newman scored eight points during that stretch. The junior guard finished with 17 points, tied for the game-high with his teammate, Kason Koski.
Raymond (6-8) carried its positive momentum into the third quarter as well.
The Gulls opened the second half with an 8-0 run that was punctuated by a deep 3-point basket by Rayce Newman nearly three minutes into the third quarter. The scoring spurt gave Raymond its largest lead of the game, 42-13.
“We worked really hard the last few days on intensity on both offense and defense, and you can see the difference,” Raymond interim head coach Ron Bell said. “The kids really came to play tonight. The intensity on defense fed into the offense, and then we started hitting some baskets when we started moving. The key to getting open, of course, is moving. We’ve added a lot of movement to the offense, and the kids have adapted well.”
The Eagles (8-6) did not go quietly, despite the huge deficit they faced.
After hitting just three 3-pointers in the first three quarters, Elma hit six shots from beyond the arc — four by Devon Gilman — in the fourth quarter and pulled within 10 points of Raymond near the end of the game. Three free throws by Chance Bremer cut the Gulls’ lead to 55-45 with 11 seconds left in the game.
Gilman and Bremer finished the game tied for the team high with 12 points each.
Elma shot uncharacteristically poorly in the first half while Raymond built its lead. The usually sharp-shooting Eagles connected on just four of their 23 first-half attempts from the field.
“We dug a huge hole and it was too deep to dig out of,” Elma head coach Marvin Prince said. “I liked our resiliency down the stretch, but it was too late. It mimicked yesterday’s practice exactly. We started real slow and we finished strong. You can’t do that. You play the way you practice. We just did not come ready to play.”
Both teams will be back in action on Saturday — Elma will host Aberdeen and Raymond will make the short trip to South Bend to take on the Indians.
Raymond 19 15 12 11 — 57
Elma 7 6 11 21 — 45
Raymond (57) – Crow, Freeman 8, Newman 17, Koski 17, Hamilton, Ratsavongsy 11, Lund 4. FG – 22-45 (.489). FT – 6-9.
Elma (45) – Collin 11, Nauman 3, Stark 5, Lorton, Gilman 12, Bremer 12, Davis, Neary 2. FG – 15-45 (.333). FT – 6-7.