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Ravenscroft will play Montrose Christian School (Md.) in ESPN tournament

Ravenscroft’s boys basketball team was seeded as the No. 7 seed in the ESPNHS National High School Invitational. The Ravens (31-3) will face No. 2-seed Montrose Christian School (Md.) in the quarterfinals March 29 at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.

The tournament is being held at Georgetown Preparatory School’s Hanley Center for Athletic Excellence in Bethesda, Md.

Montrose (20-2) is No. 11 in the latest ESPNHS national rankings, and is the defending tournament champion. The Mustangs feature University of Virginia signee Justin Anderson. 

The winner of the quarterfinal game will play the winner of the three-seeded Montverde (Fla.) vs. No. 6-seed La Porte La Lumiere (Ind.) game Friday, March 30 at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.

Ravenscroft claimed the NCISAA 3A State Championship last month.

Bryan now second in rebounds in Ravenscroft history

Ravenscroft center Marcus Bryan was instrumental in the Ravens’ 72-56 win over Word of God on Wednesday night. Coach Kevin Billerman said Bryan (pictured right) played some of his best basketball in the second half.

In the first half though, Bryan moved into second place in rebounds in school history. He needed just two rebounds to move ahead of Nate Williams, who had 656 in his career.

Bryan grabbed his second rebound early in the first quarter.  

“It feels pretty good,” Bryan said of the accomplishment.  “I’m working toward first.”

Bryan will have to put in a lot of work to catch Ryan Kelly, who left the school with 950 rebounds.

In the win over the Rams, Bryan finished with 11 rebounds to bring his total to 665. He also finished with 19 points and five blocks.

“I think in the first half, Marcus missed some shots and had a couple ball go through his hands,” Billerman said. “In the second half he was fabulous. Marcus certainly dominated the backboard.”

Ravenscroft’s Gill commits to Louisville

Ravenscroft junior forward Anton Gill has announced today his commitment to play basketball at Louisville.

Gill is one of the nation’s Top 50 players in the class of 2013, and is ranked No. 48 by ESPN.

“I really feel like Louisville is the perfect fit,” Gill said. “I like the college, the facilities, the town, Coach (Rick) Pitino and Louisville’s style of play. I really believe there is no place I would rather be and that’s why I decided to commit now.”

Last year as a sophomore, Gill was named to the All-State team and helped lead the Ravens to a 24-4 record, the TISAC Conference title, and a semifinal appearance in the 2011 NCISAA 3A state tournament.

Castleberry commits to North Carolina

Cameron Castleberry, a forward for Ravenscroft's girls soccer team, announced her commitment earlier today to play at North Carolina.

Castleberry, who will be a junior this year, led Ravenscroft to the TISAC conference title. The Ravens also reached the NCISAA 3-A State championship before falling to Charlotte Latin. Castleberry led the team in scoring with 25 goals and 10 assists – including a goal in the state championship match – to receive selections to the All-Conference, All-Region and All-State teams. She was also named the 3-A Private School Player of the Year.

“Until now I have only dreamed about having the opportunity to play college soccer at an incredible school like Carolina,” Castleberry said in a statement. “I have always wanted to attend UNC, and I am thrilled to have the chance to play soccer at a school that has such great tradition and history.”

Castleberry participated in the U17 Women’s National Team training camp in Carson, Calif. earlier this summer, a program that helps identify future players for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Castleberry will join Ravenscroft teammate Caroline Lindquist, who has also committed to North Carolina.

“I think that the UNC program will be a perfect place for her,” said coach J.J. Raabe said of Castleberry. “Cameron is a dynamic player with and without the ball and she will continue to grow as a player and teammate. She has been and will continue to be an impact player for Ravenscroft and I am selfishly excited because I will be able to continue to watch her make an impact close to home once she graduates.”

Hodges named new Ravenscroft girls golf coach

Ravenscroft has hired Doug Hodges, a PGA Professional, as the coach of its varsity girls golf team.

“Last year, we recognized the importance of offering our girls the opportunity to play golf at the high school level and we had a very successful inaugural year,” athletic director Ned Gonet said in a statement. “We have hired Doug to continue this building process. Our goal is to give every girl who enters the Ravenscroft community the opportunity to excel on the golf course.”

Hodges’ experience as a golf professional includes training golfers at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., and the Heritage Golf Club in Wake Forest. For the last 15 years, Hodges has researched and studied the mental aspects of the game and how to achieve optimal performance.

News and notes from Carolina Challenge

Ravenscroft guard Anton Gill drives on Greenfield's Sam Hughes in the Carolina Challenge at Ravenscroft High School (photo by Greg Mintel).

Here are the highlights from today’s fifth annual Dave Telep’s Carolina Challenge at Ravenscroft High School:

Word of God’s T.J. Warren opened up the Carolina Challenge with scoring 40 points. Upper Room Christian Academy’s Tyrek Coger won the game’s most intriguing matchup over fellow sophomore center Kennedy Meeks with West Charlotte.

“That was an easy 40 points he scored, too, so that was impressive,” Ravenscroft guard Anton Gill said.

***

Shooting guard Torian Graham has transferred from Word of God to Pace Academy in Chapel Hill. Graham said it’s likely he’ll play at a public school in Durham next year, but he’s certain he won’t be back at Word of God.

***

Terry Henderson of Neuse Christian said the Ivy League schools have taken serious looks at him for scholarship. Among the schools are Penn, Cornell and Harvard. Henderson, who averaged 23 points a game last season, is also being considered by Texas A&M, Richmond, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

***

Louisville recruit Rodney Purvis was more of a passer than a shooter Saturday. Although Purvis, a guard at Upper Room Christian Academy, has been known for been able to score plenty of points by getting to the basket, Purvis was averaging just 12 points in his first two games of the Carolina Challenge. Purvis, who will be asked to handle the basketball at Louisville, seemed to focus more on getting his teammates open for shots.

***

Middle Creek guard Quinton Ray was aggressive on the defense end has he was able to create some steals that translated into easy points. Ray will be asked to run the offense next year for the Mustangs, and coach David Kushner expects Ray to improve in the offseason.

“I think this event helps [the players] want to get better and learn from one another,” Kushner said. “If Quinton works on his game the way I know he can, he can get up there in the mid-major level for scholarships.”

***

Ravenscroft had three players participate in the Carolina Challenge, the most of any Triangle area school. Guards Anton Gill and Madison Jones along with center Marcus Bryan each scored more than 10 points in each of their games. Gill led the trio with 28 points in one of his games. Gill also had the highlight of the day with a windmill dunk in his first game.

“I didn’t have anybody behind me, and I was kind of tired, but I said I have to try something,” he said. “It was fun to have a play like that and it brought energy into the gym.”

Other notable quotes:

Middle Creek coach David Kushner on the overall talent at the Carolina Challenge:

This area has so much potential to have kids at [the Division I] level.  Everybody talented, but if they can have that willingness and desire to get better, and if they can get that out of it, then this event will always be worth it.”

Dave Telep, a senior basketball-recruiting analyst for ESPN.com, on the younger talent at the event with the 80 players invited, 43 were freshmen and sophomores:

“In this camp we have more younger guys than I prefer to have, but that’s where the talent is in our state. The thinking is it’s going to help these guys grow and eventually take over. The guys who are freshmen and sophomore will get better. They see their natural progress in playing older guys.”

Anton Gill on what the Carolina Challenge means to him:

“This is a reminder that I have to keep working hard. A lot of people don’t realize this, but we usually stay in touch with these guys. You can’t get complacent because they are so many good guys who are young.”

Ravenscroft to host track and field event

Ravenscroft will host its inaugural Ravens Early-Bird Classic, a track and field event that will be held March 19. More than 400 athletes from 15 schools will compete in the Saturday event.

Ravenscroft's Francis commits to Washington and Lee

Ravenscroft senior tennis player Genny Francis announced today her commitment to play for Washington and Lee University.

Francis was one the main reason Ravenscroft girls tennis team won the 2008 NCISAA 3-A state championship and to a second place finish in 2009. She finished the 2008 season with a perfect singles record of 20-0 at the No. 4 player. Last season Francis qualified in both singles and doubles for the USTA National Championships.

“Genny has been on the varsity team for five years and her growth, with her tennis skills and her leadership skills, has been exponential,” coach Debbie Peek said.

Rapid Reaction from Ravenscroft's win over Middle Creek

RALEIGH – Here’s our rapid reaction after Ravenscroft defeated Middle Creek 59-57 Wednesday night in a nonconference game:

HOW THE GAME WAS WON

Ravenscroft surrendered its lead late in the fourth quarter only to have guard Anton Gill (pictuted left) make a fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer to win the game. Madison Jones was the difference in the final play as he was able penetrate into the lane to bring Gill’s defender over to cover him. That allowed Gill to be wide open in the corner to make his three-point basket just before the buzzer sounded.

TURNING POINT

This is a tough one to call, but Middle Creek gave Ravenscroft a chance to win the game by going to quickly on its final possession. The Mustangs were trailing by one with less than a minute left and could have held the ball for the final shot. Instead guard Donta Davis was fouled by going to the basket with 17 seconds left. Although Davis made both free throws to give the Mustangs the lead, it also allowed Gill to have time to make his game-winning shot.

STAT OF THE GAME

Gill is a very good shooter from behind the ach as he averages 53 percent from three before tonight’s game. Gill had plenty of chances to make three-pointers, but his one at the buzzer was his only three-pointer of the game.

LIVE BLOG: Final day, boys Glaxo

Final: Ravenscroft 57, Middle Creek 52

Ravenscroft did just enough to win this championship, their first ever at the Glaxo. Anton Gill was named the tournament’s MVP after a 16-point performance that also included guarding Middle Creek’s best scorer in guard Leon Hargrove. The Ravens didn’t make a lot of free throws late in this game, which allowed it to be close, but their defense remained solid in the final seconds to get a steal with five second to put the game out of reach.

Give credit to Middle Creek. They did a nice job after trailing by 18 points in the third quarter. The Mustangs were led by Hargrove’s 21 points.

Postgame quotes from Ravenscroft:

Coach Kevin Billerman on the Ravens’ defense:

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