By JOE CANNON
After a slow start, Coach Jason McCowan’s fourth-ranked Cleveland squad used a 16-0 run to propel them past a tough Tyner squad Friday evening at Raider Arena.“It took us a little bit to get …
After a slow start, Coach Jason McCowan’s fourth-ranked Cleveland squad used a 16-0 run to propel them past a tough Tyner squad Friday evening at Raider Arena.
“It took us a little bit to get going tonight, but once we did we were able to get into what we wanted to do,” the veteran mentor said after the 75-50 victory.
“We came out with a better defensive effort in the second half. We got them frustrated some and it led to some easy baskets,” he added as the Blue Raiders had five steals and outscored the Rams 22-7 in the final eight minutes.
Improving to 16-2 on the season, Cleveland traveled to Gate City, Va., after press time Saturday to take on a team with what is considered one of the most exciting high school players in the nation.
“It will be a great atmosphere to play in. It will be a packed crowd. Mac McClung is one of the best players around,” declared Coach McCowan of the 6-foot-3 senior point guard who had over 30 NCAA D-I offers before committing to Georgetown.
McClung scored 47 points on 18-of-23 shooting from the field, including a pair of reverse dunks and five 3-pointers with Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing in attendance in a win earlier this season.
Ranked as the 10th best team in Virginia by USA Today, Gate City is 15-1 on the campaign.
“We wanted to play a tough schedule this year, so when we got the chance to play them, we jumped at it.”
The Raiders will be back home for District 5-AAA action Tuesday evening when archrival Bradley Central comes calling.
After a scoreless couple of minutes by both teams Friday evening, Cleveland put the first five points on the scoreboard, but found itself down 11-8 with just over two minutes to go in the opening frame.
The Raiders heated up, scoring the final 10 points of the period and the first half dozen of the second for a double-digit advantage.
Tyner (11-7) was able to fight back to close the gap back to seven points late in the second period, but the hosts pushed it back to 38-28 at the half.
Both teams put 15 points on the board in the third frame before Cleveland went on 13-0 run to open the fourth period.
The Raiders held the Rams to just four free throws and a 3-pointer in the final eight minutes to pull away for the victory.
Junior Dionte Ware led the Cleveland attack with 27 points, including a trio of treys and a slam dunk, plus 10 rebounds for yet another double-double.
“Good things happen when we get the ball in Dionte’s hands,” declared Coach McCowan. “He can score so many ways.”
Sophomore JaCobi Wood pumped in 16 points, pulled down seven caroms, copped five steals and dished four assists for the victors.
Senior point guard Mullek Bradford garnered 10 points, six ricochets, a pair of helps and two thefts.
“Deontae Davis got into some foul trouble and Mallek (Bradford) and JaCobi (Wood) really stepped up for us tonight,” praised Coach McCowan.
Senior sharpshooter Davis was held to just five points, four caroms and a pair of steals in limited playing time, while senior Romeo Wykle added seven points, a trio of rebounds and two assists to the winning effort.
As a team, Cleveland drained 21-of-40 shots from in front of the arc and 6-of-21 beyond it. The hosts also went 15-for-17 at the charity stripe.
Tyner was just 6-for-25 on two-pointers and 9-of-16 free throws, but drilled 9-of-22 long range bombs.
Javon Craddock swished five “downtown” shots for 15 points to pace the visitors, while Michael Little drained a trio of treys on his way to 13 points.
The Raiders out rebounded the Rams 38-21 and copped 14 steals as part of 21 Tyner turnovers.
Tyner;11;17;15;7 — 50
Cleveland;18;20;15;22 — 75
RAMS (50) — Javon Craddock 15, Michael Little 13, Hinton 5, Je. Elston 4, Halfacre 2, Lattimore 1, Dozier, Grace, Gladden, Favors, Ja. Elston.
BLUE RAIDERS (75) — Dionte Ware 27, Jacobi Wood 16, Mullek Bradford 10, Wykle 7, Davis 5, Patterson 5, Hurst 2, Colbaugh 2, Howard 1, Burke, Black, McGowan, Lay.
3-POINTERS: Tyner 9 (Craddock 5, Little 3, Hinton): Cleveland 5 (Ware 3, Davis, Wykle).
FREE THROWS: Tyner 9-of-16: Cleveland 15-of-17.
RECORDS: Tyner 11-7: Cleveland 16-2.
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