WILLIAMSTOWN – After capturing their second consecutive state championship in football just nine days ago, the Williamstown Yellowjackets opened their basketball season at home Monday night against Ravenswood expecting the need to shake off a little rust.
That rust was removed rather quickly as the Yellowjackets scored 25 first-quarter points and never looked back as they downed the Red Devils, 72-53.
Junior Jayden Bryant led four Williamstown scorers in double figures with 17 points as the ‘Jackets took care of business against a very good Ravenswood team that came into the game with two wins in as many tries.
“That’s a really good win to start the season because we have a lot of respect for them,” said Williamstown head coach Scott Sauro. “That’s a really good team that’s going to win a lot of games and to beat them our first game of the year was great.”
The ‘Jackets fell behind early after a 3-pointer by Beau Bennett but used a 10-0 run to open up a seven-point lead midway through the opening quarter.
Williamstown was able to extend that lead by a point as a 3-pointer by Payton Bunch and a deuce by Cruz Isaly in the closing minutes of the opening quarter gave the home team a 25-17 advantage.
The Yellowjackets pressured the basketball the entire first half and that strategy paid excellent results as the Red Devils turned the ball over 12 times in the opening 16 minutes.
Williamstown staked claim to their first double-digit lead of the game when Bryant tossed in a floater but the Devils answered with back-to-back buckets by big man Evan Swain to cut the lead back to six.
The Red Devils managed to stay within striking distance in the second quarter but a putback by Carson Hill in the closing minute of the half sent the ‘Jackets to the intermission with a 37-27 lead.
The visitors managed to trim the lead back to eight to open the second half on a pair of free throws by Noah Dawson but WHS responded with a 11-0 run to push their lead out to 19 at 50-31.
The ‘Jackets look to be a very deep basketball team and that depth was on full display when five different players scored a basket in the run that put things out of reach for all intent purposes.
“We were trying to get some of our younger guys involved and their feet wet on how it feels to be in a varsity game with the hope that they will be able to contribute a little bit more later on,” said Sauro. “Even though we only lost two people from last year it changes people’s roles and that takes some getting used to.”
The Devils managed to trim the lead to 16 at the end of the third and whittled it down to as few as 12 with 2:35 to play but that would be as close as they could get the rest of the way.
Joining Bryant in double figures were Carson Hill with 12 points and Parker Schramm and Payton Bunch with 10 apiece.
Senior Gavin Lemley and junior Cruz Isaly added nine and eight points, respectively.
The Yellowjackets shot a superb 59 percent from the floor (29-51) and out-rebounded Ravenswood by a small margin (22-18).
The Red Devils were led in scoring by Noah Dawson with 14 and Evan Swain with 13.
The Yellowjackets will look to make it two in a row later in week as they host Tyler Consolidated on Wednesday evening.
“It wasn’t pretty at times and I thought we had some really good moments and some really bad ones too,” said Sauro. “Some of those things are to be expected in your first game. We just have to be a lot more consistent throughout the rest of our schedule.”