POINT PLEASANT - After a slow start, fifth-ranked Ravenswood got its offense going in the second quarter en route to a 52-34 triumph over Little Kanawha Conference rival Ritchie County in the Class AA Region I, Section 2 girls basketball championship game Friday night at Point Pleasant High School.
The victorious Red Devils, now 20-3 on the season, will host Section 1 runnerup Oak Glen in a regional contest Wednesday, the same night Ritchie (5-18) will play at Section 1 champion Weir in the other Region I tilt - both for spots in the state tournament.
Sophomore Hannah Murray led Ravenswood Friday with 15 points while Emily Rector tallied 13 and Hannah Gurtis added 10.
For the Ritchie Rebels, senior Regan Stout netted 13 points and Tristin Toman notched 11.
Ritchie held a 3-0 lead 2:35 into the game as Ravenswood missed its first five shots before Sarah McMillan took a feed coming down the lane to score at the 4:56 mark. After McMillan's basket broke the scoring ice for the Red Devils, Gurtis gunned in a trey, McMillan converted a foul shot and Nicole Sadecky had a steal to go in for a layup at 3:20 for an 8-3 advantage.
But Ritchie trailed only 8-6 after one period of play as Stout, a force battling inside on the boards all night long, recorded a rebound bucket and Veronica Mueller sank a free throw in the final three minutes of the opening quarter.
The second stanza, though, saw Ravenswood begin to get untracked offensively, getting the ball out and running the floor more. That resulted in a 10-2 run to start the second to take an 18-8 lead with 3:36 left before halftime. But Ritchie, behind Sydney Snodgrass, rallied back to 19-13 before the Red Devils finished the half on a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Murray 3-ball with 7.8 seconds remaining, for a 26-13 lead at intermission.
Then after a near dead-even third period, Ravenswood put the game away in the fourth quarter by sinking seven of eight tries at the foul line.
''When we got out in the open floor, we made some shots, which is what we weren't doing in the first quarter,'' said Ravenswood head coach Chris Michael. ''But even when we finally got a margin that was kind of comfortable, I don't think we ever looked great on offense the whole night.''
For Ritchie head coach Dave McCullough, the redeeming quality of the night ''is getting to play again next week. Now it only takes one win to get to the state tournament and that's what everybody dreams of doing in March.''