POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — If Ravenswood was the measuring stick, then the Big Blacks came up about one inch short of overachieving.
Doug Workman’s potential game-winning three-pointer bounced off the front iron just before time expired as visiting Ravenswood escaped The Dungeon with a thrilling 49-47 decision over the Point Pleasant boys basketball on Friday night in a non-conference boys basketball contest in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (9-4) never led in the first three quarters and were down by as many as 11 points with 6:51 remaining in the third period, but the hosts closed the canto with a pivotal 16-4 charge that resulted in a 41-40 deficit headed into the finale.
Parker Rairden drilled a trifecta 33 seconds into the fourth for Point’s first lead of the game at 43-41, then the senior canned another triple roughly a minute later — allowing PPHS to secure its largest lead of the night at 46-41 with 6:34 left in regulation.
The Red Devils (11-1), however, countered with eight straight points over the next three minutes to reclaim the lead at 49-46, then the hosts got a free throw from Workman with 2:48 left to cut the deficit down to two.
Neither team scored the rest of the way, but it wasn’t for a lack of opportunities.
RHS owned possession at midcourt with 31.5 seconds remaining, but the guests committed a turnover — then Point Pleasant called timeout with 17.2 seconds left.
On their final possession, Rairden dribbled past a defender and into the lane while drawing in extra defenders. When the defense collapsed, the ball was kicked out to Workman at the top of the key.
Workman’s 22-footer bounced off the front of the rim and went airborne, which resulted in a slew of players from both teams going after the rebound.
Stephen Dawson eventually came down with carom and the clock expired a brief moment later, wrapping up the narrow two-point outcome.
The Red Devils — who have now won nine straight decisions — had twice scored triple digits previously this year, but they were held under 61 points for the first time at PPHS. The hosts also held Ravenswood to just eight points in each of the final two cantos.
Despite another gutsy effort from his troops, PPHS coach Josh Williams couldn’t help but be disappointed with the final outcome. But as he put it afterwards, it wasn’t because of effort.
“The turnovers and the second chances they got with offensive rebounds hurt us a little bit in the first half, but the guys continued to play hard through all of it. We went in at halftime and challenged our kids to just play our game and do the things we do, and I thought the kids really stepped up to the challenge,” Williams said. “We left everything we had on the floor against a really good Ravenswood team and they made the one extra play that we didn’t make.
“We aren’t into moral victories, but this team showed as much character tonight as any team I’ve coached here. I’m really proud of their effort tonight, but we obviously still have some room for improvement.”
The Big Blacks were outrebounded by a 24-20 overall margin, which included a 12-6 discrepancy on the offensive glass. The hosts also committed 13 of the 21 turnovers in the contest, with 10 of those coming before the intermission.
The biggest difference in the outcome, however, may have occurred at the free throw line. RHS was perfect on all five of its attempts, while the Big Blacks went just 5-of-12 at the charity stripe for 42 percent — including a 1-of-4 effort at the line in the fourth quarter.
The Red Devils jumped out to an early 5-0 lead just 90 seconds into regulation, but PPHS responded with a 9-5 run over the next five-plus minutes to close to within 10-9. RHS ended the final minute of the first period with a 5-3 spurt to secure a 15-12 edge after eight minutes of play.
Will Harbour capped a 7-4 run with a basket at the 5:40 mark of the second frame, allowing the hosts to knot things up 19-all. Rairden nailed a trifecta at the 2:44 mark to again tie things up at 23, but the guests reeled off the final 10 points of the first half en route to securing a 33-23 advantage at the break.
Cason Payne opened the third period with a basket at the 7:08 mark, but Dawson answered with an old-fashioned three-point play at the 6:51 mark — giving the guests their largest lead at 36-25.
Ravenswood missed its next six shot attempts while the hosts opened the canto by hitting five of the their first seven shots while closing back to within 38-37 with 2:58 left. Both teams traded trifectas the rest of the way as Ravenswood took a slim 41-40 edge into the finale.
The Big Blacks connected on 16-of-33 field goal attempts for 48 percent, including a 10-of-21 effort from behind the arc for 48 percent.
Rairden led PPHS with a game-high 17 points, followed by Payne with 14 points and Workman with 10 markers. Austin Liptrap and Harbour rounded out the scoring with respective efforts of four and two points.
Harbour hauled in a team-high six rebounds, followed by Rairden with four boards and Workman with three caroms.
The Red Devils netted 19-of-46 shot attempts for 41 percent, including a 6-of-18 effort from behind the arc for 33 percent.
Riley Heatherington led the guests with 13 points, followed by Dawson and Hayden Mandrake with 11 markers apiece. Isaiah Morgan was next with nine points, while Jayden Rhodes rounded out the tally with five points.
Dawson hauled in a game-high nine rebounds, with Heatherington and Morgan respectively hauling in five and four caroms.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
NOTE: Due to an early deadline, this story will appear in the Tuesday sports editions of the Point Pleasant Register, Gallipolis Daily Tribune and The Daily Sentinel.