RAVENSWOOD - At the time, Ravenswood's loss at LKC North Division rival Williamstown in early January meant little other than knocking the Red Devils out of the divisional race.
But the knowledge of what it felt to fall behind the Yellowjackets by an 18-0 score to begin the game and then having the ability to nearly pull out a late victory before succumbing by a 41-38 count, made such an impact on the Jackson Countians as they used it to their advantage during Wednesday night's 59-43 victory against Oak Glen in the Region One championship game at The Pit.
''The coaches talked to us before the game about coming out with a lot of energy like Williamstown did up there,'' said senior Emily Rector, who led all scorers with 25 points. ''We knew if we could play with that kind of focus early, that it would give us the advantage late in the game.''
Words which proved to be right on target as the Red Devils scored the first 16 points before a Kiley King bucket ended the Golden Bears' drought with 39 seconds left in the opening quarter.
''I would have never believed that we would come out and jump to that big of a lead,'' Ravenswood coach Chris Michael said. ''We saw up at Williamstown what a run like that can do so we reminded our kids that they needed to come out focused and make some shots.''
And the Red Devils (21-3) listened as a Rector 3-pointer at the 7:07 mark ignited the spurt. Ravenswood hit on six of its first seven shots from the field while Oak Glen (15-10) misfired on its first 15 attempts before King ended the drought.
Oak Glen was able to slice the deficit to nine, 26-15, on a Alexis Burch triple with 50 seconds left in the first half and only trailed by 10, 28-18, thanks to a 3-pointer by Vanessa Hissam just before the buzzer.
''We knew that they (Oak Glen) would make a run,'' said Rector, who added five assists and five rebounds. "We reminded the girls that they are too good of a team to just quit. So we needed to keep the pressure on them and continue to make some shots.''
Which the Red Devils accomplished, especially at the free-throw line where they connected on 12 of 17 during the final 8 minutes.
Joining Rector in double figures for Ravenswood was Hannah Murray with 15 points and Hannah Gurtis with 12 while Oak Glen received 13 points apiece from Payden Eckleberry and King.