Warriors victorious

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 8, 2003

AHOSKIE – Down by one. Seventeen seconds to play. The best shooter on the team gets a good look at the bucket.

No one would ask for much more than that and that is exactly what Ridgecroft got Friday night against archrival Lawrence Academy.

The Rams trailed 56-55 after Chad Simmons hit the front end of a one-plus-one with 19 seconds to go, but freshman Chris Hill drove the lane, got off a good shot and watched it hit every place inside the hoop – and then bounce out.

Lawrence’s Thomas Ward grabbed the rebound and then buried both end of a one-n-one with three seconds to play to seal the 58-55 win for the Warriors.

&uot;My hat’s off to Lawrence,&uot; Ridgecroft head coach Dave Rowzie said after the contest. &uot;They played an amazing fourth quarter, made their shots and rebounded the ball well.

&uot;Still, I have nothing negative to say about my team,&uot; he insisted. &uot;We played as well as we have all year. I wish we could have pulled it off, but Lawrence earned it. I still think the way we played tonight should give us confidence heading into the rest of the conference season.&uot;

The game was a seesaw battle with each team making a run, only to watch the other one soar back.

For much of the night it was a battle of three-point specialists, as Hill would bomb one in for the Rams, only to watch senior Grantley Mizelle hit from behind the arc for the Warriors.

After the two teams exchanged a basket each in the first minute, the Rams rolled off five unanswered when Jason Courtright and Chris Mizelle sandwiched a pair of hoops around a free throw by Mac Griffin to give Ridgecroft a 7-2 edge.

The Rams continued to push their advantage and eventually claimed a 14-6 lead with 1:53 to play in the first quarter after a Griffin stick-back.

G. Mizelle started a 5-0 run for the Warriors when he hit the first of his treys and then James Bostick hit a hoop with 22 seconds to play in the first to trim the lead to 14-11.

The second quarter was all Warriors as they held Ridgecroft to three-for-11 shooting en route to grabbing a 28-24 halftime lead.

The Warriors began the period with a Thomas Ward free throw and hoop to deadlock the contest before a pair of Lawrence field goals gave them the lead at 18-14.

They never trailed again in the first half and took a four-point lead into the locker room thanks to a Simmons trey with five seconds to play in the half.

It was Lawrence who went dry from the field in the third quarter, as they were limited to a four-for-17 effort from the floor while Ridgecroft went 8-of-19 to claim a seven-point edge.

Jason Courtright started the second half with a trey for the Rams and was followed only seconds later by a bucket from Jason Hill to give Ridgecroft a brief lead.

G. Mizelle answered with another three-pointer, but a Griffin deuce deadlocked the game at 31-all with 5:28 to play.

After a Ward bucket for Lawrence, the Rams rolled off 11 straight points with Hill burying a pair of treys while C. Mizelle added a couple of jumpers to push Ridgecroft to a 42-33 advantage.

Ward and Gabe White got the Warriors back in the contest, hitting a deuce and a pair of free throws respectively to get Lawrence to within five.

Ridgecroft pushed their edge to 11 (52-41) when C. Mizelle buried a field goal with 5:48 to play, but the Warriors came storming back.

Shawn Smith started the run with a basket at the 5:30 mark and was followed by three-pointers from White and G. Mizelle.

G. Mizelle hit a two-pointer just before Erik Hughes buried a shot that gave Lawrence the lead at 53-52.

Griffin answered for the Rams, but the lead was short-lived as G. Mizelle hit a trey with 1:36 to play that gave Lawrence a 56-54 lead.

C. Mizelle buried a pair of free throws with 24 seconds to play, which cut the lead to one and set up the final second drama.

&uot;I thought everyone on our team stepped up tonight,&uot; first-year Warrior skipper Justis Bobbitt said. &uot;They are a well-coached team and they wanted the game badly, but we did what we had to.

&uot;Grantley Mizelle really stepped it up for us tonight from the bench,&uot; he added. &uot;He gave us a good lift by hitting those outside shots.&uot;