Ridgecroft ladies win wrestling match

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

LASKER – If only the WWE title had been on the line.

That was the only thing missing Monday night when Ridgecroft School and Northeast Academy tangled in a varsity girls’ game that was many time literally like a wrestling match.

In the end, the Lady Rams came out with 36-33 victory thanks to a key shot by Jessica Misse with just over a minute to play in the non-conference contest.

&uot;I think both teams made both teams play ugly,&uot; Ridgecroft veteran basketball boss Doug Cobbs said. &uot;Both teams played extremely hard.&uot;

The contest was tied 10 times (at 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25) and the largest lead for either team was a 12-8 Ridgecroft advantage early in the second quarter.

The fourth quarter began well for the Lady Eagles as senior sharpshooter Shannon Jenkins hit back-to-back buckets to erase a two-point deficit and give Northeast the lead at 27-25.

On the very next possession, however, freshman Megan Groninger answered with a trey for Ridgecroft that gave them back the advantage.

Sophomore Sarah Beth Greene then drilled a hoop to push the Lady Rams’ lead to 30-27.

NEA Senior Melissa Jenkins, the game’s leading scorer with 20 points, answered with a hoop to trim the margin to one.

A pair of Landis Joyner free throws were answered when M. Jenkins and S. Jenkins combined to hit four consecutive shots from the charity stripe to push Northeast to a 33-32 advantage.

Misse then hit her only hoop of the contest to give the Lady Rams the lead with 1:13 to play.

Joyner sealed the victory by hitting a pair of free throws with four seconds to play.

&uot;We knew from the first meeting this was going to be a close game,&uot; Lady Eagles veteran skipper Joella Brown said. &uot;If these two teams played 50 times, we’d probably split.

&uot;You have to dot your I’s and cross your t’s when you play a team like Ridgecroft,&uot; she added. &uot;You have to block out, convert turnovers into points and we didn’t do that. They did and they deserved to win.&uot;

The Lady Rams used a Kathryn Vick field goal just 13 seconds into the contest to grab an early lead, but M. Jenkins knotted the game three minutes later.

A Brittany Taylor hoop game Ridgecroft a 4-2 advantage at the 3:22 mark of the first quarter and proved to be the last hoop of the period.

Neither team was able to score more than four unanswered in the second quarter and no one pulled away.

Greene and Taylor hit back-to-back buckets to give Ridgecroft a 12-8 edge, but M. Jenkins countered with consecutive hoops of her own to deadlock the score.

After Lyndal Brown’s free throw gave Northeast the lead, senior Caitlin Lowe drilled back-to-back buckets in just over 30 seconds to push Ridgecroft to a 16-13 lead.

Brown scored again with just under a minute to play in the half to establish the 16-15 lead for the visitors.

M. Jenkins started the second half with a pair of free throws and a bucket to give Northeast a 19-17 lead, but Greene and Taylor each buried a hoop to push the Lady Rams back out front.

M.. Jenkins answered again, however, hitting consecutive buckets before Stephanie Northcott and Lowe scored for the Lady Rams to give Ridgecroft a 25-23 lead after three quarters.

Despite the tough and sometimes ugly contest, Cobbs said he was pleased with his team’s effort – especially that of Lowe and role players Groninger, Joyner and Northcott.

&uot;Caitlin played extremely well tonight,&uot; Cobbs said, &uot;and my bench was really big again tonight,&uot; he added.

(Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Sports Correspondent Heather Lifsey contributed to this story.)

Lady Rams (36)

Caitlin Lowe – 6, Sarah Beth Greene – 6, Brittany Taylor – 6, Stephanie Northcott – 6, L. Joyner – 4, K. Vick – 3, M. Groninger – 3, J. Misse – 2

FG: 14-of-55 (3-pointers: 1-of-2). FT: 7-of-15. Rebounds: 27 (Greene – 6, Misse – 5, Lowe – 4). Turnovers: 21

Lady Eagles (33)

Melissa Jenkins – 20, S. Jenkins – 6, L. Brown – 5, M. Harrell – 2

FG: 11-of-27 (3-pointers: 0-for-2). FT: 9-of-12. Rebounds: 18 (Brown – 8, Boone – 4, R. Harrell – 4) Turnovers: 29.