Lady Rams garner top spot

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 18, 2006

AHOSKIE – It was a battle from the outset.

Tarheel Independent Conference rivals Lawrence Academy and Ridgecroft School went at each other for 32 minutes before the Lady Rams came away with the inaugural Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament championship.

The Rams rallied from an 18-15 halftime deficit to defeat Lawrence 56-39.

“I think they played well in the first half and took away the things we wanted to do,” Rams’ coach Doug Cobbs said. “In the second half we wore them down. We kept after them until they got tired.”

Trailing by three beginning the second half, Ridgecroft scored the first seven points of the third period.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Hayes Bryant hit back-to-back buckets in two seconds followed by a Jo Revelle Murray three-pointer that put Ridgecroft ahead 22-18.

Kendall Street, who made the All-Tournament team for Lawrence, answered with a bucket, but Bryant and fellow All-Tournament team member Lauren Lilley hit consecutive buckets to go ahead 26-20.

Street stopped the spurt with a bucket of her own, but the Rams again stormed back.

Bryant completed a three-point play before Kristen Cayton scored and All-Tournament Team member April Piland made a pair of free throws as Ridgecroft led 33-22. They held the same 11-point lead (37-26) at the end of the third quarter.

Following an exchange of baskets, Bryant buried a three for the Rams, but Street had a field goal and a free throw to get back within 11.

Back-to-back triples for the Rams came from Murray and Bryant as they pushed Ridgecroft to a 48-31 lead from which they never looked back.

In the early going, the Warriors led the 2-0, but Ridgecroft bounced back thanks to consecutive hoops by Bryant.

Street then had back-to-back hoops to give the Warriors a two-point lead which they held at the end of the first quarter.

A Bryant free throw and field goal gave Ridgecroft a 9-8 lead, but a Jessie Harden bucket at the 3:37 mark of the second period put Lawrence back ahead.

Bardin Murray’s free throw tied the game moments later, but Lawrence scored six of the final nine points on buckets by Leanne Eubanks, Street and Courtney Mizell to take an 18-15 lead at the break.

“Those girls played hard,” Lawrence coach Charlie Harden said. “They gave it everything.”

The effort was good for both clubs and Cobbs said he thought his team’s play was due in part to wanting to win the inaugural event honoring Brantley, who was a student-athlete at the school.

“I think it means a lot to our kids,” he said. “This week they’ve been asking a lot of questions about Nick and doing things for the scholarship at Virginia Tech.

“It means a great deal because Nick was a model student-athlete,” he added.

Joining Bryant, Piland, Lilley and Street on the All-Tournament team were Jessie Harden of Lawrence and Jeanie Hargrave of Northeast.

Lady Rams (56): Hayes Bryant n 26, Lauren Lilley – 10, A. Piland n 9, J. Murray n 6, K. Cayton n 2, V. Brown n 2, B. Murray n 1, J. Bolton, K. Cooper, C. Harrison

Lady Warriors (39): Kendall Street n 29, J. Harden n 4, L. Eubanks n 4, C. Mizell n 2, S. Gillam, D. Stotesbury