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Rams, Knights battle

MERRY HILL – They left the floor spent.

Every emotion drained, they walked off the floor with nothing left to give. And that was just Ridgecroft coaches Tim Boone and Danny Lafferty and Terra Ceia skippers Roger Klassann and Ken Leys.

The coaches were mentally and physically exhausted, a testament to the will and determination of the players who were on the floor for Ridgecroft and Terra Ceia in the Tarheel Independent Conference tournament championship game.

Such was the energy and effort, four quarters wasn’t enough to decide the contest as it took an extra period before the Knights emerged with a 78-75 victory.

The emotionally charged contest saw both teams take five-to-six-point leads over the course of the contest only to have the other rally back.

The Rams trailed 61-57 late in the contest, but got a triple and a deuce from senior Chris Hill to go with a Bryan Britton bucket as they surged ahead 64-61.

The Rams led 66-63 with less than a minute to play, but Derek Joyner hit both ends of a 1-plus-1. Hill did the same on the other end with 45.9 seconds to play, but Hendrick Van Dorp scored 12 seconds later to cut the lead to one. John Alexander then made 1-of-2 from the line to give Ridgecroft a 69-67 lead with 29.4 seconds to play.

Van Dorp scored again with just nine ticks left on the clock to tie the score. Hill got off a desperation three at the buzzer, but couldn’t get it to fall, forcing overtime.

Things didn’t look too well for the Rams heading into the final period as they had already lost Britton, Josh Morris and Evans Jones to fouls.

Having three starters on the bench didn’t deter the Ridgecorft team, however as they got behind 72-69 only to battle back. Hill hit a bucket and three consecutive free throws to get the Rams back into the lead at 74-72.

Bradley Van Staalduinun and Payne Snow each hit 1-of-2 from the line to deadlock the score at 74-all with one minute to play.

Senior Matt Byrum hit a free throw for the Rams, but Van Staalduinun scored again with 43 seconds to play, giving Terra Ceia a one-point edge.

After the Rams missed an opportunity to take the lead, Hill was forced to commit his fifth foul to stop the clock. That sent Snow to the line where he hit both and sealed the win for the Knights.

Hill was the dominating force in the contest, despite the loss, scoring 35 points. Britton added 15 for the Rams and Morris had 10.

Mychael Parker led Terra Ceia with 26 points and Van Dorp added 17 points and Van Staalduinen had 15 points.