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Rams top Bethel

ASKEWVILLE – Sometimes the sign of a good basketball game is that neither coach leaves happy.

That was certainly true of Friday night’s Ridgecroft victory over Bethel Christian Academy.

After the varsity boys’ team from Ridgecroft defeated Bethel 61-53, neither Rams coach Tim Boone or Bethel skipper Joe Mizelle was happy with his team’s performance.

“Our defense was just not up to par,” Mizelle said afterwards. “Our running game was almost nothing.

“I kind of thought we could beat them even without Josh Freeman and I still think we can, but not the way we played tonight,” he continued.

Boone, who was minus two players himself due to academics, wasn’t pleased with his team’s shooting.

“We haven’t practiced without those two players and it takes some adjustment,” Boone said. “We didn’t shoot well at all tonight and we didn’t shoot well from the free throw line.”

Boone was, however, pleased with other aspects of the Rams’ victory.

“I did think we blocked out well and did a good job on the boards,” he added.

Ridgecroft started the contest with back-to-back buckets from Dillon Lowe and Austin Britton. Bethel responded with consecutive hoops from Michael Cseko and Jacob Tayloe to even the score at four-all.

From there the two teams exchanged hoops as the Rams maintained their slight lead.

Ridgecroft’s James Taylor and Lowe had consecutive baskets to end the first quarter with the Rams leading 15-10.

The lead went to 18-10 early in the second quarter, but Zach Walter and Stephen Miller had back-to-back buckets to get the Eagles within 18-14.

Ridgecroft responded with a 6-0 spurt with hoops from Taylor, Britton and Lowe to take a 24-14 advantage.

Bethel outscored Ridgecroft 7-4 during the rest of the quarter to get within 28-21 by the intermission.

Josh Morris opened the third quarter with a three-pointer for Ridgecroft to make it a 10-point lead (31-21). The Rams extended that advantage to 14 points when Lowe nailed a three-pointer and Morris followed it up with a field goal to make it 39-25.

The lead stayed the same until late in the third period when Cseko and Jim Perry had consecutive hoops to get the Eagles within 49-38 at the end of the period.

Bethel started the fourth quarter with Cseko sandwiching hoops around a Miller bucket to get within 49-44.

Morris ended the comeback with a triple to end the threat, but Cseko responded with back-to-back three-pointers to close the gap to 53-50.

Cade Larabee went to the free throw lines for the Rams and hit both ends of a 1-plus-1, but Cseko delivered a triple to get back within 55-53.

Ridgecroft then scored the last six points to hold on for the win.

Morris led the Rams with 20 points while Lowe had 19 points and Taylor added 10.

Cseko led all scorers with 25 points and Miller added 13 points.

Ridgecroft (61): Josh Morris n 20, Dillon Lowe n 19, James Taylor n 10, Austin Britton n 7, Cade Larabee n 5

Bethel (53): Michael Cseko n 25, Stephen Miller n 13, Zach Walter n 5, Josh Caldwell n 4, Jacob Tayloe n 4, Jim Perry – 2