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Lady Rams edge NEA

LASKER – They fought to the final buzzer.

Rigdgecroft poured in 19 fourth-quarter points while holding Northeast Academy to eight, but the game went down to the wire.

Northeast sophomore Molly Hargrave’s bucket with 11 seconds remaining in the game pulled the Lady Eagles within one, but she couldn’t convert the three-point play for the tie.

Forced to foul, Northeast sent Ridgecroft senior Hayes Bryant to the line.

Bryant sank both shots to give the Lady Rams a three-point advantage with just eight seconds on the clock.

A last second shot from Northeast missed as Ridgecroft advanced to the semi-finals of the Tarheel Independent Conference tournament with the 39-36 win.

The margin of victory could have been greater, but the Lady Rams struggled from the charity stripe, shooting just 32 percent (12-of-37), including 7-of-18 in the fourth quarter.

“If we could have made our free throws down the stretch the game we wouldn’t have been so close at the end but you survive and advance,” said Ridgecroft Head Coach Elton Winslow.

Ridgecroft’s survival was in doubt after the third quarter. The Lady Rams held a 16-15 lead at the half, but starters Bryant and Caitlin Harrison were forced to the bench in foul trouble.

Northeast regained the lead after a layup by Danielle Hallman, a hook shot from Lacy Pfieffer and a trey from Betty Edwards.

A bucket from Bryant was answered by Hargrave.

Emily Cooke made the second of a pair of free throws to pull Ridgecroft within four (24-20), but Northeast got buckets from Callie Burgess and Pfeifer to stretch their lead to eight.

“We told them at the beginning of the fourth that we’d just been running up and down the floor and not getting in our offense,” said Winslow.

Ridgecroft got baskets from Cooke and April Piland at the top of the fourth.

Pfeiffer stole the ball in the backcourt, was fouled attempting a shot and made both free throws. The Lady Rams scored the next 11 points to reclaim the lead, 35-30.

Burgess’s basket brought Northeast within three with one minute left.

Ridgecroft missed eight foul shots down the stretch but made four, enough to hold off Northeast for the win.

“What killed us in the fourth was turnovers (Northeast committed nine) and missed shots (2-of-11),” said Northeast Head Coach Joella Brown.

Bryant led Ridgecroft with 12 points while Cooke added 11.

Edwards paced Northeast with 12 points.

Lady Rams (39):

Hayes Bryant n 12, Emily Cooke n 11, April Piland n 5, Caitlin

Harrison n 4, Jessica Bolton n 4,

Taylor Futrell n 2, Taylor Smith n 1

Lady Eagles (36):

Betty Edwards n 12, Callie Burgess n 7, Molly Hargrave n 7, Lacy Pfieffer n 6, Danielle Hallman – 4