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Rams make semis

ELIZABETH CITY – Ridgecroft advanced to the semi-finals of the Tarheel Independent Conference tournament with a 45-41 victory over Northeast Academy Wednesday night.

“We played under control more than we normally do,” said Ridgecroft Head Coach Tim Boone.

“I asked them to play smart, play as a team and give 100 percent on the court and they did that.”

Northeast senior John Pope laid the ball in for two to start the game, but Ridgecroft scored seven unanswered points, taking a 7-2 advantage.

Pope drove the lane for another bucket to end the drive, but the Rams started another one, scoring nine straight.

Trailing 16-4 Northeast got two foul shots from both Jud Smith and Josh Jenkins and a trey from Pope to pull within five (16-11) going into the second quarter.

Josh Morris sank two from the charity stripe for the Rams, but Brandon Futrell scored from downtown and Smith converted a three-point play to pull Northeast within one (18-17).

The teams traded baskets, with Ridgecroft getting four points to every Northeast two, as the Rams stretched their lead to seven (26-19).

Consecutive baskets by Smith and Jenkins pulled the Eagles within two. Morris scored a trey and Logan Kinlaw added two foul shots down the stretch, sending Ridgecroft to the locker room at the half with a 31-23 advantage.

“In the first half we didn’t do a good job on the boards and we weren’t knocking down the shots we needed to,” explained Northeast Head Coach John Brown. “In the second half we wanted to pick up our intensity and be more aggressive on both ends of the court.”

A foul shot from Jenkins and reverse by Futrell pulled Northeast within five.

A three from Kinlaw and Ethan Phelps bucket sandwiched a Jeremy Parker foul shot as the Rams stretched their lead to nine (36-27).

Northeast got a layup from Parker and two baskets from Jay Baughan, cutting the Rams lead to three. After trading baskets Ridgecrot got another Kinlaw trey and a Morris bucket for the 43-35 lead.

Jenkins’ layup and two Parker buckets got Northeast within two, but Morris’ putback just before the buzzer gave Ridgecroft a 45-41 advantage.

Ridgecroft amassed a 10-point lead (57-47) with less than four minutes on the clock.

Parker went 4-for-4 from the line, cutting the lead to six.

Ridgecroft got a foul shot from Cade Larabee and Kinlaw but Futrell’s three kept Northeast within five (59-54).

Time ran out on Northeast as they fell, 59-54.

Morris led all scorers with 30 points. Kinlaw added 15 in the win. The Rams out-rebounded Northeast 41-29 with Austin Britton leading the way as he pulled down 14 rebounds.

“Whenever we needed a big defensive stop we weren’t able to get it,” said Brown.

“They might miss a shot but they got the second chance opportunity and that killed us.”

Jenkins paced Northeast with 15 points while Parker added 11.

In Thursday night’s semifinal, Ridgecroft gave Terra Ceia one of their tougher tests of the year before falling 91-68.

Ridgecroft (59):

Josh Morris n 30, Logan Kinlaw n 15, Dillon Lowe n 8, Ethan Phelps n 5, Cade Larabee n 1

Northeast (54):

Josh Jenkins n 15, Jeremy Parker n 11, Jud Smith n 9, John Pope n 7, Jay Baughan n 7, Brandon Futrell -5