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Bryant paces Ridgecroft

AHOSKIE – Senior Hayes Bryant poured in 24 points to lead seventh-seeded Ridgecroft over Kerr-Vance Academy in the opening round of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament.

Tuesday night’s 51-39 victory over the tenth-seed advances the Lady Rams to a match-up against second seed Gaston Day today (Thursday).

Kerr-Vance got on the board after a bucket by Alex Woodburn. Bryant scored the next seven points and Jessica Bolton added a trey as Ridgecroft took a 10-2 advantage.

The Lady Spartans closed the gap with buckets by Woodburn and Chrissy MacInnes. Ridgecroft got a foul shot from Bolton as they held on for an 11-6 first quarter lead.

Buckets from Bolton and Emily Cooke stretch Ridgecroft’s lead to nine. Kerr-Vance scored six unanswered points, cutting the lead to three.

Cooke and Bryant scored the final 10 points for Ridgecroft in the quarter as they held a 25-15 advantage at the half.

The Lady Rams played tough defense, forcing Kerr-Vance into 16 first half turnovers.

“In the first half we gave a good defensive effort,” said Ridgecroft head coach Elton Winslow. “We played man-to-man and didn’t make any special adjustments.”

The teams played evenly in the third quarter, with Ridgecroft edging out Kerr-Vance 11-10 for a 36-25 lead. The Lady Rams had four starters in foul trouble and, as they had in previous games, looked to their bench to keep them in the game.

Bryant scored a lay-up to start the fourth period, but Kerr-Vance came back with five unanswered points, pulling within eight (38-30).

Tayler Smith made the front end of a pair of free throws, but was answered by Kerr-Vance’s Tricia Terry.

Bryant drove the lane for two, added two foul shots, and Caitlyn Harrison scored a bucket, stretching the Ridgecroft lead to 13 (45-32).

The Lady Spartans couldn’t get within single digits and sent Ridgecroft to the line four times in the final two minutes in an effort to gain possession.

Ridgecroft went 4-for-8 from the line as they held on for the win, 51-39.

Bolton scored 10 in the win followed by April Piland and Cooke with seven apiece.

“Emily Cooke did a great job coming off the bench,” said Winslow. “She plays hard on defense and always gives us a spark.”

One area the Lady Rams need a spark in is the boards as Kerr-Vance outrebounded the home team 35-24.

“We didn’t do a good job boxing out and holding our position,” explained Winslow. “We gave them a lot of second shots. Like most other teams they are taller than we are and we can’t afford not to box out.”

Kerr-Vance was led by Alex Woodburn with 10. MacInnes scored nine despite missing part of the game due to injury.

Lady Rams (51):

Hayes Bryant n 24, Jessica Bolton n 10, Emily Cooke n 7, April Piland -7, Caitlin Harrison n 2, Taylor Smith n 1

Lady Spartans (39):

Alex Woodburn n 10, Chrissy MacInnes n 9, Tricia Terry n 9, Emily Adkins n 3, Hannah Capps n 2, Carson Blakley n 2, Amanda Wilson n 2, Candice Vaughan – 2