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Rams edge Warriors

AHOSKIE – It ended with a wide open layup.

Oh, but the drama that ensued before that game-winning shot by Ridgecroft’s Patrick Dilday.

Ridgecroft School and Lawrence Academy locked in a battle inside the Tarheel Independent Conference Thursday night. The Rams, currently second in the league, trailed Lawrence for much of the game before rallying to take the win 46-44 in the fourth quarter.

“When you don’t shoot well and don’t play particularly well, I think you have to be happy with a win,” said Rams’ coach Tim Boone.

Lawrence took the lead 44-43 with 1:01 to play in the contest when Shane Stevens hit the second of back-to-back shots by the Warriors. Lawrence coach Jon Powell stepped out on the floor to call a timeout, but wasn’t granted one and the Rams broke to the basket.

Ridgecroft’s Ethan Phelps drew the foul and converted 1-of-2 at the free throw line to tie the game.

Still, the Warriors had the basketball with the game tied and under a minute to play, but their 14th turnover of the contest was the one that doomed the upset effort.

The Rams took the ball down the floor, passed it around and found Dilday wide open under the basket. He buried the game winner with six seconds to play.

The drama wasn’t over, however, as Stevens got a decent look at the basket from 25 feet. The shot bounced off the backboard and Chad Whitehead nearly tipped it in before the buzzer, but the shot just missed.

The final minute of the contest was typical of the way the game between the two rivals was played. Neither team was able to pull away from the other with the biggest advantage of the game (seven points) coming when Lawrence started the game on a 9-2 run.

Despite that spurt, which was led by Whitehead, the game was tied at the end of the first quarter when the Rams responded with a 9-2 spurt of their own paced by Phelps.

Ridgecroft took the lead for the first time on a Nathan Pearce bucket to start the second period, but the Warriors went on a 8-0 run that put them ahead by six (19-13). Daniel Oliver had four points during the spurt while Dylan Ralph and Holden Ratzlaff added two each.

Ridgecroft closed out the quarter with a three-pointer from Braxton Sumner that closed them to within two (23-21) at the halftime break.

The teams played evenly through the third quarter with Lawrence pulling away at the end thanks to three-pointers by Chase Stevens and Ralph as they led 37-32 heading into the final period of play.

Austin Britton got the Rams back into the contest with a field goal and a triple that closed the gap to one (38-37) and then Michael Byrum scored from the floor as did Dilday giving Ridgecroft a 41-38 edge.

The lead was closed to one on a Chase Stevens hoop, but Britton pushed it back to three setting up the final minute of play.

Britton led the Rams’ offense with 12 points followed by Sumner’s 11 and Dilday’s 10 points. Phelps added five while Byrum and Pearce had four each.

Lawrence was paced by Oliver’s 15 points and Whitehead’s 10. Shane Stevens added seven while Ralph and Chase Stevens had five. Ra