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Lady Rams get much-needed win

AHOSKIE – It was time to bounce back.

After dropping two straight in Tarheel Independent Conference play, Ridgecroft School’s varsity girls needed a statement game as they closed out their home conference schedule.

They got it Tuesday night when they knocked off Terra Ceia Christian School 46-38.

“After two consecutive losses, this was a pivotal game that we needed to win,” said second-year Ridgecroft skipper Susan Nabinger. “The girls responded with a good effort in the first half. We came out sluggishly in the second half, but came back late in the third quarter.”

Despite leading throughout the contest, Ridgecroft found themselves behind 25-24 after Kelsey Van Staaldiunen swished two free throws at the 3:15 mark of the third quarter.

Instead of folding, the Lady Rams fought back as senior Caitlin Harrison scored moments later followed by a huge three-pointer from junior Emily Cooke. Cooke scored again at the 1:42 mark of the period as the Lady Rams surged ahead 31-25.

Mariah Van Essendelft responded with a three-pointer, but the Lady Rams scored again 20 seconds later when Tayler Smith found Harrison under the basket for a quick two points. Harrison scored again and then added a free throw as Ridgecroft grabbed a 36-28 lead after three quarters.

Brice Harrison completed a three-point play just 11 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 39-28 as the Lady Rams continued to pull away.

Terra Ceia got a hoop from Jillian Van Essendelft seconds later, but Smith found the bottom of the net for Ridgecroft with just 4:34 to play as she put her team back in the lead by double figures (41-30).

Terra Ceia’s late rally was stifled by a handful of blocks for Smith and key rebounds by Brice Harrison and Caitlin Harrison as well as the offense of Cooke.

Senior Bardin Murray swished two late free throws to stop any comeback as the Lady Rams held on for the win.

Cooke paced Ridgecroft’s offense with 19 points while Smith added eight points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

“Emily gave us the usual solid offensive game and Tayler contributed both offensively and defensively and they were two keys for us,” Nabinger said.

Brice Harrison and Caitlin Harrison had seven points each while Murray added five points.

Mariah Van Essendelft paced Terra Ceia with 16 points.

The Lady Rams are 14-8 overall and 7-4 in the Tarheel Independent Conference after the win. They will finish the TIC regular season tonight (Thursday) at Lawrence Academy.